Metadata Settings

Image files can have some metadata embedded into the image file format. These metadata can be stored in a number of standard formats as JPEG, TIFF, PNG, JPEG2000, PGF, and RAW files. Metadata can be read and written in the Exif, IPTC, and XMP formats if they are present in the file.

Storing in metadata allows one to preserve this information when moving or sending the files to different systems.

Behavior Settings

The Behavior tab allows you to select what information digiKam will write to the metadata and control how digiKam will deal with this embedded information.

The digiKam Metadata General Behavior Settings Page

The options available in the Write This Information to the Metadata section are listed below:

  • Image tags will store the tag paths and keywords used to mark the contents. Usually this information is stored in IPTC and XMP.

  • Captions and titles will store the internationalized strings used to describe the contents. Usually this information is stored in Exif, IPTC, and XMP.

  • Rating will store the rate of the contents. Usually this information is stored in Exif and XMP.

  • Pick label will store the quality of the contents. Usually this information is stored in XMP.

  • Color label will store the color flag used to classify your contents while your workflow. Usually this information is stored in XMP.

  • Timestamps will store the dates of the contents. Usually this information is stored in Exif, IPTC, and XMP.

  • Metadata templates (Copyrights etc.): will store the set of internationalized strings used by the agencies workflow. Usually this information is stored in IPTC and XMP.

  • Face Tags (including face areas): will store the face tag paths and the rectangles corresponding to the zones around faces. Usually this information is stored in XMP.

  • Geolocation information (GPS): will store the world map position of the contents. Usually this information is stored in Exif and XMP.

The options available in the Reading and Writing Metadata section are listed below:

  • Delegate to ExifTool backend all operations to write metadata to files allows to write metadata to files with the ExifTool backend instead Exiv2. This last one is primary used for all operations on metadata. Using ExifTool instead will slowdown a little bit the synchronization of files metadata with database.

  • Write metadata to DNG files allows to delegate to ExifTool all operations to write metadata into DNG files.

  • If possible write metadata to RAW files allows to delegate to ExifTool all operations to write metadata into RAW files. This feature is disabled by default.


See also the ExifTool backend configuration from the ExifTool Settings section of this manual, and the ExifTool write limitations.

On the bottom, a section group extra behavior settings:

  • Use Lazy Synchronization allows to schedule metadata for synchronization instead to flush immediately. digiKam will only write metadata when user clicks on the Apply Pending Changes To Metadata icon in the status bar or when application is shutdown.

  • Update file modification timestamp when files are modified allows to update file timestamps when files are changed as when you update metadata or image data. Note: disabling this option can introduce some dysfunctions with external applications which use file timestamp properties to detect file modifications automatically.

  • Rescan file when files are modified allows to force digiKam to rescan files that has been modified outside the application. If a file has changed it is file size or if the last modified timestamp has changed, a rescan of that file will be performed when digiKam starts.

Sidecars Settings

The Sidecars tab allows user to control whether digiKam will read and write from/to XMP sidecars or not. You can also customize the granularity of write operations to XMP sidecar:

  • Write to XMP sidecar only will not touch the item metadata.

  • Write to item and XMP Sidecar will touch both item and sidecar at the same time.

  • Write to XMP sidecar for read-only item only will handle sidecar for non-writable items only, as video or RAW files for example.

Filename for the sidecars set to filename.ext.xmp. For example, image1.dng will have a sidecar file named image1.dng.xmp. With the option Sidecar file names are compatible with commercial programs digiKam will create the XMP sidecar files with a compatible file name (image1.xmp) used by many commercial programs.

The digiKam Metadata Sidecar Behavior Settings Page


If the box Read from sidecar files is checked, digiKam will only read the sidecar while ignoring the embedded metadata.

The option Additional sidecar file extensions allows to add extra filename extensions to be processed alongside regular items, independently of the XMP sidecars. These files will be hidden, but regarded as an extension of the main file. Just write thm pp3 to support filename.thm (extra Jpeg thumbnail for RAW) and filename.pp3 (RAWTheraPee metadata) sidecars.

