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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.

Open Alfred to the Help preferences > Troubleshooting > "Run Troubleshooting..."

Drop a file into the grey box that says "Drop file..." and watch as the output is provided.

If we've asked you to provide this information, click "Copy output" and paste it in your email reply or in a text file to attach. Please don't truncate the file to remove any of the information, as all of the data is needed in order for us to help you out.

Metadata Tool


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 the steps 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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