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exifdate -- Using exif data date information to rename digital camera .jpg files

Over the years I have tried various ways of sorting and archiving the images from my digital camera. I started by creating folders with different categories and moved them in there. I used a software to add key words that can be searched. Finally I abandoned all those complicated ways of sorting images because I never find anything when I need it. Since several years I am now archiving them by date and time. That works really well. We all remember if we took an image in summer or winter. We remember roughly the date of a given event.

This makes it easy to find images again. All the images are sorted chronologically in time order. Easy!

I create folder for each month like this:
and I move all images into their respective folders. Inside the folders I re-name the image files such that they contain date and time in their names. There are a few programs available which rename your photos automatically and provide consistent naming accross different camera types.


This re-naming of individual image files can be done automatically with a little perl script called exiftimestamp (download at the end of this article). The script reads the exif information out of the images. One of those fields in the exif information contain a time stamp. This information is then used to re-name the file.

I download the images from the camera into some temporary folder. This is where I rename them. After that I review them and move them into their final folders.

This works really well. exiftimestamp is a little perl script that will run on Linux and the Mac. It is probably possible to port it to windows but I have not tried that.

exiftimestamp is expecially useful if you have more than one camera with you as pictures taken on different cameras around the same time will appear next to each other.


exifdate can be used in exactly the same way as exiftimestamp but it is written in C++ and has no dependency on an extenal library. It is a bit easier to install. It's available for Windows, Linux and Mac. You can use exifdate on the command line or in a graphical environment from the filemanger. Here is how it looks like under Windows:

Just drag-and-drop digital camera photos onto the exifdate icon.

A window pops up and the files are renamed.

Download exifdate and/or exiftimestamp

Exiftimestamp is perl script based on the Image-ExifTool library. It is available for free under the GPL license and can be downloaded from:

Exifdate is written in C++ and available for free under a BSD style license:
The exifdate the package includes pre-compiled executables for Linux, Windows and Mac.
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