Updating PDF Metadata with the Exiftool by Phil Harvey

Most people don’t bother utilizing PDF metadata which can be crucial from the SEO and web accessibility perspective the minimum. If you are a Windows or a Mac user you can likely edit PDF metadata using one of the following 3 ways:

  1. Right-clicking on the PDF file then going to the properties for the file (e.g. Details tab)
  2. Opening the PDF file within Adobe Acrobat (e.g. go to File | Properties)
  3. Utilizing exiftool by Phil Harvey which makes it easy to do PDF metadata update from a command line

This post goes over the third option above. First thing first, you will need to download the exiftool from https://exiftool.org/. After extracting the zip file place the PDFs you wish to update in the same folder as the exiftool.exe file or add the exiftool.exe to your system path.

Note: On a Windows computer you may want to rename the “exiftool(-k).exe” file to “exiftool.exe” as this will remove the annoying “Press Enter” message every time you run the command.

The command to update the PDF metadata is as follows:

exiftool.exe -q -Title="This is my Title" -Keywords="keyword1,kkeyword2" -Author="My Name Goes Here" -Subject="This is my subject" *.pdf

As you can see all of the available metadata can be updated by utilizing the corresponding command-line arguments.

There you have it. If you are interested in performing these same operations on many PDF files at once in an automated way check out my Cookbook Recipe which does a similar thing (e.g. search for “bulk pdf metadata processing”).

Happy programming.