GIMP gets advanced Exif, XMP, IPTC metadata support

GIMP gets advanced Exif, XMP, IPTC metadata support

GIMP team is completing the work on handling metadata. Improved support for Exif, XMP, and IPTC along with a viewer/editor will be part of GIMP 2.10.

Being able to handle metadata in photos is critical in professional environment. The team recognized that early on: getting real metadata support into GIMP is an initiative that's nearly as old as moving GIMP to the GEGL image processing engine.

Hartmut Kuhse finally unlocked the achievement by providing a rather complete patch, and Michael Natterer is now actively improving it in the main development branch. What does it do, exactly?

Metadata dialog in GIMP

As you can see, it is now possible to view Exif, XMP, and IPTC metadata embedded into JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, TIFF, and PSD images. The metadata dialog currently resides in the File menu, but it is likely to be relocated to the Image menu soon.

Just reading and viewing metadata wouldn't be much fun though, would it? So now when you export to TIFF, PNG, and JPEG, you can choose what kind of metadata you are willing to preserve. And it will actually be saved.

TIFF saving settings including EXIF, XMP, and IPTC metadata

Thanks to this no less than 12 metadata related bugs have already been closed. And yet, this is a work in progress, with more features and polishing to follow.

Now, about the technical part. The metadata code relies on a rock-solid foundation — a popular tool called Exiv2 that's used for reading and writing metadata in virtually every free/libre photography application.

However, GIMP doesn't use libexiv2 directly. Instead it uses a GObject-based wrapper called gexiv2 created by Yorba, developers of Shotwell photo management application. Michael is in touch with gexiv2 developers and already sent his first patch for the wrapper.

Also, Commons Machinery team is quite interested in getting GIMP to support preservation of metadata in compound works of art. They already provided a similar patch for Inkscape regarding SVG. And now that GIMP can read XMP, it's possible to make this happen.

GIMP 2.10 is going to be the first version to have advanced metadata support. For now you can use nightly builds for Windows, or a PPA for Ubuntu.

Update: Michael Steidl, IPTC Managing Director, commented:

IPTC appreciates the support of our metadata schemas – – as actually each semi-professional and professional photographer is using them. This opens a new arena for Gimp.

Stay tuned for more news on that.

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12 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Awesome!

    Does it support metadata edition? For instance, if I want to modify Exif.Canon.OwnerName from “unknown” to “A. Prokoudine”, can I do this directly from the first window you show?


  2. Alexandre Prokoudine 30 October 2013 at 8:44 am

    Pierre, the code is 3 days old or so :) Editing metadata is, of course, on the radar.

  3. This is a long awaited feature for me. Thanks !

  4. This is something I really need. I am so happy to hear it is in development!

    When my photos are sent to various news publications, they open the image and check the IPTC metadata for: Description, Photo Credit and Copyright.

    I can embedd this imformation using gThumb, but I can’t verify that is there (or edit it) in GIMP -yet it shows up in Photoshop.

  5. Hi,
    I installed this version in Linux Mint 15 yesterday, from the ppa. What I found is that data that I enter in the IPTC tab are not written anywhere. If I open the metadata dialog again after closing, everything is gone! And yes, I do click the Write Data button. I also have to say that I have so far only tried with tif and jpg files that are not first saved as xcf. Does that matter?

    Also, it would be great if metadata would be written directly into opened jpg files, without recompressing the image data. Is this planned?

  6. Alexandre Prokoudine 15 December 2013 at 7:08 pm

    @Hans Petter,

    Also, it would be great if metadata would be written directly into opened jpg files, without recompressing the image data. Is this planned?

    No, I don’t think so. This is something that photo management software should do, not GIMP.

  7. Adalbert Hanßen 15 February 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Preserving the EXIF-Data and editing IPTC tags is sought for since almost 10 years, as I fond out by searching for the XMP behaviour of Gimp. So you did an important improvemtnt for Gimp which

    As of today (2014-02-15): Has your improvement found its way into current builds or into the last stable build ?

  8. Adalbert, new features go into the development branch (GIMP 2.9.x, to become 2.10), and not the stable branch (2.8.x).

  9. Would be nice if you could do a free text search in the EXIF data.

  10. The blog is several years old by now, but 2.10 is not yet released, or?
    Is there any release date on 2.10, yet?

  11. Alexandre Prokoudine 16 September 2017 at 5:47 pm


    A quick test would be visiting and seeing if 2.10 is available for downloading, no? :)

    There is never a release date for any GIMP release.

  12. Thank you. Effective but UI need to practice more to become familiar with the tools.

    Missing the IPTC fields.