With numerous music players and libraries, your music collection is likely already mostly organized. However, most players do a horrible job at updating tags or mass changing file names. If you’ve ever used iTunes or Windows Media Player, you know how frustrating it can be when you rip a CD or download music only to discover the tags are wrong. These tags are what your MP3 and desktop music players use to organize your files.
Universal Tag Editor
MP3Tag is known as the universal tag editor. It allows you to edit one or thousands of files at a time. Some of the things you can do with this free program include:
- Changing file properties on one or more music files such as artist, title, disc number, album and genre
- Edit file names based on existing tags with the press of a single button
- Change how file names are displayed (switch from Artist – Title to Title – Artist)
- Delete/clear properties for erroneous tags (files that don’t let you change the properties when you right-click and view Properties)
Download and Install
Start by downloading MP3Tag for free. Follow the prompts to install the software. The defaults are ideal for most any user unless you wish to install the program to a different area on your computer.
Before you can edit files, you have to import them. This will not change your default music player settings or where your files are stored.
Open MP3Tag and click the Change Directory button. All the buttons in MP3Tag are icons. Hover your mouse over any button to see a text description of the button’s purpose.
Navigate to the folder where your music files are stored. You can choose a main folder, such as Music, or a subfolder with a single album or artist. You can also import a single file by selecting the file you want to edit. If you want to edit numerous folders at once, choose the parent folder and ensure the Subdirectories checkbox is checked. Press Select Folder to import your selections.
Wait for the program to read the current tag data, which may take up to a minute depending on the number of files you import.
Now you can edit the file properties and tag information.
Understanding the Interface
The left column of MP3Tag displays information about the file or files you select. Select a file by clicking on it in the right column. Select multiple consecutive files by clicking the first file and then holding the Shift key while clicking the last file. To select non-consecutive files, press the Ctrl key while selecting each file.
Select any field in the left column to edit the information. If you have multiple files selected, any changes you make in a field will be the same for all selected files. For instance, if you select 10 files and change the Album Artist field, all 10 files will reflect the new Album Artist. Press the Save button, directly above the left column, after you make your changes to save them.
The five buttons below allow you to change the file names and tags based upon the existing file name or tags. For instance, if the file names are wrong, but the tags for Artist and Title are correct, you can change the file name by pressing one button instead of manually typing it in.
Select the files you want to change. If you want to change all the files you imported, press Ctrl and A together.
Press the far left, or first, button to change the file name based on the tags. You can customize how the final file name looks in the box that appears.
If you want to see how the changes look first, press Preview. When you’re happy, press Okay to make the change.
The rest of the buttons convert file names as follows: Change tags based on file name, Change file name structure, Change tags based on a text list (must already have a text list on your computer) and Change tag structure. The first three buttons are the most commonly used.
Finally, if you ever make any changes that you don’t like, you can undo them. Press the Undo button, near the Save button, to undo your most recent changes.
Take the time to try each option with one or two test files before renaming or changing your files in bulk to better learn how the program works.