Access document properties
Metadata, also known as document properties, is data which the computer or other devices saves within the file which identifies information about the file.
This could be information about the computer, camera or mobile phone itself. For example, when you take a photo, its make and model name are recorded, along with the date and time according to how you have previously set it up. It also records much more, such as some of the technical details like aperture and focus, which are things designed to help you record what you did. If GPS enabled, it can even record where it was taken.
For MS Word and other Office products, document properties include statistics information about the length of the document and taken spent on it, who initially created the document and who last saved it (and when), and more. This date data can be superior to the information in Windows Explorer.
If you want to know the details of what these document properties are, please see:
- Common metadata,
- MS Word metadata,
- Other Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint) metadata,
- Photo amd image properties, and GPS properties like longitude and latitude,
- Audio/video files, and
- MSG files exported from Microsoft Outlook.
But how do you actually view this metadata?
Ways to view document properties
The first way is to use Windows Explorer. There are several ways of doing this:
- You can right-hand clicking on a single file and going to Properties, then Details, or
- You can view some of the information in the Details pane,
- You can add custom columns into Windows Explorer.
The article “Viewing Metadata in Windows Explorer” demonstrates these ways in more detail. However, there are problems with them, such as
- the inability to copy and paste or otherwise save the data,
- its relative slowness,
- it doesn’t show all of the metadata which is available, and
- for MSG email files, it doesn’t show any!
If you are interested in Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint file properties, then those programs are metadata viewers, by using:
- in the File Menu,
- in the Document Panel,
- in a separate Properties window within Office, or
- Using Visual Basic for Applications.
However, while that information is complete, the problem with viewing metadata in Word, Excel or PowerPoint is that:
- you can only do that for one document at a time, and
- you need to actually open the document, meaning that you need to have any necessary passwords (if needed) and the time taken to actually open the file.
A much faster and easy way is to use a dedicated cataloguer metadata extractor. This solves problems with the above approaches, namely:
- You are able to copy and paste and save the data,
- It shows additional metadata, including for MSG files,
- There is no need to open the documents, so it is faster, and
- You can catalogue entire folders and subfolders at once.
We have been using a file cataloguer since 2003 called Filecats Professional, which creates a fully formatted spreadsheet in Excel, enabling you to view the metadata for thousands of files quickly.
In 2015 we also created Filecats Metadata, which is available for computers which don’t have Excel, as it imports the information in a self-contained table, from which you can copy, paste, filter, sort and create analyses.
Both of these software programs allow you to view up to several hundred document properties for various types of files. They can help you with your file management, especially when multiple people access files over a network. Watch the video below for more details.
Now that you’ve seen it in action, why not download it? There is a 7-day free trial, during which you can see how easy it can be to view the metadata of hundreds or thousands of MS Word documents, photos and more.