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Shotwell stores the following information in its own database: tag, title, rating, event and photo transformation (have I missed anything?). It also has the option to "Write tags, titles, and other metadata to photo files".

If I select this option, is all of the metadata stored in the file? If not, which metadata is not stored in the file?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Based on this page on their wiki, it appears that Shotwell can only write keywords, titles, ratings, and orientation. I've used all these and I don't know of any other user modifiable fields (besides adjusting date & time) that Shotwell can do. It looks like all the metadata that Shotwell can modify is written to the original file, if you enable that option in the preferences.

Here is another page from their wiki in which they are looking at metadata and interoperability with other programs and services. If any other fields become user-modifiable, they will probably be documented there first.

There is at least one Shotwell developer here using Ask Ubuntu, and you will probably get a more definitive answer soon. It looks like the original wording you quoted in your question just included a catch-all term that was not specific enough.

tl/dr YES, Any metadata you edit with Shotwell is written to the file, as of the current version.

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so events are not added to the metadata? – d3vid Dec 14 '11 at 7:43
The 'Events' column on the left is just how Shotwell displays the files, it allows you to browse files chronologically. It may or may not match your folder hierarchy on your drive, depending on the preferences you set and when you imported photos. Those items (2011, or December, for example) are not written to the file. They aren't EXIF metadata. It's just how Shotwell displays the files. It is written to the Shotwell database, though. If you update your question to include 'events' I can add this to my answer, to make it clearer. – Tom Brossman Dec 14 '11 at 9:48
that answers it for me, thanks! – d3vid Dec 14 '11 at 10:26
It's a pity that Shotwell does not store events inside the file, e.g., XMP label. All effort invested in sorting pictures into events risks being lost when changing software. – user1202136 Jul 15 '14 at 20:58

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