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Installing ExifTool

Note: ExifTool does not need to be installed to run. Just download and extract either the full Perl distribution on Mac/Linux, or the Windows EXE version on Windows, and run it directly. [But note that if you move the Perl "exiftool" application, you must also move its "lib" directory to the same location. This doesn't apply to the Windows version which unpacks the libraries into a temporary directory.]

However, the benefits of installation are:

See the appropriate section below with instructions for installing or uninstalling ExifTool on your specific platform:

Also see these instructions for help running ExifTool.


In Windows, there is a choice of two different versions of ExifTool to install. The Perl distribution requires Perl to be installed on your system. (A good, free Perl interpreter can be downloaded from activeperl.com.)

If you don't already have Perl, it is easier to install the stand-alone ExifTool executable, but note that the stand-alone version doesn't include the HTML documentation or some other files of the full distribution.

Stand-Alone Executable

  1. Download the Windows Executable from the ExifTool home page.
    (The file you download will have a name like "exiftool-10.40.zip".)
  2. Extract "exiftool(-k).exe" from the ".zip" file, and place it on your Desktop.
    (Double-click on "exiftool-10.40.zip" to open the archive, then drag "exiftool(-k).exe" to your Desktop.)

You can now double-click on "exiftool(-k).exe" to read the application documentation, or drag-and-drop files and folders to run exiftool on selected files. To install exiftool for use from the command line, continue with the following steps:

  1. Rename "exiftool(-k).exe" to "exiftool.exe".
    (or "exiftool(-k)" to "exiftool" if file name extensions are hidden on your system)
  2. Move "exiftool.exe" to the "C:\WINDOWS" directory (or any other directory in your PATH).

You can now run exiftool by typing "exiftool" at the command prompt. (To get to the command prompt, select "Run..." from the Windows "Start" menu, then type "cmd" and press Return.)


  1. In Windows 7, running exiftool requires administrator privileges. If necessary, this may be enabled by right clicking on exiftool, then selecting "Run this program as administrator" from the Compatibility settings.
  2. Occasionally users have reported that exiftool gives errors when running this version for this first time. It is possible this may happen if a file gets corrupted during the download/installation process. In this case, follow the Uninstalling instructions below then re-install exiftool. Be sure that you have sufficient disk space in your TEMP directory for exiftool to unpack about 12 MB of temporary files -- these are the Perl libraries used by the exiftool application which are unpacked the first time exiftool is run.


  1. Drag "exiftool(-k).exe" (or "C:\WINDOWS\exiftool.exe") into the Recycle bin.
  2. Drag the directory "par-XXX" from your temporary directory to the Recycle bin. Here "XXX" is your user name (in ASCII-hex for ExifTool 10.21 or later) and the location of the temporary directory depends on the value of the TEMP environment variable (typically "C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Local Settings\Temp" for Windows XP, or "C:\Users\USER\AppData\Local\Temp" for Windows 7 or later).

Full Perl Distribution

You must have Perl installed to use this version. (A free version of Perl can be downloaded from activeperl.com.)

  1. Download the Image-ExifTool distribution from the ExifTool home page
    (The file you download will have a name like "Image-ExifTool-10.40.tar.gz".)
  2. Extract the ExifTool files from the archive.
    (The archive is a gzipped tar file, and can be opened with various Windows utilities, including WinZip.)
  3. Rename "exiftool" to "exiftool.pl" in the exiftool distribution.
  4. Move "exiftool.pl" and the "lib" directory from the exiftool distribution to "C:\WINDOWS" (or any other directory in your PATH).

Now, if you have made the proper Windows associations for the ".pl" extension (an option in the ActivePerl installation), you can run exiftool by typing "exiftool.pl" at the "cmd.exe" prompt. Otherwise you should type "perl c:\windows\exiftool.pl".


  1. Drag "C:\WINDOWS\exiftool.pl" and "C:\WINDOWS\lib" into the Recycle bin. You should first confirm that "C:\WINDOWS\lib" contains only the "File" and "Image" sub-directories. Do not delete it if it contains anything else.

Macintosh OS X

If you have installed the BSDSDK package from the Xcode Developer Tools (ie. if you have the "make" utility), you should follow the install procedure for Unix platforms in the next section instead of the steps below. The Unix install has the advantage of making the ExifTool library available for your Perl scripts, as well as installing the man pages and POD documentation.

Otherwise, you have a choice of two packages to install: The OS X package, or the full Perl distribution. Both of the procedures below install the ExifTool files in the same location. Installing from the OS X package is easier, but the full distribution includes HTML documentation and some other files not included in the OS X package. Both versions run natively on PPC and Intel Macs.

OS X Package

  1. Download the ExifTool OS X Package from the ExifTool home page.
    (The file you download will have a name like "ExifTool-10.40.dmg".)
  2. Install as a normal OS X package.
    (Open the disk image, double-click on the install package, and follow the instructions.)

You can now run exiftool by typing "exiftool" in a Terminal window.

If this doesn't work, then it is likely you have an older version of OS X for which /usr/local/bin isn't in the default PATH. To fix this, add the following line to your ~/.profile settings using a text editor:

export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin

Full Perl Distribution

  1. Download the Image-ExifTool distribution from the ExifTool home page to your Desktop.
    (The file you download will have a name like "Image-ExifTool-10.40.tar.gz".)
  2. Launch the Terminal application from the Utilities folder in your Applications folder.
  3. In the Terminal window, type the following:
        cd ~/Desktop
        tar -xzf Image-ExifTool-10.40.tar.gz
        cd Image-ExifTool-10.40
        sudo cp -r exiftool lib /usr/local/bin
    (Note: The last step above will require you to enter your password.)

You can now run exiftool by typing "exiftool" in a Terminal window.



  1. Launch the "Terminal" application from the Applications Utilities folder.
  2. Type "open /usr/local/bin" (without the quotes) in the Terminal window, then press RETURN. (This opens a folder that you normally can't access from OS X.)
  3. Drag "exiftool" and "lib" into the trash from the "bin" folder you opened. You should first confirm that "lib" contains only two sub-folders: "File" and "Image". If it contains anything else, don't trash it because you have the wrong "lib" folder.

Unix Platforms

  1. Download the Image-ExifTool distribution from the ExifTool home page
    (The file you download will have a name like "Image-ExifTool-10.40.tar.gz".)
  2. Unpack the distribution and make it your current directory by typing:
        cd <your download directory>
        gzip -dc Image-ExifTool-10.40.tar.gz | tar -xf -
        cd Image-ExifTool-10.40
    (At this point you may run exiftool by typing "exiftool <image file name>".)
  3. Test and install ExifTool by typing:
        perl Makefile.PL
        make test
        sudo make install
    (Note: The "make test" step is not required, but useful because it runs a full suite of tests to verify that ExifTool is working properly on your system. The "sudo make install" command requires that you have su access, and will prompt for your password. This will make ExifTool and its documentation accessible to all users on your system. If you don't have su access, you can run ExifTool in your own account by moving "exiftool" and its "lib" directory to any convienient location, preferably somewhere in your PATH.)

You can now run exiftool by typing "exiftool". Also, you can consult the ExifTool documentation with commands like:

perldoc exiftool
perldoc Image::ExifTool
perldoc Image::ExifTool::TagNames


man exiftool
man Image::ExifTool
man Image::ExifTool::TagNames


  1. Type "sudo make uninstall" from the distribution directory.
    (Note: Unfortunately, newer systems may give an "Uninstall is unsafe and deprecated" message even though uninstalling ExifTool is safe because it has no dependencies. If this happens, the necessary commands to remove the installed files will be listed, and these commands must be run manually.)

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