Diffractor is designed to help you get organized with Photos and Videos on your PC using metadata. It can search millions of media items and is fast and lightweight. It understands most file formats and compliments other media applications.
Watch the introductory video below to understand how Diffractor works.
Don't forget to backup regularly, keep your media safe.
Diffractor allows you to type a folder or search query into the address bar. For example, you can type London to search for items tagged with London, having London in their description or Located in London.
By default, Diffractor only searches locations it has indexed. You can define what folders are indexed in the options screen (press F6) under the Indexing section. Some of the index locations can be Windows Libraries or Volume labels. Volume labels can be useful for removable hard drives where drive letters may change.
One or more folders can be searched by defining a specific folder name, for example D:\Users\Zac\Pictures\2015. All items in subfolders can be shown by using the flatten operator **, for example D:\Users\Zac\Pictures\2015\**
You can filter by media type using the @Video, @Audio or @Photo keywords, for example: D:\Users\Zac\Pictures @Photo only shows photos in that folder. D:\Users\Zac\Pictures @Photo or @Video shows photos or videos.
#London searches for items tagged with London in indexed folders. # is used as a tag operator. D:\Users\Zac\Pictures #London searches a single folder for London pictures.
#London #Fireworks shows items tagged both London and Fireworks. #London -#Fireworks shows items tagged London but without fireworks. #London or #Fireworks shows items tagged with London or Fireworks.
May searches for all items from the month May in any year. May 2010 shows all the photos from May 2010. 2010 shows items from the year 2010. Year:2010 shows items with their year propery set to 2010, the year propery is not the same as the created date.
Exposure:1/60 shows items with a 1/60th exposure. ‘Exposure’ here defines a search property scope where you search for a specific type of property. Common property scopes are FNumber, FocalLength, Camera, City etc.
Camera:"Canon EOS 7D" searches for photos taken with a 7D camera. Note the quotes to group text. Another example for an album artist is AlbumArtist:"The Levellers"
@action or @delete will search for "Flag for Action" or "Flag for Delete" items. You can also combine flags in a search. For example: d:\Users\zacw\Pictures @action will search for @action items in a folder.
The secret to getting your photos and videos organized is adding metadata: ratings, tags and locations. Diffractor is the easiest way to add that metadata. It shows you where metadata is missing and allows you to continuously improve your collection.
Some basic steps are listed below to help you get started:
Store your photos and videos in a structured way
A good start is to have a simple folder hierarchy based on date. Diffractor has file management tools to allow copying and moving files quickly. It also has import functions that will copy or move files into a date hierarchy based on created date.
- F9 to import from a drive or folder.
- Control+Shift+C to copy select items to a folder.
- Control+Shift+X to move select items to a folder.
Delete photos that are unwanted
Cut down your workload by removing blurry photos, duplicates or videos of the floor. Consolidating all your photos in a date hierarchy and ordering by time helps to see redundant items. Diffractor can also help you to identify duplicates by showing small markers an any duplicated items.
Give photos a rating
A rating allows you to find favorite photos and videos quickly. You can quickly add a rating in Diffractor by clicking the stars below a shown photo or video. You can also rate multiple selected items from the right click menu.
- Control+5 rates select items 5 stars.
Use tags or keywords
Adopt a simple system of tags that are meaning full to you. Have tags for family members, events and things that are important. Ask yourself who, what, when, where, why and how. Later, you can easily search for combinations of tags by entering them into the search box.
- Control+T to tag selected items
Diffractor makes it quick and easy to add an approximate location, normally the closest town, to photos or videos. Diffractor contains a database of common locations that you can add or search for. If your photo or video already contains GPS information Diffractor will detect its location.
- Control+L to locate select items
Don't forget to backup regularly, keep your media safe.
Metadata is information related to a media file. It may be embedded into the file or contained in a separate associated file.
Diffractor can add or update metadata such as tags, rating, description or location. It can also understand metadata added by your camera. Diffractor has a database to cache these values for faster searching. However, the values are primarily stored in metadata to allow compatibility with other programs.
Where is metadata stored?
