From F-Spot to iPhoto (or Picasa): Transfering Keywords [Tips & Tricks]

This was taken and adapted from a gentleman in Michigan.

This is a trick to get your keywords to show up in iPhoto (or even Google Picasa, as it turns out) after using F-Spot as your photo manager. Basically, you take a tool that will allow you to manipulate the metadata (EXIF) information of your digital photos. In this case, it will be used to copy the keywords location of F-Spot into the keywords location of iPhoto. Both applications will then have access to the keywords that you’ve added.

I did change the original post a little bit by making a correction to the keywords location. It seems that F-Spot keeps it’s Keywords in XMP:Subject which needs to be copied to the spot where iPhoto will recognize the keywords in IPTC:Keywords. Moving on…

The tool is exiftool, and it’s available for all OS’s.  So, go download this app, install it, and then run it in the Terminal using “exiftool”. Specifically, using this full command will copy the keywords for you for a single file:

exiftool -overwrite_original -sep -P -F '-IPTC:Keywords<$Subject' photo.jpg

And here’s the command that will copy the keywords for an entire directory:

exiftool -overwrite_original -sep -P -F -r '-IPTC:Keywords<$Subject' /path/to/directory

I haven’t tested this personally, but it seems that this command would copy over the comments and captions that you may have made:

exiftool -overwrite_original -P -F '-IPTC:Caption-Abstract< $UserComment' *.*

Here’s the rundown of all parts of the above commands:

overwrite_original This will simply save the changes you’ve made back into the original file.

-sep This will separate the keywords. Otherwise, the comma separated keywords will appear as one big keyword after exported.

-P Preserves the original date/time of original file.

-F Fix the base for marker notes offsets.  Simply ensures that they are adjusted properly.

-r This will recursively run through a directory and make changes on the files within.

'-IPTC:Keywords<$Subject' This references the Subject line of the EXIF data and then copies it into the IPTC section, Keywords line.

If you’d like more options, or get more help, just type this into the Terminal:

exiftool --help

I noticed that for me, in order to see the changes that I made, I had to delete the “iPhoto Library” file located in the same directory I imported my photos from and re-import all of my photos again. Be careful. I would hate for you to lose all of your memories. BACKUP YOUR PHOTOS FIRST!

Feel free to donate if this post prevented any headaches! Another way to show your appreciation is to take a gander at these relative ads that you may be interested in:

There's 8 Comments So Far

  • Mike
    February 21st, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for this. I did need to add the -b flag (or the -sep flag on newer versions of exiftool) in order to prevent all the tags being stored as a single multi-word tag.
    After adding that, F-spot uploads perfectly to SmugMug.

  • SendDerek
    February 21st, 2009 at 10:05 am

    No, thank you! I was wondering about that. I’m going to update the tip with using the -sep flag. Thanks again!

  • Mohammed Hughes
    May 9th, 2010 at 3:24 am

    I use both Picassa and Flickr for sharing photos over the internet but i use Flickr more often than Picassa.-;*

  • Adrian Morgan
    October 5th, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Picassa and Flickr are both great tools for sharing photo online,:~

  • Pedestal Table 
    October 20th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    both picassa and flickr are good if you want to share pictures online””

  • [email protected]
    October 20th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Both are great services and would recommend either one. I sorta outgrew these services pretty quickly and decided upon ZenPhoto. Check it out if you get the chance. It’s a neat project.

  • Pinoy Love Quotes ·
    November 9th, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    my family album is on Picassa and also on Flickr, they are great for backing up your digital photos “”

Who Linked To This Post?

  1. from F-Spot to iPhoto in 8 painful months | Michigan Accent

Share your thoughts, leave a comment!