Vimiv provides optional metadata support. If enabled, then:

  1. The :metadata command and the corresponding i-keybinding is available. It displays the metadata of the current image.

  2. The {exif-date-time} statusbar module is available. It displays the Exif creation time of the current image.

  3. Metadata is automatically copied from source to destination when writing images to disk.

Vimiv provides full flexibility to users in terms of what metadata backend to use. Each backend comes with their advantages and disadvantages, and each user has different requirements, as well as different package support. Therefore, vimiv provides metadata backends as independent plugins, that can be loaded as one desires. In addition, users have the ability to extend vimiv’s metadata capabilities using custom plugins, as described in a later section.

Vimiv comes with two default plugins:

  • metadata_piexif is based on piexif

  • metadata_pyexiv2 is based on pyexiv2

In addition, there are the following user metadata plugins available:

Overview of user plugins#

Name Description


Based on gexiv2

Enable Support#

Metadata plugins are loaded as any other vimiv plugin. To enable one of the default plugins, simply list its name in the PLUGINS section of the configuration file. In addition, you need to ensure that the required backend is installed on your system.

To enable a user metadata plugin, first you need to download it, and put it into the plugin folder. Afterwards loading is equivalent to the default plugins.

For more information on how to load plugins, please refer to the plugin section.

If no metadata plugin is specified, vimiv will load one of the two default plugins, if the respective backend is installed. To disable this default behaviour, specify metadata = none in the PLUGINS section.


Default loading may be dropped in a future version. If you rely on metadata support, we recommend to explicitly specify what backend you want.


Multiple metadata plugins can be registered at the same time. If they use distinct keys, the value of both is combined in the output of :metadata.

Comparison of Different Plugins#

In short, metadata_pyexiv2 is much more powerful than metadata_piexif, though the dependencies are also more involved to install.

Comparison of the two libraries#








Exif Support



pyexiv2 can potentially extract more data for the same image

ICMP Support



XMP Suppport



Output Formatting



e.g. FNumber: 63/10 vs FNumber: F6.3

Supported File Types


Many common types

Ease of installation


More complicated

pyexiv2 requires some dependencies including the C++ library exiv2

We recommend to use metadata_pyexiv2 if the installation of pyexiv2 is not too involved on your system and metadata_piexif as a fallback solution or in case you don’t need the full power of pyexiv2 and prefer something more lightweight. Also consider the list of available user metadata plugins.

Customize 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 = someKey,anotherOne,lastOne
keys4 = newKey,oneMore

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, IPTC, or XMP keys.

Piexif uses a simplified form of the key. It does not use the Group.Subgroup prefix, which is present in each of pyexiv2’s keys. However, metadata_piexif automatically does this truncation, if the provided keys are in the long form.

The :metadata-list-keys command provides a list of all valid metadata keys, that the currently loaded metadata plugins can read. This serves as an easy way to see what keys are available in the image.

Create Own Plugins#

One can extend vimiv’s metadata capabilities by creating own metadata plugins. This is useful if you want to use a different metadata backend.

The rough steps are the following:

  1. Create a plugin, that implements the abstract class vimiv.imutils.metadata.MetadataPlugin

    1. Implement all required methods

    2. Optionally, also implement the non-required methods

  2. In the plugin’s init function, register the plugin using vimiv.imutils.metadata.register

Please see the default metadata plugins for an example implementation.