Metadata is truly everywhere. We’d like this to mean that it’s also easy to find, access and view, but that’s not always the case. If you’re looking for ways to look at metadata in different formats, this article is for you.
I’ll go through some of the most common programs and file types, showing you how to view metadata within each one. Then, I’ll make sure you have an understanding of which type of metadata viewer to use. This should make your experience with this digital info go much smoother.
Let’s start with a basic helpful path to view metadata, then move onto other areas.
How do you view metadata?
To view digital metadata in Windows, right-click any file and select “Properties.” This will open a window with the bare essential information, such as size of the file, its location and the date it was created. Clicking the “details” tab will deliver more informative results.
Of course, this is only a starting point for viewing metadata, and not everyone will be using Windows or accessing the same types of information and files. Don’t worry, we’ll branch out and cover a wide variety of platforms. I just wanted to make sure you understood a simple way to gather some basic metadata.
Now that we have that under your belt, let’s move into a more specific category, the metadata of an image.
How do I view metadata of an image?
Fortunately, viewing metadata can be done without the assistance of third party software in the case of most image files. I’ll include the most direct path to doing so below for both Windows and Mac systems, starting with Windows.
1. Navigate to the image file you wish to view the metadata of.
2. Right-click the file and select “Properties.”
3. A popup window will display basic metadata.
4. To view more metadata, click the “details” tab and use the side scroll up and down for more results.
1. Locate the image file you wish to view the metadata of.
2. Open the file using “Preview.”
3. Click “Tools” from the dropdown menu at the top of the screen.
4. Click the “Show Inspector” option.
5. In the “General Info” popup, click (i).
6. Click the “Exif” tab.
How do I view metadata of a Microsoft Word document?
The following will give you a look at metadata of a Microsoft Word document without the need for automation software.
1. Locate the Word document you wish to view the metadata of.
2. Open the document and click the “File” dropdown from the upper left of the screen.
3. In the upper left, click the “info” tab.
4. In the lower right hand corner, click the “Show All Properties” link.
Good metadata viewer software tools
I’ve researched plenty of different metadata viewers, and as a result am going to present you with three unique systems, all with their own specific advantages.
The first system is for those who don’t have too many files they need to research the contained metadata, and/or don’t have a lot of extra hard drive space or don’t want to download a new program. If any of these reasons seem to fit your purpose, check out Metadata2go, which allows users to upload a file to view its metadata.
The next system I suggest is Metadata++, which is a metadata viewer specifically for the user who needs a comprehensive system in order to browse and view information from large quantities of different files, including rare file types. Metadata++ requires a download, but the program is reasonably-sized and easy to set up. Consider this program if you’re a more advanced user.
Lastly, the metadata viewer that should be used for the average viewer without complex files to uncover is ExifTool. It’s not that this program is basic, but it is a lot easier to use for the average user compared to something like Metadata++. You’ll be able to find metadata for all types of file types, including common image files.
Taking the next step
Discovering metadata is often only part of the journey. Most users then want to make minor edits, or most commonly, get rid of too-revealing private information. If this sounds like something you need, here’s a guide to help you remove metadata from a photo.
Whatever information you see attached to a file is likely only scratching the surface. Understand how to dig in deeper to get more familiar with your hidden data.