I want to edit a file's tags so I can organize them. All the tutorials I could find say I can tag files like this:

What I want

But on my computer, it looks like this:

What I get

How can I fix this?


From what I understood, each file has some metadata where tag information can be added

No, that's not entirely correct.

In earlier versions of Windows, this dialog box supported editing two kinds of metadata:

  • stored within the file itself, in a way that depends on that file's specific format,
  • and stored near the file (as an NTFS "alternate data stream"), in a way that is format-independent.

However, the second option has been removed with Windows Vista. Now the only properties you can change are those defined by the file's format (and understood by the OS) – so Word DOCX files have their own specific fields, MP3 files have a different set of fields, and so on. You can attach "keyword tags" to DOCX but not to MP3.

So all of the the properties visible in the first screenshot (the "Description" and "Origin" sections, as well as the "Content" section that's off-screen) are actually provided by the property handler for Microsoft Office documents – none of them are generic Windows file metadata.

(I don't know whether you need to have Office installed for this, or whether the property handler comes with Windows, but I suspect the former.)

Your second screenshot shows a BMP image file, which does not support storing any metadata inside.

(A ".txt" file would be a better example, as its contents are literally just the text – there is no place for adding metadata without disturbing the contents even if one wanted to.)

If you looked at the "Details" tab of e.g. an MP3 or JPEG file, the available fields would be different. There are of course also many formats where Windows can only read the metadata but not edit it (e.g. EXE files), and many formats which Windows doesn't understand at all.


The reason you couldn't add tags to this image file, is that the image must be of a format that supports metadata.

The image you have chosen is of type BMP, which is an old format from a time that metadata was not invented yet. But you would get the same with GIF images.

To have the Tags property enabled, you must use a format that supports them. Some such formats are JPEG, TIFF and PNG.

Here is an example taken on my computer, where I have added the tags aa and bb to a JPEG image:

enter image description here

But if you are organizing an image collection that contains BMP images, then tags are not the right method to organize the collection.

For more details see these articles:

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