Add keywords that are readable in the operating system search as well as in PhotoLab

I don’t have Lightroom or any other DAM software but I wanted to add keywords directly into files rather than having XMP sidecars.

To start with I used ExifTool to add keywords to the IPTC:Keywords tag but, although they were visible in macOS Finder, they were not visible in PhotoLab

Then someone in these forums hinted at using the XMP:Subject tag. Sure enough, if you have either software that is capable of adding keywords to this tag or the command line ExifTool, you can add keywords.

exiftool -Subject=keyword1 -Subject=keyword2 -Subject=etc -overwrite_original filename.ext

Keywords added like this are visible both to operating system search and within PhotoLab.


I don’t think that will work. Only the last keyword will be written.
The = sign is overwriting everything in that field. Use += for the second one and further. Or use an argument list.
You can also synchronize the iptc and xmp keywords.


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Well, it does work correctly as long as all the keywords are written at the same time. The += syntax is for when you want to add more keywords to those that are already in the file.

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A while back when I was still using Luminar (who still don’t have the ability to edit keywords — glad I didn’t wait around) I came up with a means of adding keyword hierarchies to my DNG files in the same manner as Lightroom.

This blog post I wrote about it may contain useful information for others.