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How do I insert line breaks in the IPTC caption field?

Posted on 2013-11-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-08
Dear experts

I've started adding IPTC metadata to all my pictures taken with my DSLR camera.  I use the caption field to add a description about the picture and then use Photoshop to adjust the color/contrast etc.

The problem is that all line breaks are ignored, which makes the captions/comments difficult to read when viewed on Picasa, Flickr or on mobile phones.

I use Geosetter, which is a fantastic program for adding data to a picture, but also Breeze Browser Pro, but to no avail.

What I can't understand is that I was able to add line breaks on one picture, but I can't remember how I managed to do that.

Please have a look at my attached pictures:
hk.jpg has no line breaks
petronas.jpg has line breaks.

Any ideas on how to add text in the caption field with line breaks?

Thanks for your help.

Question by:Massimo Scola
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Expert Comment

by:Christopher Jay Wolff
ID: 39619844
Could it be that you did it in Photoshop Lightroom as described here under Large Caption...

This is another description of how to add line breaks using Lightroom for multi-line captions. Option+Enter for Mac, and Cntl+Return for PC.  The post is small, about 3 sentences, dated October 11, 2011, about 3/4s of the way down the page here...

And here is a really nice animated slideshow covering xmp editing in general for Adobe...

The opening paragraphs here, help understand editing metadata with different file formats.

I hear Adobe is working with industry players to get XMP approved by ISO as standard.

Please let us know if any of this helped.
LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39620140
I see line breaks in both. I'm using IrfanView to view the IPTC info. Here are a few screenshots showing it in <hk.jpg>:
HK1 IPTCHK2 IPTCHK3 IPTCAs you can see, line breaks (pointed to by the red arrows) are showing up fine. Same is true in <petronas.jpg>. Regards, Joe

Author Comment

by:Massimo Scola
ID: 39620159
Hi Chris

I had a closer look with ExifTool and I noticed that the title is stored in the sidecard, the caption is saved in the NEF file. Is that a problem?  I don't use Lightroom. At least, not yet ..
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Author Comment

by:Massimo Scola
ID: 39620166
Hi Joe

Yes they look fine but. But Picasa/Flickr etc ignore the line break in hk.jpg
LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 1000 total points
ID: 39620365
Hi Massimo,

Could be a Picasa/Flickr problem. Even Windows Explorer has the line breaks. Doing a Copy (Ctrl-C) via Properties>Details>Subject and then a Paste (Ctrl-V) into a text editor gives this, with the line breaks:

Hong Kong International Airport (IATA: HKG, ICAO: VHHH) is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which is largely reclaimed for the construction of the airport itself. The airport is also colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport, to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.

The airport has been commercially operational since 1998, replacing the former Kai Tak Airport, and is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with over 40 destinations) and the rest of Asia. The airport is currently the worlds busiest cargo gateway and one of the worlds busiest passenger airports.

The Hong Kong International Airport is also home to one of the worlds largest passenger terminal buildings (the largest when opened in 1998). It is operated by the Airport Authority Hong Kong, 24 hours a day, and is the primary hub for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Air Hong Kong (cargo). The airport is one of the hubs of Oneworld alliance, and it is also one of the hubs of Asian-Pacific cargo hubs for UPS Airlines. It is a focus city for many airlines, including China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines, which serves 18 flights to Hong Kong per day (one direction) from 15 cities. Virgin Atlantic and Air India use Hong Kong as a stopover point for flights respectively from London to Sydney as well as from India to Osaka and Seoul.

HKIA is an important contributor to Hong Kongs economy, with approximately 60,000 employees. About 90 airlines operate flights from the airport to over 150 cities across the globe. In 2012 HKIA handled 56,057,751 passengers, making it the 12th busiest airport worldwide by passenger traffic. It also surpassed Memphis International Airport to become the worlds busiest airport by cargo traffic.

Same happens with <petronas.jpg>.

