Any way to tag images saved on computer?

Pretty much what the title says. Is there any way to tag a saved image so that you can search for all images matching that tag besides putting the tags in the image name? (The way one can tag a blog or message board post for searching. I hope I’m using the right term for it.)



Google’s free Picasa software allows you to do just that. You can add as many tags as you like to individual images, and/or to folders of images.

Picasa doesn’t change the images themselves; it just tags them within the program, making it easier for you to find them on your drive.

Most decent image organizing software (e.g. ACDSee) will do something similar, but Picasa is free and works like a charm.

Picasa stores tags and captions in it’s own database - the tags are only available within Picasa itself. For application independent tagging of image files, XMP/EXIF/IPTC is what you need. XMP is an XML based tag format for jpeg files. EXIF and IPTC specify data schemas - EXIF stores technical detail about the photo (camera, exposure, lens, time etc) and IPTC can be used to store captions, tags, photographer, etc. The advantage is that you will not lose your tags if you decide to change the application that you use to manage your photos.

IrfanView does IPTC tagging - Google will show up any number of other tools that do the job. I use DigiKam on linux, but plenty of other tools can be used (google IPTC edit).

ETA: I don’t wish to knock Picasa - it’s a pretty good tool. But it’s lack of proper support for a well established standard for Photo metadata is somewhat frustrating to me. It smacks of tie-in, something I really dislike.


I believe Vista shows these tags as a column in Windows Explorer so it should be easy to sort the files by this.

Question: What file types allow this data to be stored inside the file. I know JPEG does, and I believe TIFF also. But what about PNG? I guess it probably does. What about GIF?

Native EXIF/IPTC metatags are supported in JPEG and TIFF file formats.

XMP embedded metadata supporting EXIP and IPTC schemas can be added to a variety of file formats:-


Thanks. I believe JPEG, TIFF, PNG and GIF should cover about 99.99% normal of raster graphic needs.

This is fantastic. Thank you for all the information, everyone.