My agency believes that special characters are a bad thing (since there were compatibility problems between Mac and Windows in the (ancient) past). So rather than submitting pictures with keywords, titles and so on with "Einstürzende Neubauten" I have to submit "Einstuerzende Neubauten". I do not want to ruin my database but rather have a postprocessing script or plugin that replaces "ü" by "ue", for example. Is there something like this? Some call to exiftool?

Edit: I forgot to mention that I am using Lightroom. So there may be plugins that have such functionality already. Metadata Wrangler is quite good, but I cannot figure out a way to replace patterns with it.

  • I doubt there is any feature in exiftool tool to do that. How many different characters are there that have to be replaced? Maybe I can code something up.
    – Mike Dixon
    Nov 15, 2017 at 11:48
  • What OS do you use ? Nov 16, 2017 at 1:02
  • I am using Mac OS.
    – Stefan
    Nov 16, 2017 at 12:32

1 Answer 1


Exiftool could do this with the -api "Filter=" option, but the command line could get long and messy.

Using your example, the command would be something like this:
exiftool -api "Filter=s/ü/ue/g" -TagsFromFile @ -all:all DIR

The only trouble would be that the individual substitutions would get long and you would have to deal upper and lower case separately.

Additionally, if you're on Windows, you may have to add the -L option to deal with the accented characters.

Edit: Alternate version if you have Perl installed.

With Perl installed and the main Exiftool Perl code installed (not the executable), then Unicode::Normalize can be called and this simpler command can be used.
perl exiftool.pl -api "filter=use Unicode::Normalize; $_= NFKD( $_ ); $_=~ s/\p{NonspacingMark}//g;" -TagsFromFile @ -all:all DIR

Based upon this StackOverflow answer.

The only problem is that it would convert ü to just u.

  • OK. And how do I couple this with the export dialogue in Lightroom? Would I have a script that calls such a command for every Umlaut and specify this as a post-processing filter?
    – Stefan
    Nov 16, 2017 at 12:40
  • @Stefan, I'm sorry, but I don't know how to integrate this into Lightroom. This would be on the command line to permanently change the metadata for the file.
    – StarGeek
    Nov 16, 2017 at 19:09
  • It works! The option -L is also needed for Mac.
    – Stefan
    Dec 2, 2017 at 16:29

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