Rotation Settings

The digiKam Metadata Rotation Behavior Settings Page

Show images/thumbnails rotated according to orientation tag: this will use any orientation information that your camera has included in the Exif information to automatically rotate your photographs so that they are the correct way up when displayed. It will not actually rotate the image file, only the display of the image on the screen. If you want to permanently rotate the image on file, you can click with the right mouse button on the thumbnail and select Auto-rotate/flip according to Exif orientation. The image will then be rotated on disk and the tag will be reset to "normal". If your camera routinely gets this orientation information wrong you might like to switch this feature off.

Set orientation tag to normal after rotate/flip: the auto-rotate option automatically corrects the orientation of images taken with digital cameras that have an orientation sensor. The camera adds an orientation tag to the image's Exif metadata. digiKam can read this tag to adjust the image accordingly. If you manually rotate an image, these metadata will be incorrect. This option will set the orientation tag to Normal after an adjustment, assuming that you rotated it to the correct orientation. Switch this off if you don't want digiKam to make changes to the orientation tag, when you rotate or flip the image.

Views Settings

These settings allows to customize the metadata contents displayed in Exif, Makernotes, IPTC, XMP, and ExifTool viewers from the right sidebar. For more details see this section from the manual.

The digiKam Settings For The Metadata Viewers

ExifTool Settings

ExifTool is a backend engine that digiKam can use to process operations on metadata, as view, read, and write. This panel only show the detection of the ExifTool binary program, and the supported formats with the respective read and write features.

The digiKam Settings For The ExifTool Backend


To replace the Exiv2 backend by ExifTool with all read and write metadata operations, see the Metadata Behavior section of this manual.

Baloo Settings

Baloo is the file indexing and file search framework for KDE Plasma under Linux, with a focus on providing a very small memory footprint along with an extremely fast searching. Baloo is not an application, but a daemon to index files.

The digiKam Settings For The Baloo Metadata Search Engine

This page allows to share metadata stored in digiKam database with the Baloo search engine. Extra applications as KDE Dolphin file manager can use the Baloo interface to provide file search results with items managed by the digiKam database.


This page is only available under Linux, not Windows and macOS. The KDE Plasma Files Indexer feature must be enabled in the KDE Plasma control Panel.

Advanced Settings

The Advanced tab allows you to manage namespaces used by digiKam to store and retrieve tags, ratings and comments. This functionality is often used by advanced users to synchronize metadata between different software. Please leave the default settings if you are not sure what to do here.

The categories that you can manage with these advanced settings are:

  • Caption: all languages-alternative comments (supported by XMP only), else the simple comments values (Exif and IPTC).

  • Color Label: the color labels properties to apply on items in your workflow.

  • Rating: the stars properties to apply on items in your workflow.

  • Tags: the nested keywords hierarchy to apply on items in your workflow (supported by XMP only), else the simple flat list of keywords (Exif and IPTC).

  • Title: all languages-alternative titles (supported by XMP only), else the simple title values (Exif and IPTC).

For each category you can set the read and write behavior in metadata. The default settings is to Unify Read and Write operations, but if you disable this option, you can customize Read Options and Write Options independently.

The digiKam Advanced Metadata Settings For the Caption Category

On this example, the top Caption entry in the list is Xmp.dc.description, and it will be read by digiKam first. If it contains a valid value it will be used, otherwise the next entry named Xmp.exif.UserComment, etc. The entries list priority is high on the top and low on the bottom. The entry in the list are used only if item is enabled with the checkbox preceding the name.

With the buttons on the right side, you can customize the list:

  • Add: allows to add a new entry in the tags list.

  • Edit: allows to modify the current select entry in the list.

  • Delete: allows to remove the current select entry in the list.

  • Move up: allows to move the current select entry in the list to a higher priority.

  • Move Down: allows to move the current selected entry in the list to a lower priority.

  • Revert Changes: allows to revert last changes done on the list.

  • Save Profile: allows to save the current configuration to a Profile file.

  • Load Profile: allows to load a saved configuration from a Profile file.

  • Revert To Default: allows to reset the current list to the default values.

The Profile are simple ini-based text file used to store the advanced metadata settings to the disk. A profile can be loaded to overload the current configuration, depending of your workflow and the rules to apply for the best interoperability with other photo management programs. digiKam comes with a compatibility profile for DarkTable.


We recommend to always put XMP tags to the top priority on this list, as XMP has better features than IPC and Exif.


The Tags category provide an extra option named Read All Metadata For Tags to force operations on all the namespaces.