When you take a picture with your digital camera, it saves the picture with some meta information like the camera model, date, location, whether flash was fired etc. This meta information is saved inside the image file in form of meta data using various formats like EXIF, XML, IPTC and so on. While this information could be utterly useless for ordinary users, the professionals can use this information to optimize the pictures and enhance them. Similarly, some of the software suites can fetch this meta information to provide you with extra tools or features. For example, if the geo-location data is saved inside the meta tags, then you some programs can show you the exact location on the world map where you captured a picture.
The ExifTool CLI (command line interface) tool allows you to view and edit this meta information embedded in a wide variety of file types. This tool is developed by Phil Harvey and supports a large number of digital camera makes. It can read many different types of meta data including IPTC, EXIF, GPS and ID3.
Although, you can work your way around the command line tool after some time, this tool has so many options and features that it might take a long time for you to learn all the different ways of using it. Instead you can use the ExifToolGUI to use this easily. ExifToolGUI is the front-end GUI for the command line tool and makes it very convenient to use this tool.
For this, you have to download ExifTool and ExifToolGUI and then extract them in the same folder. You have to rename the exiftool(-k).exe file to exiftool.exe. In the end, you should have this file (exiftool.exe) in the same folder than contains ExifToolGUI.exe as shown in the picture above.
After this, you can just launch the ExifToolGUI and select one of the files to view and edit the meta data inside it. You can very easily edit the meta data from the property sheet interface on the left side. You can even import or export the meta data to an external file. And if you want to run the ExitTool directly, then there is an option for that too.
Conclusion: ExifTool combined with ExifToolGUI is a powerful and convenient solution to quickly view and edit the meta date embedded inside a large variety of file types. It supports EXIF, IPTC, ID3 and many other meta data formats.
You can download ExifTool and ExifToolGUI from http://u88.n24.queensu.ca/~bogdan/.