Faststone to photolab


I’m pretty sure there’s the response to my question on the forum, but I don’t find it, so please, excuse me if this is the case.

I’m trying to use fastStone image viewer to sort images before going in photolab.
So I rate from 1 to 5 in faststone and I thought I would be able to see those values in photolab, but this is not the case.

What am I missing ?

This will all depend on how FastStone stores its ratings.

From what I can see from a review of the new version, they use a coloured label that represents a number. This is quite non-standard as numeric ratings are usually stored as a number and colours are stored as a name.

Here’s how PhotoLab marks a colour value and a star rating value…

Capture d’écran 2023-05-15 à 13.24.56

And here’s how those values are stored in the XMP sidecar file.


Note that, even though my computer is set to French, the colour (Jaune) is stored as English (Yellow)

Does FastStone store such metadata in an XMP file? If so, could you post it here for me to have a look?

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No other file stored in the same folder as images by faststone.

So, in photolab I tried “load datas from images”, with no success.
FastStone sees and displays colors created in photolab.
But Photolab does not display colors nor values created in faststone.

Fast stone does not see photolab colors. It sees stars (rating) and displays the right faststone color and number corresponding to photolab rating.

Just seeing that’s more complicated than that.
Some number are good, other not. Possibly some modifications done in photolab since the first time faststone read those images.

I thought it was a good idea for sorting images, because photolab is very slow at this task.
Will find an other solution.
I don’t want to manually manage what my computer and softwares I put in it should manage. I have a computer to compute fastidious tasks, and I don’t want to tweak datas, metadatas myself.

What file format are you working with?

If they are RAW and there is no sidecar, it probably means that FastStone is only storing in its own database.

Are the files small enough that you could post one so that I could check for embedded metadata?


For now I was working on jpeg.
I generally save RAW+JPG from my camera and do the first sorting on jpeg.
This is what I was doing.

I add an image in my last message.

Yes a little mess on this one :wink:


You need to use a viewer that knows how to generate XMP companion files.
XnviewMP can do it.
The tag translation remark remains to be tested



@JoPoV Faststone Image Viewer (FSIV) is an excellent general file manager and essentially useless for metadata of almost all types. I have used it from way back and it is still my goto file library manager on a daily basis but

  1. The interface to DxPL(Win) only succeeds in passing one entry at a time whereas FastRawViewer (FRV) and XnView can pass many images at the same time. FSIV is not DOP aware (that may be untrue since the recent releases but I believe that FSIV will not move DOPs with the image as FRV can/does (but at not very high price)).

  2. The only metadata that FSIV will touch is JPEG comment etc, and I have never used it for that purpose in all the years I have used the product!

But FRV cannot see the ‘Rating’ assigned with FSIV!

i.e. FSIV must be keeping it to itself in its own database!

For ‘Rating’ and ‘Color Labels’ use FRV but it has little use for any other metadata,

XnViewMP can handle, ‘Rating’ and ‘Color Labels’ and keywords and can pass large numbers of images to DxPL and is also free (or donation)!

I use FSIV, FRV and XnViewMP (and Zoner - now non-licensed) as and when I need a specific function or facility or need corroboration between programs.


Thanx to all.
Will find my way with that.

@JoPoV I am not sure its is all plain sailing with XnViewMp, I have principally used it to monitor changes made be DxPL(Win) rather than as the primary source of ‘Rating’ and ‘Color Labels’!

It has worked well when I was testing it as a cheaper source of IPTC templates that DxPL simply doesn’t provide (cheaper but less powerful compared to Photo Mechanics).

However I need to do some more tests with ‘Rating’ and ‘Color Labels’ to ensure that setting in XnViewMP is detected in DxPL (and FRV) the way that I believe it should be!?

Will test further and report later. FRV costs about £23.99 and provides a proper render of a RAW image (not just an embedded JPG) when viewing RAW files and I have used that to test ‘Rating’ and ‘Color Labels’ (needs configuring for compatibility with DxPL) but no keywords and limited any other metadata.

I believe we tested xmp build up of Xnviewmp and dxoPL does read it but when you change things inside dxoPL in the xmp then somethings did go wrong if i am remembering correct.