Anyway, the usual technique for entering a new line is Ctrl-Enter (rather than just Enter). Try that with the programs you've been using to see if the line breaks then appear in Picasa/Flickr. If not, try writing the IPTC info with IrfanView, which I know accepts the Ctrl-Enter sequence. Then see if it works at Picasa/Flickr (I'd try it for you, but I don't use either site). If you don't already have IrfanView installed, you may find it (free!) here:

Click the Download link on the left to download IrfanView and click the PlugIns link on the left to download the PlugIns, which are needed to give you PDF capability (it's optional...only if you want PDF support...and the other features that come with the PlugIns). Install IrfanView first, then install the PlugIns. Although I recommend adding the PlugIns to get PDF support, that's for general, future usage. For this situation, you don't need it, as IrfanView will handle your JPG files directly.

After opening the photo in IrfanView, click the "Image information" icon on the toolbar (or select the Image menu, then Information). You will get a properties dialog an "IPTC info" button in the lower left. When you click that, you'll see your description in the Caption field. It will likely look fine as is, but I suggest deleting the current line break characters and replacing them with Ctrl-Enter characters.

Btw, that is an awesome photo of the Petronas Towers. I love it! Regards, Joe

Accepted Solution

Christopher Jay Wolff earned 1000 total points
ID: 39620746
Hi Massimo.

Maybe the problem is with Picasa/Flickr like Joe was thinking.  This old excerpt from staff at Flicker demonstrates that it isn't always your photo's fault when you miss line breaks.  Evidently it has been a recurring problem over years.  Doing a search in their help forum shows their upload feature enters the XMP data wrong sometimes over the years of updating.  Other forums for Adobe have posts about losing line breaks also.  Oddly, others with the same software have success.

Excerpt from Flickr forum staff member.

I wanted to clarify, the reason I posted the Adobe stuff is because they are pushing the standards, and because you mentioned you have Photoshop.  The animated slideshow I posted above from Adobe says you can edit your data in any of the CS programs, including using Photoshop with the File Info dialogue box and they show a picture. I thought as long as you mentioned you edit some in Photoshop, you might be able to save some steps and edit your data in Photoshop also.  Don't know what version you have though.  Start the show from the link and hit "3" and see how it looks.  The photoshop I have at my disposal is too old.

My understanding is the camera generated technical data about a photo, is your Exchangeable Image File (ExIF) data that goes into your raw NEF.  The human data added about a photo is stored in the sidecar for raw proprietary formats that don't have the reserved spaces for XMP data to be saved in them.  File formats like JPEG, TIFF, and PSD have the reserved spots so XMP data doesn't have to be saved in a sidecar.  It goes with the photo.  How your caption is shown to be in the NEF doesn't make sense based on what I'm reading since I don't have a Nikon.  Maybe your camera is new enough they've added XMP compatibility to NEF.  Anyway, I'm sure you save your NEF files, so since you have Photoshop, why not just open your NEFs in Photoshop and Save As jpeg or tiff so that you have a format that is XMP compatible?  Then you don't have to deal with the sidecars.

I would say if the data looks good for your photos on your machine with your apps, any problems you see with your photos out on the internet is probably someone else's conversion problem.

And yes, great photos.


Author Closing Comment

by:Massimo Scola
ID: 39633859
Hello everyone

Sorry for my late reply.

Joe:  tried IrfanView (with the Exif plugin) , which is a great program. I used the CTRL + Enter to create a line break, but they don't show up in Picasa/Flickr.

Chris:  The sidecards don't shop up when accessing the camera/SD card content with Windows Explorer. They are generated as soon as they're imported with Adobe Bridge (or Nikon's own program). Although my camera is very new (Nikon D7100) I do not think that the data is saved any different than with previous versions of Nikon's cameras.

The text is saved correctly as the line breaks do show up in other programs (I tried ACDSEE), so it has to be Picasa. I will continue to add the IPTC data to all my pictures. Hopefully, one day, Picasa will format/display the data the way it is supposed to be: with line breaks.

I'm not a pro photographer like some of you (I assume). I have fun taking pictures, retouch them and add/correct the other data (gps/caption).

Thanks a lot for your help and for the compliments. They were taken during my last holiday to Asia. :-)

LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39633989
Thanks for the follow-up. Good to know that it's a Picasa/Flickr problem and not a problem with the actual IPTC text.

I'm a big fan of skyscrapers and am very impressed with your photo of the Petronas Towers. It's better than any photo I've seen anywhere on the web. Congratulations on a fantastic shot! Regards, Joe

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