I have added tags such as Author, Subject and Title to some new PDF files I created. But they are not shown in Windows when I view file properties. Why?

pdf file properties

In order to see this information I have to open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and show the Document Properties dialog (Ctrl+D).

This is what it looks like in Adobe Acrobat, the above mentioned Document Properties dialog.

document properties in adobe acrobat


I have found some interesting information on Adobe website.

When you view a PDF, you can get information about it, such as the title, the fonts used, and security settings. Some of this information is set by the person who created the document, and some is generated automatically.

In Acrobat, you can change any information that can be set by the document creator, unless the file has been saved with security settings that prevent changes.

Choose File > Properties.
Click a tab in the Document Properties dialog box.

And then there is also this:

To make a PDF easier to search, you can add file information, called metadata, to the document properties. (You can see the properties for the currently open PDF by choosing File > Properties, and clicking the Description tab.)

(Windows) You can also enter and read the data properties information from the desktop. Right-click the document in Windows Explorer, choose Properties, and click the PDF tab. Any information you type or edit in this dialog box also appears in the Document Properties Description when you open the file.

This is what I have been doing. Except I don't have a PDF tab available on my file properties dialog box. So I guess I'll have to focus on this now. Why is it missing? And how do I add it?


I have given up on this.

I just had Adobe Reader uninstalled, rebooted, had the latest version of Adobe Reader downloaded and installed, rebooted, had the Adobe Acrobat Pro Updater check for updates, new updates found and installed, rebooted, after logging back in Adobe Reader Updater automatically jumped out at me telling me about a new update even though I just had the latest downloaded and installed from Adobe website (DUH!!), but I had it do the update anyway, no reboot requested, done, end!

So now I have the latest Adobe Reader X (10.1.7) and the latest Adobe Acrobat X Pro (10.1.7). To no avail! The problem still remains, no PDF tab in properties dialog. The only way to view them is to open the PDF file in either Acrobat X Pro or Reader X and show the Document Properties window (Ctrl+D).

I read some old discussions (2011 and earlier) on this subject over at Adobe forums, and some people reported to have the PDF tab, some reported they didn't have it even though they were using the same version of the software. Some said you have to copy this and that DLL file from this and that version of Adobe Reader (kind of hacking it), some say this is not part of Adobe Reader and that it's probably part of a different software installation, some say go edit this key or string in registry, do this and that... CRAZY!!

Why can't it just work?? I have given up on this now. It is not worth my time, and it's not worth any of your time. If anyone, Adobe developers are the ones that should be looking into this, why should we do their work for them?!... they need to make better software.

And on Microsoft's part, they need to add more native metadata reading and editing capabilities directly into Windows, for any given number of file types. This should be supported out of the box. I can't believe it isn't. The PDF file format is fairly well documented and standardized. So I don't buy that argument that they can't do it because there's no generally accepted standard for embedding metadata or whatever.

Of course, e.g., JPEG file will have different metadata than a DOC or a PDF file, no one expects them to be the same. Maybe they can't do it for some file formats, but they could definitely do it for PDF, if they wanted to. If they need to they can go at it one by one, tackling each file format differently. They have the resources. Why not take the initiative and introduce a standard for embedding metadata into files?... others might just follow.

  • Could you post a screenshot of the window where you expect to see those tags? – gronostaj Jun 1 '13 at 14:27
  • I expect to see them in the file properties dialog under the Details tab. – Samir Jun 1 '13 at 14:28
  • Ok, but it would be useful to see what's there right now. – gronostaj Jun 1 '13 at 14:31
  • If you insist... – Samir Jun 1 '13 at 14:34
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    With Adobe Reader XI on Windows 7 I have a PDF tab in the file properties which shows this information. – David Marshall Jun 1 '13 at 14:55

Windows doesn't have native support of metadata for every filetype, because there's no general standard of embedding those in files - it always depends on the format used. Various applications can add metadata support for some file formats.

Maybe some PDF reader will install tag support for explorer, Adobe Reader XI doesn't seem to do so.

It's also possible to completely remove metadata support from Windows installation disk with software like RT Se7en Lite, but I guess you'd know if you did it.

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  • Okay. So it does have to do with support for such feature in Windows (Explorer or Shell). The whole point with adding tags to a document, from my perspective, is to make it searchable. But then... how do you do a system wide search for file tags if Windows doesn't support reading such tags? – Samir Jun 1 '13 at 14:52
  • Well, "system wide tag search" is actually a "system wide supported tag search". – gronostaj Jun 1 '13 at 15:31
  • I accept your answer. Because it answers my question. So I now have to figure out how to enable this feature in Windows, right? If I manage to get that PDF tab in the file properties dialog, will I be able to do PDF searches based on their tags? Like do a search for *.pdf and select tags like invoice? Can I do that in Windows Explorer or do I need a dedicated software for this? – Samir Jun 1 '13 at 15:43
  • As far as I remember tag search should Just Work(tm) as soon as you get that tab to work as you want. I can't try it myself, because it turns out those details don't show up for me too. – gronostaj Jun 1 '13 at 16:06
  • I don't understand why such information should be embedded within the file. the OS could store that data somewhere else and have a underlying link to that file, so even if it renamed or changed it doesn't matter since every created file has an ID probably the OS assigns to it on creation – vsync Sep 20 '18 at 9:00

I have the same issue and, after scratching my head for weeks looking for a solution, I wrote an Explorer extension myself.

Take a look here: http://coolsoft.altervista.org/pdfpropertyextension

It's a really lightweight Explorer extension that will bring Author, Title (and other) columns back for PDF files.

And it's free..., I wonder why Adobe & C. still don't have it ;)

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  • Excellent, because it makes Window's Explorer do the work, which is what we wanted in the first place. – Iktys Apr 10 '15 at 0:03
  • @CoolSoft Brilliant software, thanks :) Curious, why you did not include the 'Pages' attributes as well? Did you design the software on purpose or where there additional overheads? – Rahul Jul 30 '15 at 11:31

This tool enables editing metadata on any file type in windows https://filemeta.codeplex.com/

After installation, you pick extension you want to enable meta data editing and bam, it's there in File Explorer enter image description here

From the website

It is pretty clear that Microsoft originally intended to ship a broader capability. What this package does is wire together pieces that were built into Windows in readiness, but never joined up: it connects Explorer's ability to see and edit metadata with NTFS's support for storing property data in an annex to any file, and so allowing metadata to be added to files of any type. And because Windows Search uses the same property system hooks as Explorer, you can also search using this metadata, both in Explorer and from the Start Menu (or Search charm). That all this takes just a 17K DLL (64-bit, release build) and some registry settings tells you how close Microsoft got.

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    Can windows search understand these tags and lookup the files with tags I type for searching? – vsync Sep 20 '18 at 9:01

Make a shorcut of your file. This will admit some metadata such as: tags, comments...

Right click on the .PDF > Properties > Shortcut > comments

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I had the same problem but got the solution today from a forum in the following link: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-files/how-do-i-add-tags-to-pdf-and-txt-files/203b60ca-b773-4931-85ad-a5e67656d6ce

I am using the trial version of the software recommended which work well.

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Here they have the solution.


You download the iFilter from Adobe


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    External links can break, in which case your answer would have no value. Please include the essential information in your answer and use the link for attribution and further information. – fixer1234 Apr 29 '15 at 1:47

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