I've shot RAW + JPEG for most of my photos, and have added quite a lot of metadata to the JPEGs using Windows Live Photo Gallery. I've mainly added keywords and people tags (thanks to the new face recognition).

I can't find a way to tell Lightroom to sync the metadata from the JPEGs into the RAWs (or even just the catalog).

Any ideas?

5 Answers 5


You can use free, open-source utility Exiftool to extract the metadata from the JPG files. If your RAW files are supported, you can have it add the information directly to the RAW. If not, you can have Exiftool create XMP sidecars, which stand a chance of being imported into Lightroom.

One difficulty with this task overall is that most versions of LR have some pretty firm ideas about where it gets metadata. If it thinks it knows how to get it from an image file, it tends to ignore any sidecars. So part of the exercise will involve some experimentation to find out what LR will be happiest with.

In any case, Exiftool should probably be in your toolbox.


If all of the above fail, you can always do it manually in LR. Here is how you can streamline the process using keyboard accelerators only:

  1. You first need to display both your JPEG and RAW files in the same Grid view in the Library module. If both type of files are in the same folder, just select that folder in the left panel. If they are in different folders, I would suggest you add them to a temporary collection first. The 'Quick Collection' in the Catalog section of the left panel will do the trick. Right click on it and select 'Set as Target Collection' (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+B). Now pick the folder containing your JPEG files, select all of them (Ctrl+A), right-click on any one photo and select 'Add to Quick Collection' (or just press B). This should add all your JPEG files to the 'Quick Collection'. Do the same for your RAW files.
  2. At this point you are looking at either the folder containing both your JPEG and RAW files, or a collection where you added both type of files. Display them as a Grid (hit G). Now sort them by 'Capture Time'. This can be done from the 'View' menu ('View -> Sort -> Capture Time') or from a small ribbon at the bottom that you can display by pressing T.
  3. Your files are now sorted by 'Capture Time'. This means that you are looking at an ordered series of JPEG + RAW pairs. For each JPEG file, the RAW file next to it should be the exact same photo since it was captured at the same time, even though it might not have the same file name.
  4. Click on your first JPEG file. In the right panel, you should see all its tags/keywords in the 'Keyword Tags' section under the 'Quick Develop' section. Click in the text box right there (the one containing all the tags). You will stay there for the rest of this process.
  5. Press Ctrl+A to select all the keywords. Now press Ctrl+Right or Ctrl+Left to switch the selection to the corresponding RAW file. Once again, it should be right next to your JPEG file in the Grid view. Note that the keyboard focus is still in the keywords text box; if your RAW file has no tags, this box should be empty. Press Ctrl+V to paste the tags you just copied from the JPEG file.
  6. Press Ctrl+Right or Ctrl+Left to select the JPEG file in the next JPEG+RAW pair, copy its tags, and paste them to the corresponding RAW file, just like you did previously. Rinse, repeat.

This is not ideal, obviously, but my point is, you can do it very quickly using just a few key strokes per JPEG+RAW pair. Ctrl+Left, Ctrl+Right, Ctrl+A, Ctrl+V. Good luck.


I don't think it's possible to take metadata from JPGs in Windows Live Photo Gallery and automate the process of attaching it to RAW files via Lightroom.

This article from Microsoft indicates that Windows Live Photo Gallery does not write out XMP data to sidecar files, which would be the only method I can imagine would allow metadata from JPGs to get associated to RAW files in Lightroom.

If one could write out to XMP sidecar files, one should be able to tell Lightroom to import the XMP metadata for the respective RAW files.

  • Thanks for the tip. I'll have a dig around. I would have thought there would be a function in Lightroom to do 'Update metadata from associated JPEG', but I can't seem to find that.
    – Daniel O
    Jul 17, 2010 at 2:19
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure Lightroom has no idea what "associated JPG" would be.
    – ahockley
    Jul 17, 2010 at 4:12

Why not stop using JPEG images and use RAW exclusively? To make Windows Live Gallery work with RAW images buy a copy of FastPictureViewer Codec Pack which opens the various RAW image formats up to most applications, even including Windows Explorer.

  • Now that Lightroom has native Facebook upload, I don't use Windows Live Gallery anymore
    – Daniel O
    Sep 21, 2010 at 12:28
  • I've found the Facebook support in Lightroom 3.2 to be a bit flaky. Sep 30, 2010 at 15:03

Perhaps you could write a program to extract the information out of the jpg's using the API from microsoft (see Overview of Reading and Writing Image Metadata) and create XMP files from them?

(I suggest this alternative because you've got a StackOverflow account.)

  • There's even a library on CodePlex that does all the hard work. I'd just need to make something that spits out XML side car files.
    – Daniel O
    Jul 24, 2010 at 3:48
  • well there is a Sourceforge project for that: sourceforge.net/projects/csxmptk so have fun :) Jul 24, 2010 at 7:56

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