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Content Creation Date Sources

File dates come in two varieties:

  1. dates that are part of the file system directory, e.g. file creation date, file modification date, file added date
  2. dates that are embedded in the actual file, e.g. shooting dates, content created dates, track created dates, etc.

If this is news to you, you probably want to read the file date primer before you go on, as this will avoid a lot of confusion & frustration.

Let’s now turn our attention to all the dates that you can use as a starting point for modifying other dates.

The Advanced Date Manipulation action offers you the greatest variety of source dates of any action within A Better Finder Attributes:

You can use the file system’s own file creation date & file modification date. These are simply the dates on which the file was created on the file system and the last time it was modified.

You can also directly use the embedded content creation dates, such as DateTimeOriginal, DateTimeDigitized, Content Creation Date and Media Create Date whose origin is explained in the file date primer.

One source that deserves special attention here is the Composite Content Creation Date, which is also used by the Copy EXIF creation timestamp to file creation date action.

As the name implies, this date is derived from all available sources and simply uses the most appropriate one present.

It is the date that is shown in the Composite column in the file list. In the Advanced date manipulation action, its composition is fixed, but in the Copy EXIF creation timestamp to file creation date, you can choose yourself which dates are used by making the appropriate selections in the For Images: and the For Movies: popup menus.

For images, the best default is to use the DateTimeOriginal and if not present, look for the DateTimeDigitized field.

For movies, you have a choice between Content Creation Date and Media Create Date (which themselves are derived from the most appropriate format-specific fields).

Some image files contain a TIFF Create Date and some movie formats such as .mov contain a QuickTime Create Date.

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