Applying a Metadata Template to a Single Image

1. Open a file and select File Info from the File menu.
2. Select the template you want to use.

In CS through CS3, click the same flyout menu used to create the template and simply choose the name of your new template to Append its contents to the image's existing metadata. If you hold down the Control key when you click on the template name, you will Replace the existing metadata.

In CS4, choose the template using the downward-pointing black arrow beside the Import button, and select "Import" from the resulting pop-up menu. Another dialogue box will appear asking whether you want to "Clear existing properties and replace with template properties;" "Keep original metadata, but replace matching properties from template;" or "Keep original metadata, but append matching properties from template."

3. Apply the template.

Templates you create in Photoshop can apply the same metadata to any number of files, and they are available also in Adobe Bridge, Photoshop Lightroom and several other programs. Bridge allows you to replace or append (add) the metadata not only to a single file, but also to a batch of files. See the next section for details.


About Append and Replace

While holding down the control key toggles between Append and Replace in the flyout template menus of Adobe Photoshop CS through CS3, you will only see the option to Append or Replace within the Advanced Panel of the File Info dialogue. That option is visible from any tab within Photoshop CS4.

Append will add values from the template to empty fields. Existing information is not replaced.

Replace adds values from the template to empty fields AND replaces existing values in fields.

In CS4, you have slightly more complicated choices, as noted above.

You can also Delete various metadata fields and values using the Advanced Panel (or Tab in CS4) of the File Info dialogue.


Hanging On to Your Hard Work.

Having spent all this time entering information into your images' metadata fields, you'll probably want to make sure it stays there. That's why it's unfortunate that Photoshop’s “Save for Web” function can undo your efforts. Photographers have long used this feature to prepare images for websites. Sadly, many photographers don't understand this feature can easily strip vital metadata and contact information. See the section for Web Designers in the UPDIG Photographer guide for details on how to protect yourself and educate others about how easy it can be to accidentally remove metadata.