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How do I tag MP3 files with ID3 data using filenames?


ID3 headers contain various useful information about audio files, which includes title, artist, genre, year of publishing, track number, comments, lyrics, album art etc. This information is important if you want to sort your collection, or find a particular song, or create a list of all songs written (or performed) by your favorite artist. Most audio players are able to recognize ID3 data and to show it while playing, so you can see title, artist, and other relevant information on its display.

So, ID3 tags are very handy, especially for large collections. But what if your files don't have them? Would you need to tag MP3 files with ID3 data manually?

There is a better solution. To bring order to your collection with a few clicks, you will need only a powerful ID3 tagger, like mp3Tag Pro.

If the filenames already have necessary information, we can extract ID3 tags from filenames.

Step 1: Download and install the program.

Download mp3Tag Pro to a known location. Run setup and follow its instructions to install the application.

Step 2: Launch mp3Tag Pro. Select MP3 files to tag.

Double-click the desktop icon to start the MP3 tag editor (alternatively you can right-click the folder with audio files in Windows Explorer and select "Edit tags" from context menu).

mp3Tag Pro main window

The upper part of the program together with the left part is a simple file browser. You can either enter path to your files directly in the address field, or navigate to your files like in a usual Windows Explorer window.

Once you have reached the folder with your MP3 files, select the files that you want to tag. To select all files in the folder, use "Select all" button (see the screen shot above). It is also possible to select files one by one by keeping "Ctrl" key pressed and clicking the files that you want to edit.

Finally, click "Generate tags" button.

Select files and click Generate tags

Step 3: Extract ID3 data from filenames.

A new window will appear.

Select a format, preview tags, and click Generate tags

Take a look at the "Format" area in the left upper corner. Here you tell the program how it should read filenames (make sure that "From filenames" is shown in the second drop-down list, like on the screen shot above). I have chosen a pretty complex format string:

%# - %L - %A - %T

What does it mean?

Well, '%' means that the next symbol is a variable (you can also add custom strings). All variables are listed on the right to the "Format" area. You can easily find there, that '%L' refers to the name of the album, '%#' is track number, and so on. As my filenames have the following format: "track number - album - artist - title", - following the pattern, I assemble the string: "%# - %L - %A - %T".

You can use folder names to create ID3 tags, we would need to write %L\%# - %A - %T, if our folder would be the same as the name of the album.

Feel free to experiment with the format string. Results will be shown immediately in the preview area (the lower part of the window).

The most popular format strings are available in the drop-down list. Registered users can create their own presets.

Finally, click "Generate tags" button below to save the newly created tags. The saving process will take some time, as the system needs to overwrite every selected file to supply it with the ID3 headers.

The power of this method is obvious. You can tag thousands of files at once, if their filenames or folder structure follow some rules.

The trial version of mp3Tag Pro doesn't have any limitation that would prevent you from tagging your files using the method above.

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