About metadata and XMP

Metadata is a set of standardized information about a photo, such as the author’s name, resolution, color space, copyright, and keywords applied to it. For example, most digital cameras attach some basic information about a file, such as height, width, file format, and the time the image was taken. Lightroom also supports the information standard developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) to identify transmitted text and images. This standard includes entries for descriptions, keywords, categories, credits, and origins. You can use metadata to streamline your workflow and organize your files.

File information is stored using the Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) standard. XMP is built on XML. In the case of camera raw files that have a proprietary file format, XMP isn’t written into the original files. To avoid file corruption, XMP metadata is stored in a separate file called a sidecar file. For all other file formats supported by Lightroom (JPEG, TIFF, PSD, and DNG), XMP metadata is written into the files in the location specified for that data. XMP facilitates the exchange of metadata between Adobe applications and across publishing workflows. For example, you can save metadata from one file as a template, and then import the metadata into other files.

Metadata that is stored in other formats, such as EXIF, IPTC (IIM), and TIFF, is synchronized and described with XMP so that it can be more easily viewed and managed.

Specify where to write metadata changes

Lightroom automatically writes adjustments and settings metadata to the catalog. You can also instruct Lightroom to write the changes to XMP. In order for changes made in Lightroom to be recognized by other applications, metadata must be written to XMP.

  1. Choose Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac OS).
  2. Click the Metadata tab, and then do either of the following:
    • To write adjustments and settings metadata to XMP, select Automatically Write Changes Into XMP.

    • To write adjustments and settings metadata only to the catalog, deselect Automatically Write Changes Into XMP.

If you don’t write adjustments and settings metadata to XMP automatically, you can select a file and choose Metadata > Save Metadata To File.

Save metadata changes to a file manually

To manually save metadata changes to a photo in Lightroom, do one of the following:

  • Select one or more photos in the Grid view of the Library module and choose Metadata > Save Metadata To File(s), or press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac OS).
  • Click the Metadata File Needs To Be Updated icon  in a thumbnail in the Grid view of the Library module, and then click Save.
  • If you’re working with a DNG file, choose Metadata > Update DNG Previews & Metadata to save metadata changes to the file and also generate a preview based on the current raw processing settings.