How can I view JPG comments on a Mac?
October 7, 2010 6:51 PM   Subscribe

How can I view the comments in my JPG files, on a Mac?

I have a bunch of family photos (JPGs) that have interesting comments viewable on a PC when you right-click on a file and select Properties and then the Summary tab. I can view, change, create and save these comments on a PC, but I can't figure out how to view the comments on a Mac. The comments don't show up with "Get Info" or "Show Extended Photo Info" in iPhoto. I'm not interested in installing a different program to record/read JPG metadata. I want to be able to give any family member a disc of these JPGs and they would be able to access the comments, whether on a PC or a Mac.

If I were to redo all the comments as descriptions in iPhoto (under Get Info), would the comments "stick" to the JPG files when I burn them to a disc or would they only be visible in my iPhoto.
posted by Joleta to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Try this? (I don't have any photos with jpeg comments to test this.
posted by birdherder at 7:33 PM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, birdherder, but I don't need a way to edit photo metadata. I'm trying to figure out how, on a Mac, to view the comments that are already part of the JPG files, easily viewable under Properties on a PC.
posted by Joleta at 7:43 PM on October 7, 2010

Are the comments viewable on a different Windows computer?

The reason I ask is because from I thought that file comments weren't stored in the file as EXIF/XMP/IPTC but rather as NTFS metadata.
posted by holloway at 7:49 PM on October 7, 2010

Can you link to a sample photo?
posted by mmascolino at 8:20 PM on October 7, 2010

Response by poster: I put a sample JPG (that has comments in the Properties) in my public Dropbox:

When I copy this to a different PC, I can see the comments ("Maurice, Fanny, Isabelle and Raymond Henagow" [my grandparents, mother and uncle]).
posted by Joleta at 8:39 PM on October 7, 2010

You need an application for viewing meta-data. The comments are stored in file meta-data (aka EXIF). This should work for OSX:
posted by blue_beetle at 9:27 PM on October 7, 2010

I think I see your problem. That image's textual metadata: "Maurice, Fanny, Isabelle and Raymond Henagow" is stored in field called "Comments" in Windows 7. A program like Picasa doesn't pick that value up. If I assign a caption to your photo, Picasa stores it in the field called "Title". I would guess that iPhoto is behaving similarly.

If that is the case, you'd need some software to automatically copy the Comments field to the Title field for your photos. I don't have an OS X recommendation for you.
posted by mmascolino at 10:23 PM on October 7, 2010

For what it's worth, I couldn't see any comment in either Apple's Preview app or Photoshop CS3, though I could see other data (such as that it originated from Photoshop CS2 Windows, etc.).

I added some text in the Description field in Photoshop and was able to see it in Preview (in the IPTC pane in the Inspector window), the Information pane in iPhoto, and in a Get Info window in the Finder.
posted by D.C. at 1:14 AM on October 8, 2010

Response by poster: So I can add Comments to the file's Properties on a PC, and only see those comments on a PC. And I can add a Description to the photos's Info on a Mac and see the Description on a Mac. In order to assure that any family member I give a photo disc to can see the annotations, regardless of operating system, I'll need to do both?
posted by Joleta at 5:31 AM on October 8, 2010

No, the Description field i'm referring to is not a Mac-specific thing. I just happened to be using the OS X version of Photoshop to add it and verified that it could be seen in other apps on the Mac. I could have done the same thing using Photoshop for Windows.

See IPTC Information Interchange Model.
posted by D.C. at 6:10 AM on October 8, 2010

Windows does broken things to metadata. Sadly, you'll need to use a Terminal command, and writing EXIF, GPS, IPTC, XMP, makernotes and other meta information in
image, audio and video files. For Windows, Mac OS X, and Unix systems.">ExifTool
, to fix this. You'll end up with files that have the data in the standard JPEG comment field.

For each file, do:

exiftool -tagsfromfile file.jpg '-xpcomment>comment' file.jpg

(and yes, that's the same file twice.)

OS X Preview doesn't seem to want to view comments either. But everything else in the world can read them, and at least you're out of the hell of MS's proprietary tags.
posted by scruss at 6:55 AM on October 8, 2010

(phooey, my link text messed up. The link's still right, tho')
posted by scruss at 6:56 AM on October 8, 2010

Building on scruss's comment,

If you have MacPorts installed, you can install the exif package and read the metadata from the command line:

exif -tag="XP Comment" -m file

And further you could install the osxutlils package and turn the exif comments into Spotlight comments (which makes them not only available to search on with Spotlight but also available to Automator actions) with this command line:

for a in *.jpg ; do setfcomment -c "`exif --tag="XP Comment" -m $a`" $a ; done

Seems to work with that one sample file you posted.
posted by eafarris at 1:44 PM on October 8, 2010

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