How to add comments/descriptions to files and folders

Video guide:

Much of the information below was covered in the Opus highlights video (link should go to 4m32s where the appropriate section begins).

Setting descriptions on files:

See File Descriptions in the Opus manual for a good guide.

Showing descriptions in columns:

To see the comments/descriptions in listers, turn on either the Description or User Description columns.

The User Description column only shows these descriptions, while the more general Description column shows them in addition to other information about each file (e.g. image types and dimensions).

You can control which information the Description column shows via Preferences / Miscellaneous / Advanced: desc_show_info.

Showing descriptions in Info Tips (file tooltips):

You can add the descriptions to the Info Tip that is displayed when you hover the mouse over a file, if you like.

For example, go to Settings / File Types, select All files from the list and click Edit. Then, on the Info Tip tab, add {desc} to the Info Tip definition.

Note that you will also need to do this separately for any file types that have an Info Tip defined -- although by default nothing does except the items listed in File Type Groups. For example, under File Type Groups, locate the Documents entry and do the same thing for that to add descriptions to document Info Tips.

How to add Thumbnails to InfoTips has more detailed instructions on editing Info Tips.

Where descriptions are stored:

  • Some file types can store descriptions inside their own tag format, which Opus will use if it can understand it.

For other file formats, descriptions need to be stored externally, and Opus supports two methods:

  • NTFS metadata, which hides the descriptions inside the filesystem. This is used by Windows itself in places. It is more tidy, but only works with NTFS drives.

  • descript.ion files, where there is a file called descript.ion in the same folder, containing descriptions of the files in that folder. This is an older standard which some other tools also support. It works with any type of drive, but you end up with an extra file sitting around. (You can configure Opus to hide the file, of course.)

You can use Preferences / Folders / Folder Behaviour / Use 'descript.ion' file comments system instead of NTFS comments to change which of the two methods is used.

Note that the metadata can be lost when files are edited or copied, depending on how the tool editing or copying them does things.

In Opus, if you want descriptions preserved when copying, you may wish to turn on both Preferences / File Operations / Copy Attributes / Copy metadata (comments, keywords, etc) and (in the same place) Preserve the descriptions of copied files. Note that turning these on will incur a slight hit to file-copy performance when copying lots of small files.