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I have an image that I can't remember how I edited and I no longer have the lightroom catalog. I thought there was a way to view the editing steps from the metadata, does anyone know how to do that?

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It is impossible to extract the information how you edited a raw file from the metadata of an exported jpg file. There is no such information in jpg's metadata.

What you can do for future

activate the option "Automatically write changes into XMP" in Catalog Settings. This will create sidecar files with extension .xmp saved right next to the original RAW files. You can then import those files and settings will be automatically applied to the corresponding raw-files ("corresponding" means here "having the same name").

You can also save XMP-data at any time manually by selecting one or more photos in the Grid view of the Library module and choosing Metadata > Save Metadata To File(s).

If you happen to lose or to delete the original raw file you will still be able to get editing settings from the xmp file. Just open it in any text editor and you will see something like

<contrast>+1.1</contrast>
<brightness>-0.4</brightness>

and so on.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, it is possible for software to save this information directly in the JPEG file; darktable, for instance, will do this, and can later import a "style" from such a JPEG. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 10, 2015 at 20:50
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Maybe a moot point, but if it was originally a JPG image, then simply viewing that JPG file in another program now will see only the original version, it cannot see the Lightoom edit changes. Only Lightroom can see that, which is the reason we have to output a new JPG from Lightroom, for other programs to see (lossless editing). This comparison won't tell how you edited it, but will show the difference in the result.

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