If you’re a photographer or a creative artist who uses a lot of digital resources, Adobe Bridge is something you should learn. It’s like a much more powerful version of Explorer where you can browse files, organize collections, and edit metadata for project work.
Bridge can be opened directly through Photoshop which allows you to import files quickly. If you don’t do lots of photo editing then this may not seem very useful but it still proves useful when organizing files.
This post will cover a general workflow that you can use to edit metadata in Adobe Bridge. The most common use would be on photographs but you can do anything from MP3s to videos. Bridge is an advanced file browser that can prove immensely helpful if you know how to use it.
Browsing in Bridge
Once you open bridge you’ll need to locate the files you wish to work with. Simply browse to the correct drive and find the folder. You’ll be presented with a series of photos which you can edit or group together for opening in Photoshop.
If you click one of the photos and press the space bar you’ll open fullscreen view. From here you can tap left/right with the arrow keys and get a better view of each photo.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about Bridge is how you can view EXIF data directly in the window. Simply select a photo and find the Metadata Panel. You can view this from Window > Metadata, or by pressing CTRL+F3 for the Metadata layout view.
Some properties cannot be modified but it is possible to change lesser-important EXIF data settings.
Photo Metadata Edits
One of the most powerful techniques in Bridge is the ability to categorize photos based on keywords. At the top of Bridge you’ll find the keywords panel with some pre-built keywords. If you don’t see this simply go to Window > Keywords Panel.
From here you can select any number of prebuilt keywords that ship with Bridge. Admittedly they aren’t great so it’s better to add your own.
Find the small plus icon located in the bottom-right of the Keywords panel and click this to add a new keyword. The other plus icon will create sub-keywords which are related to the original. This way you could organize by year, clients, or specific photo shoots.
Aside from keywords you can also edit specific bits of metadata by customizing what’s viewable. Find the tiny flyout menu in the top-right corner of the Metadata palette and click Preferences.
This will open a new window containing dozens of customizable metadata fields. Check the ones you want to view and uncheck the ones you want to hide.
These metadata points apply to photos, videos, and music files as well. This is why Bridge can sometimes be better than other programs for the sole purpose of manual metadata editing.
Media Metadata Edits
Whether you’re importing fresh MP3 files or editing MP3s from YouTube videos, Bridge is the perfect asset for metadata customization.
Let’s say for instance that we download an MP3 from YouTube and want to add this to our iTunes library. It’s possible to edit metadata from iTunes but why not save some time? Browse to the file location in Bridge and select the MP3. You’ll find blank metadata fields open for editing.
Simply click in any of the fields and start typing. To move onto the next field you can either hit Tab or click the empty space. Eventually you’ll fill out all the needed information and be left with something like this:
To save changes you either need to hit Enter or click somewhere else in Bridge. If you click out of the editor a new popup will appear asking you to confirm changes. Just hit Apply and check the box to not show any future popups.
Now you’re all done! These same metadata effects can be used on photos, videos, Word documents, anything that actually needs metadata. When it comes to detailed file manipulation Adobe Bridge is a great choice.
If you have access to Bridge then why not try it out in your spare time? It may not dramatically improve your Adobe workflow but it can still be useful for batch editing files and reorganizing metadata without the hassle of traditional explorer windows.