A PDF generated by Microsoft PowerPoint 2019 has metadata, anonymized below:

/Keywords(Xxxxx;YYY yyyyyyyyyyyyy)

Google Chrome and FireFox PDF.js, evince readers and even exiftool will display the keywords in the document properties. But not Acrobat Reader, why?

exiftool, run with -a shows no duplicates for Keywords however this metadata is stored in different places inside the PDF.

The PDF Reference, version 1.7 (version of this PDF file) includes this metadata among others, although it is not specified whether or not the list should be separated by semicolons. Also, using only one keyword to isolate the problem does not change anything.

Question and paraphrased answer posted in the Adobe Support Community, with a link to the source.

  • 1
    Probably there's some minor error in the metadata: try to extract it from the file, and post it in the question. Adobe usually is very strict in implementing its standards, while other pdf readers are more relaxed and usually tolerant to small errors.
    – 1NN
    Apr 19 at 11:33
  • Thanks, I didn't know about Adobe's strict policy. Since it may be copyrighted content, I would rather not extract anything from the document to post it there.
    – Amessihel
    Apr 19 at 12:13
  • 1
    You can change characters in the keywords so as to disguise the contents and post here. Just be careful to replace with the same type of characters, such as alphabetic letters with same type.
    – harrymc
    Apr 19 at 14:43
  • 2
    When you look at the data in exiftool, use the command in Exiftool FAQ #3. There are several possible "keywords" locations in different groups. Then find a PDF that Reader does display the keywords for and use that exiftool command to see what location Reader is using.
    – StarGeek
    Apr 19 at 15:37
  • @StarGeek thanks I didn't know these points!
    – Amessihel
    Apr 19 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


If we ask cpdf to show the info, you can see both the old-fashioned metadata, and the new-style XMP metadata.

$ cpdf synthèse_etude_canaux_communication.pdf -info
Title: Etude les canaux de communication
Author: L'Opcommerce
Keywords: Forco;GIP Communication
Creator: Microsoft PowerPoint 2019
Producer: Microsoft PowerPoint 2019
Created: D:20210713102823+02'00'
Modified: D:20210921101251+02'00'
XMP pdf:Producer: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2019
XMP xmp:CreateDate: 2021-07-13T10:28:23+02:00
XMP xmp:CreatorTool: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2019
XMP xmp:MetadataDate: 2021-09-21T10:12:51+02:00
XMP xmp:ModifyDate: 2021-09-21T10:12:51+02:00
XMP dc:title: Etude les canaux de communication
XMP dc:creator: L'Opcommerce

Adobe Acrobat prefers to show the data from the XMP metadata, and will not mix & match to fill in missing fields from the old-style metadata. You can see there is no XMP entry for /Keywords.

  • I added keywords in XMP metadata with exiftool (exiftool -Keywords="keyword1, keyword2" pdf-file) and yes they are displayed with Adobe Acrobat. Is this behavior (no mixing) documented somewhere?
    – Amessihel
    Apr 20 at 15:47
  • 1
    It would be a good idea to use Help | Send Feedback | I Don't Like Something in PowerPoint to report this to the developers. I've already done so and included a link to this discussion. They're probably not aware of the problem. Apr 20 at 15:56
  • 1
    When exiftool added them, did it add them both to the old-style metadata and the XMP metadata? I suspect it did. Old-style metadata is deprecated in PDF 2.0 anyway: "The PDF file’s information dictionary. As described in 14.3.3, "Document information dictionary", this method for specifying document metadata has been deprecated in PDF 2.0 and should therefore only be used to encode information that is stated as required elsewhere in this document." Apr 20 at 16:30
  • 1
    @SteveRindsberg, I also posted this question and paraphrased the answer in the Adobe Support Community. Of course, a source link is added.
    – Amessihel
    Apr 20 at 18:10
  • 1
    @Amessihel Good idea. Share the wealth. Apr 21 at 15:04

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