Adobe bridge does work, is free with an adobe account.
And FRV v2 does work too.

There is the “sting in the tail” and yes I use Bridge and yes I have an account but “Adobe Creative Cloud” is a …

FRV is “only” useful for ‘Rating’ and ‘Color Labels’ and you need to reload (refresh) because it does not automatically detect,




XnViewMP does not automatically detect changes it appears to need prompting using

DxPL may or may not automatically detect external changes depending on the setting of

as shown it will (should) automatically detect any external metadata changes to an image file (including changes to an xmp sidecar file). Just tested that on a RAW files and DxPL spotted the changes in ‘Rating’.

Repeated on a JPG and DxPL does not spot a change made by XnViewMP (similar to my long standing complaint about DxPL & ExifPro which DxO have continuously ignored since PL5 Beta Testing - @DxO_Support-Team - what a time wasting exercise this is).

Same goes for an IPTC change but Zoner (as stated now running with a lapsed licence but still leaves the metadata parts working - thank you Zoner) recognises both immediately (as DxPL should) to get DxPL to react you need to use


The original problem I reported was that XnViewMP created a sidecar file for JPGs (as does FRV by default) and needs to be configured so that it does not do that

For FRV I use the following but I don’t guarantee that these are correct in all situations!?



You are absolutely right.
Photolab and XnView do not interact in a stable automatic way as Photolab and for example PhotoMechanic does. The last combo is rock solid.

However it seems that this applies to Rating and Color Labels. I maintain all metadata in Photo Mechanic and everything works perfect and automatically from Photomechanic to both Photolab and XnView if they are used strictly as consumers and if color labels and rating is not of importance :-). It´s only these variables that´s not working for me and I can live with that as I use XnView. I use XnView mainly as a browser and a mean to check that EXIF GPS, IPTC, AND XMP-data are applied to all the images I have been working with. What is important for me is that color labels are maintained in Photolab and PhotoMechanic. I don´t use rating at all. I don´t think I need that because I never “spray and pray” but still, it has to work.

I can just say it´s strange that everything including GPS-coordinates seems to work automatically even with XnView (when it consumes data från PhotoMechanic but it might be because ratings and labels isn´t stored in IPTC and the configuration in XnView when it comes to XMP and IPTC is a real mess. I wonder if anyone can understand their setup. They have really made it difficult for themselves. That goes especially for the keywords. Oj oj oj what a mess! XnView can be very useful as a metadata viewer but it´s close to useless as a maintenance tool. Don´t even think the thought.

@Stenis I understand your long standing relationship with Photo Mechanic but consider the $129 for Photo Mechanic or $214 for Photo Mechanic Plus too high a price to pay (personally) for a package that offers lots of metadata and image management facilities but little photo editing capabilities!

The PM IPTC Template facilities are tempting but the keywording facilities are not! When I undertook my analysis of keywords created by other packages and compared them to DxPL and looked at what DxPL did to those keywords, PM had the sparsest set of hierarchical keywords of all the packages that could actually handle hierarchical keywords.

I felt that it was too sparse and can now configure DxPL to create a keywords combination that matches Capture one, i.e. a little overkill, perhaps but …

@JoPoV was attempting to use FSIV to arrange and rate images and I believe that FSIVs ‘Rating’ is preserved within FSIV!? Hence, I was looking for a product similar to FSIV that could create proper ‘Rating’ and ‘Color Label’ metadata that was available to other software.

Personally I have IMatch if I want to get serious about using a DAM, almost certainly not as fast as Photo Mechanic but a full blown DAM with many facilities I am unlikely to use but half the price of PM Plus.

I will use DxPL as my keywording software of choice and see how well I can integrate that with IMatch.

As for @JoPoV I have explored some options that might be suitable, PM is another option.

The issue of DxPL not recognising a metadata change in ExifPro was caused by ExifPro not causing the ‘Date Modified’ to change when “sliding” the metadata into the image. I suspect that the same thing is happening with XnViewMP. I would accept this as a fault with ExifPro and Xnview except that other software that is supposed to automatically recognise a change is perfectly happy with the both those programs.

DxPL uses a mechanism that causes it to be alerted when a change has occurred but then applies the date test whereas other software obviously uses other means to detect a change in the right image and processes it appropriately.

