I'm going through the thankless task of scanning old photos and archiving the digital copies.

Is there a way to modify the date of scanned image files (typically .jpeg) to more closely match when the photo was taken rather than when the photo was scanned?

Edit: I'm using Windows (Vista for now).

I'm fairly ignorant of the exif data that is being mentioned in the answers. Is the exif data linked with the file's date/time attributes somehow? Do any of these tool allow manipulation of the file's date & time as well as the exif date (assuming these are separate)?


First Edit the Photo Date - For many photo management programs to work properly, you should first change the internal EXIF data which contains the date information (among other information) about the photograph:


Time Stamp Modifier for JPEG Files

Exifer for Windows

Then Sync the File Date to the Photo Date - You can then use the ExifTool to Sets the photos' file dates from EXIF information:


Note: If you don't want to set the EXIF data first, there are plenty of programs to change the creation date/time of the original file directly:

How to change the modified/creation/last-accessed date for files and folders


A very powerful and flexible photo EXIF manipulation utility is ExifTool , available from the Author's site . This syntax appears to set the file date to the photo date:

exiftool '-DateTimeOriginal>FileModifyDate' directory

"Use the original date from the meta information to set the same file's filesystem modification date for all images in a directory. "

Update: Since the question has changed, ExifTool can also be used to set the internal photo meta data date to the actual photo date. I scanned many files and placed them in folders named with the name of the date the photos were taken. I could then set a batch file to mass update all internal photo dates. For example, this would set the internal Exif tag on all scanned photos in the folder '1981-07-01' to the specified date below.

ExifTool.pl -overwrite_original "-DateTimeOriginal=1981:07:01 00:00:00" .\1981-07-01

This could be followed by the command above to set the file date as well.

EXIF data is internal to the file and is completely independent from the system file dates unless they are manually set to match. This is partly by design - normally a camera sets the photo date Exif tag when the photo is taken. The photo may be edited multiple times which will update the lastModified date, but good photo software reads and sorts by internal Exif file date based on when the photo was taken.

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    This wont work unless they change the EXIF data first. The photo is being scanned so the EXIF will not be set to the date the original photo was taken. Jul 25 '09 at 20:46

ACDSee allows you to bulk update EXIF data.


Exiftool to change the internal metadata, and if you're on Unix, touch -d date will change the OS timestamp of the file.

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