Jpeg, Tiff, Png and Gif files have internal EXIF, IPTC and XMP metadata extensions. Raw photos have a separate XMP file similar to Adobe products. MOV, MP4 and MP3 files have standard tags and also include an XMP block. MKV files contain an XMP block, this is not very standard and we plan to support Matroska tags in a future version. AVI files contain an XMP block.
For advanced users, the table below describes the specific metadata fields read or updated by Diffractor:
Frequently asked questions
Supported Operating Systems?
Diffractor is runs on Windows 7, 8 and 10.
Sorry Mac and Linux users. We are a small team and don’t have the resources to support more operating systems at this time. One benefit is that Diffractor is highly optimised for Windows.
Sadly, we needed to drop Windows XP support. Current versions of Diffractor use DirectX 11 features that are not supported on Windows XP.
Why is Diffractor a Windows Desktop App?
Modern digital devices are causing an explosion of digital media. Our research has shown many people still store their master copy of personal photos and videos on a desktop or laptop computer. Although you may view photos and watch videos on a tablet or smart-TV, it is often easier to do the heavy lifting of organizing your collection on that trusty old PC.
Is Diffractor a media player?
Diffractor is designed to help organize photos and videos you have taken. Our goal is to be the fastest way to edit and search photo metadata. Diffractor will play or view most types of media however it misses features you would expect in a media player; for example no support for subtitles.
Diffractor knows about a large number formats. Most common photo formats including raw formats. Also most common video and audio formats. The full list is: aac, 3fr, 3g2, 3gp, ape, arw, asf, asx, avi, bmp, cr2, crw, dc2, dcr, divx, dng, drf, dsc, erf, exr, f4v, fff, flac, flv, gif, hdr, ia, ico, iff, iiq, it, j2c, j2k, jif, jp2, jpe, jpeg, jpg, jpx, k25, kc2, kdc, koa, lbm, m2a, m2p, m2t, m2v, m3u, m4a, m4b, m4p, m4r, m4v, mdc, mef, mka, mkv, mng, mod, mos, mov, mp3, mp4, mp4a, mp4v, mpc, mpe, mpeg, mpeg4, mpg, mrw, mts, mxf, nef, nrw, oga, ogg, ogm, ogv, ogx, orf, pbm, pcd, pct, pcx, pef, pfm, pgm, pic, pict, pls, png, ppm, psd, ptx, pxn, qtk, raf, ras, raw, rdc, rw, rw2, rwz, s3m, sgi, spx, sr2, srf, srw, rwl, sti, targa, tga, thm, tif, tiff, tod, ts, tta, vob, wap, wav, wbm, wbmp, webm, web, wma, wmv, wp, wv, x3f, xbm, xm and xmp.
Where is metadata stored?
Diffractor can add or update metadata such as tags, rating, description or location. It can also understand metadata added by your camera. See metadata for more information.
Diffractor fails to update my file?
Diffractor needs to be conservative when updating metadata in media files. If it finds anything non-standard or corruption it will report an error. This is the safest way to avoid corruption of your important files. If you have a video file or image that fails, you could use the Diffractor convert function, this will re-build the file and normally fix any weirdness.
Does Diffractor perform lossless transformations?
When rotating a jpeg by a factor of 90 degrees Diffractor will perform a lossless transform. When you convert a video to mp4 if the video is already h264 it is losslessly re-multiplexed.
I don’t see my location in the list?
Diffractor allows you to set a location for a photo or video. It has its own database of millions of common locations. This list is limited to towns and cities, so you cannot specify a specific address. The intention is to be a quick way, to add a general location.
Is Diffractor safe?
The Diffractor project does not collect personal information about users. Diffractor does contact a server daily to check for updates. Sponsors have a hash of their email address recorded online.
How can Diffractor find files in a non-standard folder?
Diffractor indexes and searches a standard set of locations on your computer. You can add additional folders in options. Open the options screen using F6; in the Indexing local filesb> section add the additional folder. More information.
I am a registered sponsor; how do I enable more folders?
To tell Diffractor you are a sponsor, in the settings screen and scroll down to the sponsor section. There enter your email address and click verify. More detailed instructions.