Choosing a metadata style

The information available for viewing and editing in the Description tab is determined by the current metadata style. The default metadata style, Item Description, lets you see and edit a concise description of an item. It shows you a small set of information that is a portion of the item's complete metadata document. This set of information can be published to ArcGIS Online with the item and is available for searching. For many people, this level of detail is sufficient on a daily basis.

If you are a metadata specialist or you want to see or edit more information than is available by default, choose a different metadata style that gives you complete access to the item's metadata. The same description is shown at the top of the page, followed by sections that give you access to the rest of the information under the ArcGIS Metadata heading.

In addition to determining the information available for viewing and editing, the metadata style identifies the metadata standard you are following, the XML schema that can be used to validate an item's metadata for the standard, and how to export metadata to an XML file that is formatted correctly for the standard.

Choose the style of metadata you want to create before you start editing metadata.


If you start creating metadata using one metadata style and later switch to a different style, the pages in the Description tab may change. Information you added before may no longer be visible or accessible with your current metadata style.

  1. Open the Options dialog box for your ArcGIS for Desktop application.
    • In ArcMap, click Customize > ArcMap Options.
    • In ArcCatalog, click Customize > ArcCatalog Options.
    • In ArcGlobe, click Customize > ArcGlobe Options.
    • In ArcScene, click Customize > ArcScene Options.

    The Options dialog box appears.

  2. Click the Metadata tab.
  3. Click the drop-down arrow and click the style of metadata you want to create.

    Choose a metadata style

  4. Click OK.
  5. NoteNote:

    If you're using the Description tab when you choose a new metadata style, you won't immediately see the results of that change. Click another tab in ArcCatalog or the Item Description window, such as the Preview tab, then click the Description tab again for the new metadata style to take effect.

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