Finder Tags

You can use Finder tags to help you organize your files. You can create as many tags as you need, and then assign multiple tags to the same file. You can use them on local files as well as iCloud files. Searches for tags will reveal files across all locations and iCloud apps.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Finder Tags.

Hi, this is Gary with Let's take a look at using Tags in the Finder.

I'm using Mac OS X.9 and I'm going to show you labels. Now there are separate different ways to start off applying labels to a file. So, for instance, I'm going to run TextEdit here and Create a New Document. When I save the document for the first time it will ask me to give a name and a location. But I can also add Tags.

So I've got tags here that correspond to different colors like red, orange, yellow, and green. I've also created some different tags like Project 1, Project 2, and Project 3. We can create a new one for this, like that. It will create this new Test Project here and now when I save it, I'm going to save it in the Home Docs folder. We are going to just call it Test.rtf and save it in there.

So now I've got labels applied to this file I've just saved. If I want to change the tags, add or remove them, I can click here on the name at the top and in addition to be able to rename the file and move it I can also change the tags here.

Of course I can also go into the Finder. If I go into the Finder I look at Home Docs and find this right here, the file I just saved. I can actually go in here, Edit Tags, and I can see the tags that are applied. I can select new ones. I can select or remove these.

If I Get Info, Command I, on the file I can also see the tags up here as well and add or remove them there too.

Now if I want to see all the files that have that tag applied to it I can look at the left sidebar here and I can see under Tags a list of all the tags. I can click on this one and it basically is giving me a search for that particular tag. You can also just do a basic search here. So I can go back up to my Documents folder, Command F, and you can see it is automatically going to figure out that there is a tag there that has got that name. I can do a search there. So I can do a regular search or use these sidebar items to quickly search.

Now the advantages to using these tags is that you can assign more than one tag to a file. So I can go into this file here and I can assign several different ones. So, for instance, say I'm a photographer and I've got a folder full of files and I'm using the same photo for a couple different projects, I can assign them different tags. However that photo can only be in one location on my drive. So in the past I may have made several copies of that photo and put it in several different folders to represent several different projects.

But now I can put it in one folders, called say photos or something like that, and then assign it to several different tags and then I can search by tag and see which files I am using for that particular project. So it allows you to put a file in more than one place at one time, at least mentally, while it remains actually physically just in one place on the drive.

Another great thing is that tags will go across both iCloud and on my Mac files which before it was hard to actually do that. It is actually looking in both places at once. I can create a new document in TextEdit here and I'm going to save it, and assign to it Test Project. I'm going to save it here in iCloud. So that first test file was tagged Test Project and it was saved on the drive in my Documents folder. This one is going to be saved in iCloud.

So now I can open up a new Finder window and look for that tag here and I can see both files. On the path bar below I can see that this on is in my Documents folder and this one is in iCloud. I can even delete the iCloud file from here, which you couldn't do before. You had to go into the open dialogue for TextEdit. I can also combine files. So I can add the Pages and the Numbers and the Keynote file and the TextEdit file and tag them all as part of this project. When I search for it I can see all of those together even though they are in iCloud and normally I would only be able to see them in their individual places.

So Tags really makes iCloud storage that much more useful because you can start to use groups of iCloud files together.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Finder Tags”

    David Christensen
    5 years ago

    I love the tags and the new finder. Your video helped me get started. But let’s say I want to put a tag on all of one file type. Let’s say m4v files. Can I tag a file type so they will all be tagged and any new file with that extention in put on my machine will be automatically tagged like all m4v? Thank you for your time. David Christensen

      5 years ago

      There’s no easy way to do that, and you wouldn’t want to anyway. You can already search for those files easily — just search for files of that type, or search for “.m4v” in the name. No need for tags.

    5 years ago

    Appreciate your making the video. I still don’t get it! I don’t see how they provide any advantage over folders and aliases.

    You mentioned the photographer having a photo that would be used for several projects and that, in the past, he’d have to save it to multiple folders. Well, the Mac OS has had aliases since, what? … OS 7??

    Those were a brilliant introduction and meant one just parked aliases (pointers) in different folders. Any ideas on giving me a Eureka breakthrough? :-)

      5 years ago

      OK, so say you make presentations. You makes lots of presentations, because that is your business. You tag some as “inspirational” and others as “marketing” and others as: “technical,” “manufacturing,” “retail,” etc. Some tags can be related to subject, others to tone, others to audience, etc.
      Then when you want to see all of your presentations that are inspirational and related to retail, you can search for those two tags.
      Another example: suppose you are an illustrator. You can make tags like: cartoon, person, outdoors, indoors, face, animal, etc. Are you going to create all of those folders in advance? And then when you do an illustration of a person walking a dog outside are you going to make aliases for it three times in three different folders?

    5 years ago

    Excellent video. The video shows the value of tags. Thanks

    Valerie Guenther
    5 years ago

    Thanks for the video. It will be a chore going through my files and tagging them but I see the long term value!

Comments Closed.