Export image data from Canon ZoomBrowser EX 2.2 database

Canon ZoomBrowser EX (ZBE) is an image archiving application delivered with Canon digital cameras. While writing this, newest ZoomBrowser EX version is 4.02.

Older ZoomBrowsers, like version 2.2 included with the first Digital Ixus (PowerShot S100) camera, use a proprietary database (*.ZBD) to save image thumbnails, user comments, and EXIF information. Image processing operations, like rotations, are destructive in ZBE 2.2. That means that the image quality decreases every time when image is rotated. Also all embedded EXIF data (like camera settings) are destroyed from the image file. ZoomBrowser EX stores camera settings and user comments in its own database, so you cannot see that they are destroyed from the file itself.

Because you cannot export information from the ZoomBrowser EX database, you cannot switch to another image archiving program without losing image information: user comments typed in ZBE are hidden in the database and EXIF data (camera settings) have been destroyed from images that have been rotated or edited in ZoomBrowser.

ZoomBrowserEXport tool

ZoomBrowserEXport is a Microsoft Excel 97 macro that extracts the image titles, comments, and camera settings from ZoomBrowser EX 2.2 onto an Excel worksheet. After that you can save the information, for example, in a tab delimited text file. Text files can read without ZoomBrowser EX, so you can then uninstall ZBE completely and switch to another image archiving program without losing access to image information!

ZoomBrowserEXport cannot recover complete EXIF data for the image - it can recover only the information that is available in ZoomBrowser EX "Camera Properties for Image" window. It cannot inject the EXIF data back to the image files either - however, it is possible to build a tool that reads the exported text file and injects the EXIF data back to image files. (If somebody has time to create such tool, please inform me!)

Requirements & download

Download ZoomBrowserEXport for Microsoft Excel 97 (XLS, 43 kB)

CAUTION: ZoomBrowserEXport supports only ZoomBrowser EX version 2.2 (English) on English Windows. However, if you have basic Visual Basic knowledge, you can modify the code to support other ZBE languages and/or other Windows languages (see macro code comments for modification instructions). Do not touch the keyboard or mouse during export process. Backup your ZoomBrowser EX database before trying to use ZoomBrowserEXport - if the tool fails, it may damage ZBE image comments or other information.

Working principle

ZoomBrowserEXport uses SendKeys statement of Visual Basic to control ZoomBrowser EX. It opens the image attributes window and uses copy-paste operations to read image file name, title, and comment into Excel. Then it opens the Camera settings window and reads the information using Windows API call GetWindowText(). Then ZoomBrowserEXport advances the Attributes window to the next selected image and continues until all images selected in ZoomBrowser EX have been processed.

For more information, take a look at the source code in Microsoft Excel Visual Basic editor (ALT+F11).

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