How to Use Tags to Organize Files and Folders in macOS

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In macOS, tags provide you with an alternative way to organize your files and folders, and can make items in Finder easier to locate. To tag a file in Finder, simply right-click (or Ctrl-click) it and select one of the colored tags in the dropdown menu.


    Alternatively, click on Tags... in the same dropdown menu, type in a custom name for a tag, press Enter, and a new tag will be created automatically, ready to be applied again from the dropdown.

    Click here to

    Article Link: How to Use Tags to Organize Files and Folders in macOS
  2. Steeley macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2011
  3. Peeetski macrumors member


    May 14, 2014
    I really can’t get into tags. I wish they hadn’t replaced the old labels with them, they were way more helpful I reckon.
    (I appreciate the tips though, thanks!)
  4. Blackstick macrumors 6502


    Aug 11, 2014
    Sunny South Florida
    Back in the good ole days when Apple actually cared about macOS, tags were labels

    I rather preferred it that way.
  5. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    not mentioned in the article but helpful as well (at least for me personally)—

    you can apply multiple tags to the same file.
  6. Guy Clark Suspended

    Guy Clark

    Nov 28, 2013
    London United Kingdom.
    I don't think its a case of not caring more a case of the minimalistic approach to macOS these days. The quality period of Snow Leopard is long gone
  7. opeter macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
    Slovenia, EU
    Absolutely. Remember the good old days ...

    ... and:
  8. tardegrade macrumors regular


    Jan 14, 2009
    Devon, UK.
    Keep going with these articles. They might be simple things, but sometimes it's good to be reminded about something that you've forgotten about.

    Case in point, my file system is a disaster at the moment. And a few tags will be helpful until I get around to sorting it out.
  9. unobtainium macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2011
    Tags always end up getting so messy.
  10. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    Can you search tags with complex criteria? Example: red or blue tag, and green tag, but no yellow tag, image file, with “project” in the name.
    Can you save commonly used complex searches?
    Can you nest tags under other tags like in evernote?

    I’ve always wanted to use Mac tags but I fear it’s too limited for my needs.
  11. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

    Mar 4, 2003
    What’s lacking is tag support in Mail. Tags in the file system are fantastic, but it would be so much more valuable if we could tag more than files. It gives an organizational structure beyond the folder heirarchy.
  12. stoopkidblues macrumors 6502


    Mar 21, 2014
    Tags would be even better if they worked correctly with 3rd-party apps in the Files app. Looking at you Box for one.
  13. chucker23n1 macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2014




    I don't believe so. Nor am I sure that kind of complexity would be a good idea.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 11, 2018 ---
    I hear MailTags works OK.
  14. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    Wow! This is super useful. As I start using iCloud Drive more, I'm dipping into using tags a bit more regularly -- but it really takes some effort as I've got years and years of folder-based organization habits.
  15. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    If only, the tag can be used and searched in external drives. If only, there is a way to search external drive files.
  16. Steeley macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2011
    Yeah, I can see that point of view, but personally I wouldn't mind nested tags.

    One of the tags I always use is the year. Right now I've got years 2013-2018 as tags (but only show 2018 in the Finder sidebar). When you view all tags it's more complicated than it needs to be. If I could have a master tag called Year that I can hide all my years tags under, that'd make it neater for navigating. I'd never actually tag anything with that master "Year" tag.
  17. dave61 macrumors member


    Jun 2, 2010
  18. subjonas macrumors 68000

    Feb 10, 2014
    Thank you for those answers and visuals. Very appreciated and good to know.
    I do like using nested tags in both evernote and Gmail. It helps me keeps my tags organized, and saves a little effort because when I apply a nested tag it automatically applies its parent tags.
  19. chucker23n1 macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2014
    Ah, yes. My concern is twofold: one, it already seems too complicated for people to actually use (people in this thread seem to clamor for a return to the previous simpler labels, and I find myself also not using this in practice), and two, the definition seems ambiguous.

    In your case, it seems to be merely about making groups of tags?

    But the meaning could also be: if a subtag is checked, the parent tag is also checked. But if so, does it get checked explicitly or implicitly? Or does checking the parent tag first check all child tags, and then you can selectively uncheck? Does it AND-combine or OR-combine?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2018 ---
    Interesting. Yeah, maybe Apple could take another stab at this.
  20. Steeley macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2011
    Yeah just grouping tags for me. And good point, it’s not as simple as it sounds in my head.

    For me I use tags in place of filing because tags let me hold files in multiple places. I keep two folders - an @InBox where all my files yet to be named and tagged sit and a @tagged & filed folder where the finished product sits. Pretty simple. Works for me.
  21. WoodpeckerBaby macrumors regular


    Aug 17, 2016
  22. Vjosullivan macrumors 6502


    Oct 21, 2013
    Life is too short to go around doing this to all your files.
  23. dave61 macrumors member


    Jun 2, 2010
    Start by tagging new files. There is a box in the Save dialogue.
  24. Anksri macrumors newbie


    Apr 4, 2018
    You can add multiple tags to any file.

    • Tag an open file: Hold the pointer to the right of the document title, click the arrow, click in the Tags field, then enter a new tag, or choose one from the list.

    • Tag a new file when you save it: Click File > Save. In the Save dialog, click in the Tags field, then enter a new tag, or choose one from the list.

    • Tag a file on the desktop or in the Finder: Select the item, then open the File menu. You can also Control-click the item, or tap it with two fingers. Choose a color [​IMG] below Tags, or click Tags to choose from more tags or enter a new tag.

      In a Finder window, you can also select the item, click the Tags button,[​IMG] then enter a new tag, or choose one from the list.
  25. Cfiorini macrumors newbie


    Oct 8, 2018

    Hi you know if it's works in shared folder ? I've tried but i can't find the soluction.

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