exif man page

exif — shows EXIF information in JPEG files


exif [ OPTION ] [ file... ]


exif is a small command-line utility to show and change EXIF information in JPEG files.

Most digital cameras produce EXIF files, which are JPEG files with extra tags that contain information about the image. The exif command-line utility allows you to read EXIF information from and write EXIF information to those files. exif internally uses the libexif library.

Each input file given on the command line is acted upon in turn, using  all the options given. Execution will be aborted immediately if one file is not readable or does not contain EXIF tags.

As EXIF tags are read, any unknown ones are discarded and known ones are automatically converted into the correct format, if they aren't already. Corrupted MakerNote tags are also removed, but no format changes are made.


-v, --version

Display the exif version number.

-i, --ids

Show ID numbers instead of tag names.

-t, --tag=TAG

Select only this TAG. TAG is the tag title, the short tag name, or the tag number (hexadecimal numbers are prefixed with 0x), from the IFD specified with --ifd.  The tag title is dependent on the current locale, whereas name and number are locale-independent.


Select a tag or tags from this IFD. Valid IFDs are "0", "1", "EXIF", "GPS", and "Interoperability". Defaults to "0".

-l, --list-tags

List all known EXIF tags and IFDs.  A JPEG image must be provided, and those tags which appear in the file are shown with an asterisk in the corresponding position in the list.

-|, --show-mnote

Show the contents of the MakerNote tag.  The contents of this tag are nonstandard (and often undocumented) and may therefore not be recognized, or if they are recognized they may not necessarily be interpreted correctly.


Remove the tag or (if no tag is specified) the entire IFD.

-s, --show-description

Show description of tag.  The --tag option must also be given.

-e, --extract-thumbnail

Extract the thumbnail, writing the thumbnail image to the file specified with --output.

-r, --remove-thumbnail

Remove the thumbnail from the image, writing the new image to the file specified with --output.

-n, --insert-thumbnail=FILE

Insert FILE as thumbnail.  No attempt is made to ensure that the contents of FILE are in a valid thumbnail format.


Do not attempt to fix EXIF specification violations when reading tags. When used in conjunction with --create-exif, this option inhibits the creation of the mandatory tags. exif will otherwise remove illegal or unknown tags, add some mandatory tags using default values, and change the data type of some tags to match that required by the specification.

-o, --output=FILE

Write output image to FILE. If this option is not given and an image file must be written, the name used is the same as the input file with the suffix ".modified.jpeg".


Set the data for the tag specified with --tag and --ifd to VALUE. Compound values consisting of multiple components are separated with spaces.

-c, --create-exif

Create EXIF data if it does not exist. Mandatory tags are created with default values unless the --no-fixup option is given. This option can be used instead of specifying an input file name in most cases, to operate on the default values of the mandatory set of EXIF tags. In this case, the --output option has no effect and no file is written.

-m, --machine-readable

Produce output in a machine-readable (tab-delimited) format. The --xml-output and --machine-readable options are mutually exclusive.

-w, --width=N

Set the maximum width of the output to N characters (default 80). This does not apply to some output formats (e.g. XML).

-x, --xml-output

Produce output in an XML format (when possible). The --xml-output and --machine-readable options are mutually exclusive. Note that the XML schema changes with the locale, and it sometimes produces invalid XML. This option is not recommended.

-d, --debug

Show debugging messages. Also, when processing a file that contains corrupted data, this option causes exif to attempt to continue processing. Normally, corrupted data causes an abort.

Help options

-?, --help

Show help message.


Display brief usage message.


Display all recognized EXIF tags in an image and the tag contents, with bad tags fixed:

exif image.jpg

Display a table listing all known EXIF tags and whether each one exists in the given image:

exif --list-tags --no-fixup image.jpg

Display details on all XResolution tags found in the given image:

exif --tag=XResolution --no-fixup image.jpg

Display the raw contents of the "Model" tag in the given image (with a newline character appended):

exif --ifd=0 --tag=Model --machine-readable image.jpg

Extract the thumbnail into the file thumbnail.jpg:

exif --extract-thumbnail --output=thumbnail.jpg image.jpg

Display a list of the numeric values of only the EXIF tags in the thumbnail IFD (IFD 1) and the tag values:

exif --ids --ifd=1 --no-fixup image.jpg

Display the meaning of tag 0x9209 in the "EXIF" IFD according to the EXIF specification:

exif --show-description --ifd=EXIF --tag=0x9209

Add an Orientation tag with value "bottom - left" to an existing image, leaving the existing tags untouched:

exif --output=new.jpg --ifd=0 --tag=0x0112 --set-value=4 --no-fixup image.jpg

Add a YCbCr Sub-Sampling tag with value 2,1 (a.k.a YCbCr 4:2:2) to an existing image and fix the existing tags, if necessary:

exif --output=new.jpg --tag=YCbCrSubSampling --ifd=0 --set-value='2 1' image.jpg

Display a table with all known EXIF tags, highlighting mandatory ones:

exif -cl


exif was written by Lutz Mueller <lutz@users.sourceforge.net> and numerous contributors. This man page is Copyright © 2002-2012 Thomas Pircher, Dan Fandrich and others.

See Also


Referenced By


2012-06-27 exif 0.6.21 command line front-end to libexif