Description Column - how to expand size limit (for amount of text edited)


I'm a Directory Opus newbie and have started using the Description column and am looking for help with:.

  1. It looks like there is a size limit on the amount of text that can be entered into this field. Is there any way I can increae its size (not its width!)?
  2. How do I edit the text I've already entered? My file structure is NFTS.

My thanks in advance for your help and advice.

I don't think the size limit can be increased. It's only really intended for short notes, and there isn't a good way to display a really long description (although a script add-in could do something, I guess).

Existing descriptions can be edited the same ways as they were initially set, either via the metadata panel or Properties > Description on the default toolbars.

(This is for descriptions set within Opus, also called User Comments. The Description column can also show other information, as it combines various data into one summary. So if you can't edit an existing description, it may be because the data is coming from something else. Exact details will depend on the file type. There's also a User Comment column which shows only that.)

Thanks for your quick reply. I very much appreciate it.

However, I think you can extend the size. I have a vague memory of reading a forum post that discussed this. Since I was a newbie, I didn't quite understand it. Unfortunately, I must not have bookmarked the post and now I can't find it.

Also, I'm pretty sure I remember reading posts saying you can edit descriptions. As I understand it, descriptions are stored in text files (filenamewhatever.txt, I assume) in a special/hidden(?) folder. The problem is that your ability to access these files depends on if your file system is NTFS or FAT32. A Directory Opus setting needs to be set accordingly.

I have NTFS and I thought I changed the relevant D/O setting to this. However, my description files are not visible. If anyone has any suggestions about this I would be grateful.

Thanks again for your input.

I found this in 'Help' under File Operations > File Descriptions. Looks like the answer to my question is here

Descriptions //

File Descriptions are a user-defined string that can be assigned to a file or folder, often used to keep notes about the file contents. Unfortunately Windows does not provide a standardised system for adding a user-defined description to files and folders. Opus does allow you to do this, and provides two different mechanisms for storing these descriptions:

  • The descript.ion system is an old, pseudo-standard, that saves all the descriptions for the items in a folder to a separate file (called "descript.ion") in the same folder. You can enable support for this system using the option on the Folders / Folder Behaviour page in Preferences.
  • The NTFS comments system uses the Alternate Data Stream feature of the NTFS file system to store the description for a file in a separate data stream attached to the file.

You can, via the two methods I mentioned.

If you’re talking about editing them from outside of Opus, it’ll depend on the type of file how that is done.

Description for what type of files?

I see that now.

The files in questions are invariably PDF files. Most of the others are EPUB with a few being Microsoft Word documents.

In the 'Help' manual under FILE OPERATIONS > FILE DESCRIPTIONS, there is the following:

File Descriptions //

  • Using the Metadata Pane or the Set Metadata dialog. These let you edit the description for selected files using the Comment field in the Extended Properties category.

Does this mean that the Content field/column is the same as the Description field/column? I was hoping to use the Content field to store the hyperlinks of Internet I download.

From the above 'Help' extract it looks very much like they are the same.

Answered in your other thread, I think:

My mistake!!!

So I'm back where I started: How do I get past the 260 character limit for Descriptions? Here is a post from 2007 [260 character limit to description]([Same effect as Ctrl+Tab

Smalis: Even though I have set the width of my description field to 400 (or more) characters, the "Set Description" dialog only accepts the first 260 characters, and then won't let me input any more characters. Is there a way to have a longer description field? (I use the field to describe the holdings of legal cases that are saved as files, and often need more than 260 characters to do this).

Leo: You can work around the limit by editing the descript.ion file directly. I just tested this and Opus will display descriptions which are longer than 256 characters even though the Set Description dialog won't let you type them.

Depending on your configuration the descript.ion files may be hidden from view. A descript.ion file will exist in the directory once at least one file has a description of some kind. It's a very simple text format so you can edit it using any plain-text editor, such as NotePad. (Don't use anything like Word, of course.)

In Preferences > Folders > Folder Behavior - I have activatedUse ‘description’ file comments system instead of NTFS comments’ and deactivatedHide ‘description’ comments files when marked as Hidden’.

When I then open descript.ion with a text editor (TextEditPlus) the content is only the title of the files to which I have entered a description with ‘Set Description’. Here are the first few lines of descrip.ion:

<encoding#> UTF-8

"Carving and Folding by the Book in Early Modern Europe - Krohn.pdf" The period 1500-1800 saw the publication of a number of manuals and handbooks containing instructions for carving meat and fruit on the table, and folding napkins and other linens. These books contain information on otherwise invisible aspects of material and . [277 characters with spaces and 329 characters with spaces as calculated by Microsoft Word word count]

"Eastwood’s Brawn and Einstein’s Brain An Evolutionary Account of Dominance, Prestige, and Precarious Manhood - Winegard.pdf" Researchers have theorized that manhood is a precarious social status that requires effort to achieve. [197 characters with spaces and 227 characters with spaces as calculated by Microsoft Word word count]

"Person reference and democratization in British English – Palander Collin.pdf" This article explores the interrelatedness of societal changes and changes in language [145 characters with spaces and 167 characters with spaces as calculated by Microsoft Word word count]

I imagine I could add to these entries through Text Edit Plus or a similar text editor, but I would prefer to have a separate text file containing abstracts and extracts for each boor or article I have downloaded as a file.

Am I to understand that all descriptions are stored in one text file rather than each file (pdf, EPUB etc.) having its own text description file?

Is there no way of exceeding what I understand to be the D/O 260 word limit for file descriptions using Set Description?

Thanks for all the help provided so far. I very much appreciate it.

ExifTool can write more than 260 characters and even supports line breaks.


exiftool.exe -escapeC -UserComment="Liber ignotus in manu mea iacet, paginae plenae arcana et mysteria. In silvis antiquis erravi, ubi susurrus venti loquebatur lingua arborum. Nocte stellis coronata, umbrae secreta revelabantur. Iter per vias obscuras, lumina astrorum ducebant. Vox avium, cantus rivorum, omnia mysteria aperiebantur. Tempus et spatium inter se coibant, formam mutabant. Sic pergit vita, continuum mirabile iter in aeternitatem.\r\n\r\nThese were already over 400 characters. And now there's even line breaks!" {filepath}

Opus seems to handle long comments well, but other software may behave differently. I would be reluctant to invest a significant amount of time adding comments to files like this. Instead, I would opt to play it safe and store text in separate .txt files.

Apologies for taking so long to get back to you and thanks for your suggestion. I've been too busy with other things to pursue this presently.

The software looks a little daunting, but I'll give it a go soon.

Thanks again.