How can I view the metadata for a file?

Sometimes, we might ask you to take a look at the metadata for a file to find out what it contains. It's not as scary as it sounds.

Download the Alfred Metadata Tool and install it.

Once you've installed it, launch it and drag a file to the left box for analysis.

Have a look at the output on the right, and copy it for us to see if we have asked you to send it to us.

Taking a look at metadata

The metadata is the underlying information available about a file. This will tell Spotlight, Alfred and any other apps that rely on it that, for example, the file is a PNG image with the title "Alfred Preferences Screenshot", located on the Desktop, with the creation and modification dates.

If your metadata doesn't show a Display Name and File Type at the top, or the kMDItemDisplayName is missing, then the file's metadata is incomplete.

If that's the case, take a look at the Indexing Troubleshooting Guide and follow step 4 to rebuild your Mac's index.

Example metadata for an image file

/Users/alfred/Desktop/Alfred Preferences Screenshot.png

Internal File Metadata
======================

 Display Name: Alfred Preferences Screenshot
    Alt Names: Alfred Preferences Screenshot.png
    File Type: public.png
     Comments: 
     Keywords: 
    Last Used: 2018-11-28 17:22:51 +0000

Raw mdls File Metadata
======================

_kMDItemOwnerUserID            = 501
kMDItemAlternateNames          = (
    "Alfred Preferences Screenshot.png"
)
kMDItemBitsPerSample           = 40
kMDItemColorSpace              = "RGB"
kMDItemContentCreationDate     = 2018-11-08 08:46:14 +0000
kMDItemContentModificationDate = 2018-11-08 08:46:14 +0000
kMDItemContentType             = "public.png"
kMDItemContentTypeTree         = (
    "public.png",
    "public.image",
    "public.data",
    "public.item",
    "public.content"
)
kMDItemDateAdded               = 2018-11-28 17:04:33 +0000
kMDItemDisplayName             = "Alfred Preferences Screenshot"
kMDItemFSContentChangeDate     = 2018-11-08 08:46:14 +0000
kMDItemFSCreationDate          = 2018-11-08 08:46:14 +0000
kMDItemFSCreatorCode           = ""
kMDItemFSFinderFlags           = 16
kMDItemFSHasCustomIcon         = (null)
kMDItemFSInvisible             = 0
kMDItemFSIsExtensionHidden     = 1
kMDItemFSIsStationery          = (null)
kMDItemFSLabel                 = 0
kMDItemFSName                  = "Alfred Preferences Screenshot.png"
kMDItemFSNodeCount             = (null)
kMDItemFSOwnerGroupID          = 20
kMDItemFSOwnerUserID           = 501
kMDItemFSSize                  = 41176
kMDItemFSTypeCode              = ""
kMDItemHasAlphaChannel         = 1
kMDItemIsScreenCapture         = 1
kMDItemKind                    = "Portable Network Graphics image"
kMDItemLastUsedDate            = 2018-11-28 17:22:51 +0000
kMDItemLogicalSize             = 41176
kMDItemOrientation             = 0
kMDItemPhysicalSize            = 49152
kMDItemPixelCount              = 209897
kMDItemPixelHeight             = 431
kMDItemPixelWidth              = 487
kMDItemProfileName             = "iMac"
kMDItemResolutionHeightDPI     = 0
kMDItemResolutionWidthDPI      = 0
kMDItemScreenCaptureGlobalRect = (
    1654
)
kMDItemScreenCaptureType       = "selection"
kMDItemUseCount                = 1
kMDItemUsedDates               = (
    "2018-11-28 00:00:00 +0000"
)

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