Change Date Taken on JPG or other picture files

How do I change the Date Taken on old pictures I am scanning in?
I found: Properties > Attributes (or Ctrl-B)
There is a place for: Times > Set Creation Time.
But every time I set this to what I want, it looks like it takes it, but it does NOT change the time on the file.

I would appreciate anyone who can answer this for me. I want my old scanned photos to carry the date they were actually taken.


All files in Windows have three standard timestamps, stored in the filesystem iteself:

  • Creation Time (usually when that copy of the file was created)
  • Modified Time (usually when the file was last edited)
  • Accessed Time (usually meaningless these days)

Image files may have additional timestamps inside the files' data, e.g. as EXIF tags:

  • Date taken (when the photo was taken)
  • Date digitized (when the photo was scanned, if it wasn't originally a digital photo)
  • Possibly others, but those are the main ones.

If you use Set Creation Time, that should set just that one timestamp, which you'd only see if you displayed that timestamp as a column. Is that what you're aiming to do, or are you aiming for another timestamp?

Thank you so much for the detailed info.
What I want is to have scanned photos carry the date I believe they were actually taken. This is mostly so that in my apps (Amazon, Google, and just file manager) when I sort my photos by date, it will be by the date they were taken.
What is the best one for that, that is used by file managers, and Amazon and Google?
And if it is one in the EXIF tags, what is the best way to change those?

For this I would be relying on the metadata Date Taken. File system timestamps are less reliable, as they can change as the files moves around.

I would also set the CreationTime for the file, as this is what's usually displayed
More details of the commands Keywords for SetAttr META

So you could run commands like this

SetAttr META "datetaken:2018-01-18 00:00:01"
SetAttr META createdate:datetaken

This is a little button I use to change the date created on selected file(s).

It sets the creatdate and datetaken files and adds a creation time if it is missing

In may be of some use to you

Change Date Created.dcf (10.2 KB)

Please feel free to amend it your needs

Thank you. This sounds good. I'm sorry, I still need some direction on how to install and use this piece you shared.

This post goes through the basics of how to use buttons and commands from the forum:

With Opus Light, you also need to add a new/empty toolbar to place your custom buttons on, which can be done via Settings > Customize Toolbars.

Leo has given you a link on how to install the button.

To use, simply select the file(s) to have their date changed and press the button. You will be invited to add the new date. Press OK and the dates are changed.

There are a couple of error traps in the macro. If you do not choose a file, you will be warned. If you choose more than one file you will be asked if that is really what you want to do so.

I added this from bitter experience. You can easily mis-select when dealing with large numbers of images in thumbnail mode, and correcting the error is a time-consuming pain.

I hadn't noticed Auden was giving you a button with a script in it before.

That won't work with Opus Light, only Pro.

Apologies, I did not realise you were using Opus Light

I realize the last comment in this conversation was over 3 years ago, but if anyone else is looking for information about changing dates of photos that were scanned, I do not recommend using this button.
Using this button does change the Exif DateTimeOriginal, the XMP CreateDate, and the file Date Created, but photo software such as Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom Classic and Photo Mechanic will not recognize the new date as the date the photo was taken.
I recommend using Adobe Bridge (free). Select photos, right-click and select, 'Edit Capture Time'. That adds the date to a few different metadata fields so the date will be recognized in every photo application I've ever used.

It may depend on the existing metadata / types of metadata in the file, as well as the type of file.

An example input file and exact steps (what to do to the file, then where to look in other software) would be the best information to provide if you think something isn't working as it should.

Type of file: Photo scanners such as Kodak, Epson and Canon generate either TIFF or JPEG files with no Exif metadata. So, as long as it is a JPG or TIFF Image file generated by a scanner, it does not depend on the existing metadata or type of file.

Existing Metadata / Type of Metadata: Scanners (as listed above, and others) do not add Exif Metadata to the files. Scanned photos are always given the date the file was created. If a TIFF file is converted to JPEG, and depending on the application used to convert a TIFF file to JPEG, an Exif ModifyDate may be given to the photo, and the date the file was modified will be added. So, it does not depend on this either.

As I have said before, adding a Date Taken with Directory Opus adds a date to the Exif DateTimeOriginal field only, which is not enough to be recognized as the date a photo was taken by most photo-related software because the software thinks, "This doesn't look right. There should be dates in other Exif fields".

Adding a Date Taken to a scanned photo using Windows File Explore or Adobe Bridge adds a date to more date metadata fields. As a result, photo software thinks, "This look right! There is a date in enough metadata fields that it looks dependable".

I offered my assistance a long time ago, and it was not accepted. I am no longer willing to provide you with any testing data or screenshots. Perhaps another Directory Opus User will be willing to try to convince you.

You never provided any test files in the first place, Meg. That was why your previous thread about a metadata editing issues was locked. You kept posting saying there was a problem and asserting that we should be able to reproduce it without any extra information, and we said we had tried and couldn't reproduce it. We asked, about five times, for you to send us one simple test file and instructions on what to do with it so that we could see the problem you said existed. You kept refusing to do that, while continuing to bump the thread.

If you want us to look at something, please just provide the requested data. If not, don't bring it up at all as it's not helpful to anyone.

(If you mean a different offer of help, I'm not sure what you're referring to.)


We have reproduced this issue with our own files now, and should have a fix for it soon.

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Thank you for improving 'Date Taken'. Different desktop applications write the Date Taken to different metadata fields. Of 9 applications I tested, Directory Opus is the only one that does not add the date to the Exif CreateDate (aka Exif date Digitized Field) and or the XMP Create Date field. For maximum compatibility with different applications, I recommend having Directory Opus write to either the Exif CreateDate or XMP CreateDate field in addition to the Exif ModifyDate field. I hope you looked at the metadata resources I sent to you and Jon.

If you want us to look at a metadata issue, please provide a list of actions to perform which will reproduce it, and a zipped image file to start from (if the actions don’t include how to create a new file from scratch).

Reproduce what 'issue' exactly? It's not an 'issue', it's a fact. I assume you know what metadata fields a date is added to when Directory Opus is used to add a date to the 'Date Taken' field? Are you asking me to prove what fields other software adds the date to?
I did this testing last year, and only just re-tested Directory Opus since you said the date is now written to the Exif ModifyDate field.
Did you get my message with a list of photo date metadata resources? One of them includes a list of the fields Windows File Explorer writes a date to when a Date Taken is added.

The "CreateDate" field is set when setting "Date digitized" in Opus.

Why 2 steps to add good, dependable date metadata when that's not necessary with any other software (that I can think of)? In fact, I can't think of any application that even allows editing of the Exif Created Date/Date Digitized. I suspect that's because when a photo is taken with a camera, the date is added to Exif DateTimeOriginal and Exif CreateDate. If you think Directory Opus should continue to handle photo date metadata differently, I suggest you add you add a pop up to advise people to add or change both Date Taken and Date Digitized.