Vimiv provides optional exif support if either pyexiv2 or piexif is available. If this is the case:

  1. Exif metadata is automatically copied from source to destination when writing images to disk.

  2. The :metadata command and the corresponding i-keybinding is available.

  3. The {exif-date-time} statusbar module is available.


There are multiple packages named pyexiv2. Make sure you install the right one.

Advantages of the different exif libraries

Pyexiv2 is the more powerful of the two options. One large advantage is that it supports not only JPEG and TIFF images, but most common file types. In addition, with pyexiv2 :metadata formats exif data into human readable format, for example FocalLength: 5.0 mm where piexif would only give FocalLength: 5.0. However, given it is written as python bindings to the c++ api of exiv2, the installation is more involved compared to the pure python piexif module.

We recommend to use pyexiv2 if the installation is not too involved on your system and piexif as a fallback solution or in case you don’t need the full power of pyexiv2 and prefer something more lightweight.

Moving from piexif to pyexiv2

As pyexiv2 is the more powerful option compared to piexif, vimiv will prefer pyexiv2 over piexif. Therefore, to switch to pyexiv2 simply install it on your system and vimiv will use it automatically. If you have defined custom metadata sets in your config, you may have to adjust them to use the full path to any key. See the next section for more information on this.

Customizing metadata keysets

You can configure the information displayed by the :metadata command by adding your own key sets to the METADATA section in your configfile like this:

keys2 = Override,Second,Set
keys4 = New,Fourth,Set

where the values must be a comma-separated list of valid metadata keys.

In case you are using pyexiv2 you can find a complete overview of valid keys on the exiv2 webpage. You can choose any of the exif or IPTC keys. It is considered best-practice to use the full path to any key, e.g. Exif.Image.FocalLength, but for convenience the short version of the key, e.g. FocalLength, also works for the keys in Exif.Image or Exif.Photo.

Piexif unfortunately always uses the short form of the key, i.e. everything that comes after the last . character. In case you pass the full path, vimiv will remove everything up to and including the last . character and match only the short form.

You can get a list of valid metadata keys for the current image using the :metadata-list-keys command.