This is a BUG that DxO chooses to ignore, and I have become extremely bored with that organisation and its often " cavalier" attitudes to information sharing with users, fixing bugs that are easy to fix and becoming even more aloof as time goes by.

It doesn’t change my opinion about using the software for my own editing but I have reduced testing to next to none in favour of using my time more profitably instead of “banging my head against a brick wall”.

Take care


My comment was not at all ment to discussing any particular choice of software, or the costs of anything but to understand what is working and why and how things are working one way or the other in our workflows. I have found som use for XnView and I must say I like it “the way I use it” and since it is “free” and support a lot of file formats and all metadata I´m interested in as a consumer it might have it´s place even for others despite it really has it´s flaws. It´s hopeless as a metadata editor but useful as a metadata comsumer.

I have no problem at all using Photolab ImageLibrary today as it is today despite it´s really version 0.9. It is in fact surprisingly good! Since I haven´t still found an English standard keyword vocabulary supporting hierarchic keywords that I haven´t needed to maintain heavily by myself, I have skipped anything else than a plain keyword list and it happened to be the only thing that have worked the whole time without any problems to talk about. I´m fully happy with that.

Keywords are a little overrated I think because the way most photo enthusiast are using them is mainly maintaining their own libraries. As long as you are not a part of an organisation using standard vocabularies used by an entire industry or so they are of very little use out on the net because they are just hopelessly ineffective and just drowning in the common noise there.

The problem Photolab have to maintain a hot link between other softwares using XMP has to be addressed in some way or another but it´s not all that easy since there are no standardized process for that like in the standard of Rosetta Net for example. Just look at the mess they have created in XnView for the handling of the keywords

There is a possibility to use the changed-flag in the filesystem itself. From what I know that is what for example FotoWare DAM’s Index Manager is using when indexing files appearing in its indexed folders. That makes it possible too to handle changes done in other software than XMP-metadata aware applications and in real DAM-systems that might often being the case. From the beginning the only other software DXO really was interested in integrating with was Adobe Lightroom. Despite DXO had a lot to gain integrating with PhotoMechanic (much better scalability than Lightroom has with or without Photolab) I’m pretty sure most of the job to get it working was done by Kirk Baker at Cameralabs. Even I participated in that process lifting a few issues.

So, the focus on Lightroom might explain why DXO haven´t been listening on you and others when lifting integration problems with other softwares than Lightroom. I went to Kirk Baker because he really listens and tries to help if he can. Camerabits has the most responsive and competent support I have come across maybe together with Hamrick at Hamrick Software that makes the branch standard for Scanner software Vuescan. Baker is constantly monitoring and participating in the Camerabits Forums eager to listen and help. That means a lot to many.

PM was never ment to be “all in one” like Photolab now tries to be and Lightroom has been for decades. “All in one”-packages gives a lot for your money but you always get modules that are not top notch compared to more specialized tools like PMPlus. So, if the integration works good between specialized softwares like PMPlus and Photolab you get a system where 1+1 might be 3 when it scales like a monolithic software like Lightroom never can. What people are paying for is the possibility to use any number of databases and make it possible to combine searches across any number of them on top of a muck more effective metadata maintenance than any “all in one software” can offer today. With that in mind 200 U$ is nothing considering that and that this pretty modest sum might be returned in just a day or two if PM Plus gets in the hands of a skilled user in a branch where speed really matters. Money is not an issue here either for me or for example event or sports photographers or -journalists.

In my case because I value my time more than a couple of hundreds of dollars. I have really tried to use Lightroom for metadata maintenace but gave up 10 years ago and Photolab is not really an alternative either, because it´s far too ineffective.

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Does Faststone have the option to embed metadata?

@tmyrick I believe that @Joanna is a Mac user but may well run Windows in a VM but as far as I can tell the ‘Rating’ assigned appears to exist only within FastStone, i.e. I can find no setting to force the ‘Rating’ to be written back to the image. I will do one last sweep to make sure I have missed nothing and report back!

Nope. I used to, years ago, when consulting on a Windows programming project, but now I only use the Mac and am fairly much lost on Windows because the last version I used was XP.