Copying Keywords from Master to Versions

Started by samisbp, April 26, 2015, 11:24:07 PM

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I'm having troubles finding how I can force IMatch to copy all the keywords of a master file to its versions.

At the moment it does so perfectly as long as the version doesn't already have any keywords written in it.
However if a version file already has keywords defined, then new keywords from the master refuse to be copied across.
I guess there must be somewhere I can configure this but I haven't been able to find it yet.

Any one can help?

Many thanks.


This usually just works.

Any errors in the log file?
Relation setup correct?
What file formats are you using and which options have you configured under Metadata, Metadata 2 and for the file formats you use?
Did you try a write-back to sync the file data? A lot of metadata is only synchronized between master and version at write-back time! These are indicated with * in the relation dialog box.
What happens if you use the "Propagate Keywords again" command from the "Gear" drop-down menu in the Keyword Panel and then do a write-back?
-- Mario
IMatch Developer
Forum Administrator  -  Contact & Support - Follow me on 𝕏 - Like on Facebook


Thanks for your reply Mario.

I attach screen shots of my File Relations as well as Metadata and Metadata 2 settings. I can't work out what could be wrong there.

As far as I can tell, all data is written back to the master and version.ยจ
I have tried the "Propagate Keywords again" but no luck with that.

Note that for some files, it is not only the keywords which are not copied. The Description isn't copied either for example.

I can't attach the log file (7MB).

Many thanks again for your help Mario.

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QuoteNote that for some files, it is not only the keywords which are not copied. The Description isn't copied either for example.

Important info. Descriptions etc. are propagated at write time only. So you need to write-back the master to see any changes in these tags in the versions.
A zipped log file of 7 MB would be for a very long IMatch session. Or did you try to upload it unzipped?

Please switch to debug logging.
Restart IMatch.
Open the ExifTool Output Panel (F9,O)
Change the description of a master.
Write back.
Check the versions.

Then copy/paste the text from the output Panel into Notepad, save the file and attach it.
Also ZIP and attach the log file.

Please let us know the file formats for master and versions. And which metadata propagation options you have checked in your relation setup. The screen shot shows only the first couple of options (Categories and Attributes) but not which other metadata you want to propagate.
-- Mario
IMatch Developer
Forum Administrator  -  Contact & Support - Follow me on 𝕏 - Like on Facebook


Several things.

I would have thought Description like all metadata was propagated also when I select "Propagate data to versions"? If I don't modify a master and create a new version, surely I don't need to modify the master's metadata to have to do a write back to get the propagation to work. Or maybe I miss understood what you meant.

Note that as far as I can tell, all my master's files have their metadata written to the data base so I don't believe this is the issue.

My master files are jpeg and version files are tiff.
- Master: SBP014507v.jpg
- Version: SBP014507-hr.tiff

The metadata propagation options checked are:
Categories (All of them)
Classic IPTC Data
EXIF Data (Sage tags only)

Note that if I create a new version file (from within Photoshop), IMatch detects it fine, adds it to the database and all metadata is propagated fine.
The problem only occurs for existing version files which already have some metadata and for which I am trying to propagate metadata from a master (as I have recently defined relations in my database to automate copying of metadata between files).

I have tried what you suggest.
I have see nothing at all reported in the ExifTool output window by only doing a write back to the master file. However when I select "Propagate to versions" then it did display several things which I've attached in a text file.

I also attach the log file this time.

(I hope I can fix all this today as I need to send all these files to a client by tomorrow and I was hopping all my metadata could be copied automatically  ;-) )

Your help is always truly appreciated Mario.

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Metadata is propagated from the master to the versions when you write-back the master. Most metadata is not propagated when you just change the master metadata in the database but don't write back. See also the corresponding help topic.

When you prropagate only

Classic IPTC Data
EXIF Data (Sage tags only)

you may run into problems. IMatch works, like all modern application, with XMP data. Legacy IPTC data (which you propagate) is updated from XMP metadata at the time the file is written. This is in accordance with the Metadata Working Group and how other applications work. You change XMP data in IMatch, IMatch takes care that old metadata (IPTC and EXIF) is updated from XMP during write-back.

If you change the description or keywords in IMatch, you change the XMP data. But apparently you don't propagate XMP data from the master to versions, so nothing is propagated, and the existing IPTC/EXIF data in the version is then updated from XMP.

Try to use the standard: Propagate XMP data and let IMatch update the legacy IPTC and EXIF data as it is supposed to do.
-- Mario
IMatch Developer
Forum Administrator  -  Contact & Support - Follow me on 𝕏 - Like on Facebook


That was it Mario, a miss-understanding from my side about the differences between XMP, IPTC, EXIF, etc.

Many thanks once again Mario for your very prompt replies in solving this issue for me.


This is unfortunately complicated. Not when you use an XMP-only workflow, which is the default. And the default settings in IMatch automatically deal with keeping old metadata synchronized.

But IMatch allows you to shot in your own foot by configuring metadata options, propagation etc. We need that freedom in order to support the wide range of metadata storage schema in use today, and the partially obscure workflows user have created over the years.  LR 3 did it that way, LR 5 does it this way, Nikon Capture yet does it differently, as does CaptureOne, SilkyPix, you name it. Not to mention the different demands on metadata storage and synchronization by the stock photo business or news services. IMatch has the options to handle all that.

But this freedom also means that you can effectively work around all the automatisms, safety checks and metadata synchronization features by propagating only part of the data, or the wrong data. Which can happen if you don't grasp the relation between XMP, IPTC, EXIF, and GPS (just to speak about image files). Which is perfectly understandably. Most of my gray hair comes from dealing with metadata, and even I learn new things about it every week.

When I would be in charge, I would just remove legacy IPTC and EXIF from all files, and use only one XMP record, which contains all the data anyway. One metadata format to deal with, a lot less problems. But there are applications out there which need and handle only old EXIF. Stock photo agencies and even
'hip' social networks still require legacy IPTC data. Camera vendors, even 12 years after XMP was introduced, still write legacy EXIF data into the images. Cameras may have now WiFi and smart phone chips, but metadata is still written the same way we did it 20 years ago.        

Before working with complex topics like metadata configuration or propagation, I can only recommend users to read the detailed information in the IMatch help, which explains everything, in several ways. I have even drawn some pictschures (!) to make this more clear.

Check out the Metadata Propagation topic which is part of the Metadata Write-back topic. Just type Metadata into the help index and then click on Propagation in the result list.

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-- Mario
IMatch Developer
Forum Administrator  -  Contact & Support - Follow me on 𝕏 - Like on Facebook


Thanks Mario.
I did read through those part but still managed to get confused !

Anyway I've not only checked XMP data for the propagation and it works perfectly as I want to it to.

Thanks a lot.