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file searcher with user-defined metadata columns (Windows)

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Posted by jimspoon
Jan 18, 2021 at 04:48 AM


Is there a Windows file searcher / indexer / manager / cataloger that allows users to add their own metadata fields, edit the data, and use the data to quickly filter a list of files?  It suddenly occurred to me that it would be awesome if there was a file search utility that operated like a spreadsheet for assigning and editing all kinds of metadata.

Voidtools Everything is my go-to file search utility.  It’s very fast and light on system resources.  Unfortunately it indexes only path names, file names, file sizes, etc. and provides only a small selection of columns.  It provides no ability to add, edit, or search user metadata fields.

Windows Search does index the content of files, emails, etc.  And Windows File Explorer can be configured to show many different file metadata columns.  Unfortunately it does not allow a user to add arbitrary fields:values - these are defined as a part of the file type definitions.  For example, if I wanted to add a “Purchase Date” or “Vendor” column, there’s not way for me to do that.

There are some file managers out there (xplorer2, xyplorer, total commander) that allow “programmable” columns.  The value inserted in the column for a given file is determined by a script, based on other properties of the file.  But I haven’t found one that allows the creation of columns based on data entered by the user.

I’ve also tried a file cataloging program called WinCatalog.  Now here I finally have the ability to add user-defined columns and fill it with my own data values.  But it choked when I tried to index a very large number of files and search on the catalog.

Since the user-defined data fields and values I’m looking for have not made it into the Windows file system, I’ve thought a better solution might be to use my information manager of choice, which is Infoqube.  I could search file items together with non-file items (notes etc.)  With Infoqube I can create as many data fields as I want, and I can easily associate any single file with a single IQ item.  I can assign any field:value combinations I want to each file.  But the linking of files with Infoqube has to be done manually - and there is no way to know which files already have a corresponding Infoqube item, and which do not. 

Any ideas?


Posted by Mark
Jan 18, 2021 at 02:01 PM


My first thought was TagSpaces. I have no experience with it though.



Posted by Lucas
Jan 18, 2021 at 03:07 PM


Good question. Such software would certainly be useful. I’ve used the excellent Tabbles (tabbles.net) for organizing files on Windows, but I think it’s limited to tagging.

As you know, this question has already been discussed at length in this forum:


The only other possibility I’m aware of is the enterprise-oriented software Globodex, although I’ve never used it. For instance, see this article:


From the article: “you can use GLOBODOX to add custom fields such as ‘Verified by’, ‘Amount’, and ‘Client’ to the Invoice document type. When you want to find the invoices as specified above, you can use GLOBODOX’s multi-condition search feature to search for invoice documents by entering the ’Amount’ as less than or equal to $1000, ‘Verified by’ as ‘Joe Smith’, and ‘Client’ as ‘LMN Inc.’ You will find all documents satisfying the criteria in an instant!”

However, being enterprise-oriented software, the price isn’t even listed. You have to contact them.

Alternatively, if all of your documents are Microsoft Office documents, it is easy to add custom properties:



Posted by Achim
Jan 18, 2021 at 06:14 PM



maybe UltraRecall could be worth a try, if you import your files as links. Then you can create arbitrary fields and display them in a grid. Unfortunately no inline editing, this has to be done via input form. But it has a synchronize function and find-as-you-type.

Best regard


Posted by jimspoon
Jan 18, 2021 at 07:19 PM


Thanks all!  I’ve looked at tagging programs a lot.  Although you can filter by tags, you can’t sort on a given attribute by value, which I would like to have.

I haven’t heard of Globodox, I’ll have a look.  I didn’t know you could add custom columns to Office documents, that helps!

It’s been a long time since I looked at Ultra Recall.  I’ll have a look.

Another option - a indexing / search program could use a named Alternate Data Stream to store attribute:value pairs, and these in turn could be used as columns and values.  I haven’t found a program that does that.  I just looked at Directory Opus and Total Commander for that.  Another concern with this is, would the attribute:value pairs be indexed or would a script have to be run anew each time the file list is loaded?  I think it was xyplorer that offered such a scriptable column, but the documentation warned it would be slow.


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