HOW  TO  EDIT / ADD / USE  FINDER  TAGS


This section is for OS X Mavericks users only. It shows you how to edit, add and use the new Coloured Tags found in the Finder Sidebar (left window pane). They are used, to some degree, in a similar way to tagging a photo on a Facebook page but instead of tagging by face using a name/keyword a 'Coloured Dot with a Black Title' (collectively known as as a Tag) is placed by the file name of each file (i.e. photo) you tag. In other words, you tell os x mavericks you want a blue dot (blue tag) associated with all your wedding photos and a red dot (red tag) associated with all your movie and music files whereby their titles (tag names) could be Wedding and Audio_Video respectively. You will see what I mean in a minute!


By default you get seven tags, each named after their default colour, which are RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, PURPLE and GRAY. You can add more tags later, and even delete some, but those additional tags will have generic colours. You will not be allowed to create custom colours. You can only choose from the default colours just mentioned.

    

At the moment I have not tagged any of my files, hence why there are no coloured dots (solid circles) next to their file names. I am currently inside a sub-folder called John_ Cairns which is a sub-folder of the PICTURES folder. As you can see; I have five photos of myself, ready for possible tagging.



Fig 1.0  The Finder application window displays the Coloured Tags at the bottom of its sidebar (left window pane)

To tag one of the photo files all I need to do is right click on it, to highlight it and bring up its associated context (options) menu, and then click on one of the coloured tags. In this case the red tag.



Fig 1.1  Right click on a photo file and then select a coloured tag for it

As you hover over a coloured tag the action to be performed, by clicking on that tag, is revealed (Fig 1.1 above). For example, Add Tag "Red" or Remove Tag "Red". Also notice how there are seven coloured tags but only four of them are listed on the context (options) menu. This is because they have been selected, by default, to be Favourite (commonly used) Tags. I will show you how to add and rename tags in a moment, but for now take notice of the way the coloured tag called RED has been applied to the selected photo file - It now has a solid red dot to the left of its file name to denote it has been tagged as RED.



Fig 1.2  The selected photo file has been tagged with the coloured tag called RED

Another way to tag a photo file is to use the EDIT TAGS button. In this next example I will tag another photo file with the coloured tag called GREEN - I first select the photo file by clicking on it. I then click on the EDIT TAGS button and either click on the coloured tag called GREEN or type its name (green) into the EDIT TAGS edit box. Either method will place the coloured tag called GREEN into the EDIT TAGS edit box to denote it has been chosen (Fig 1.3 below). From here I can press the ENTER keyboard key, or click away from the EDIT TAGS edit box and requester, to apply the coloured tag called GREEN to the selected photo file (Fig 1.5).



Fig 1.3  Select a file - Click on the EDIT TAGS button - Click on a coloured tag




Fig 1.4  The coloured tag called GREEN has been chosen (placed inside the EDIT TAGS edit box)




Fig 1.5  After pressing ENTER the selected photo file has been tagged with the chosen coloured tag

Now that you have some idea of simple tagging I will now show you how to tag with multiple coloured tags and a uniquely named tag (a tag you can create yourself). You begin by selecting a photo file and clicking on the EDIT TAGS button as before, but this time you then click on multiple coloured tags one by one. If you then want to add (create) your own tag, which will have a generic white colour assigned to it, you simply types its desired name into the EDIT TAGS edit box. In this next example I have typed the name Work.



Fig 1.6  Select a photo file, click on the EDIT TAGS button and then select coloured tags one by one.

After giving your new tag a desired (unique) name, such as Work, press the ENTER keyboard key to actually create it and therefore add it to your existing tags. As said; the tag will initially be white in colour, but you can change this later. Press the ENTER keyboard key again to apply your tags.



Fig 1.7  To create a new tag, coloured white by default, type its desired name into the EDIT TAGS edit box and then press ENTER

Below is an example of my third photo file that has been tagged with the standard coloured tags BLUE, PURPLE, YELLOW and ORANGE as well as with my new white WORK tag. Looking at the tags chosen for that photo file you would be forgiven for thinking the BLUE tag for example hasn't been assigned to it, even though it has, so how would you know for sure?



Fig 1.8  On first glance you might think only the YELLOW, ORANGE and WORK tags have been assigned to the third photo file

One way to see which photo file(s) have been assigned to which coloured tag(s) is to click on each coloured tag within the Finder sidebar. So in this next example I can confirm that the BLUE coloured tag really has been assigned to the third photo file by clicking on the colour BLUE within the Finder sidebar, underneath the heading called TAGS. Remember, the photo file still won't have a solid blue dot next to its file name though.



Fig 1.9  Even though there is no solid blue dot next to the this photo file's name it has actually been assigned to the BLUE coloured tag

Another way you can find out which coloured tags have been assigned to a particular photo file is to select the photo file and then click on the EDIT TAGS button, just as I did in Fig 1.6 above. This will reveal the assigned tags.

IT'S  NOT  ALL  ABOUT  PHOTO  FILES

So far I have exampled photo files, but you can actually tag other personal files such as video files, music files and documents as well as folders. When tagging a folder only that folder will be tagged, not its content, which makes sense as you would want the whole content tagged. One thing i did notice is that you cannot tag files that are stored on a network hard drive for example. It seems you are restricted to folder and files located on your computer only (hopefully this will change in the future?).


Just to make sure you are aware of what tags are actually useful for, in this next example I have a mixture of folders and files that have all been tagged with the GREEN coloured tag amongst others. The point here is that even though the folders and files come from different folders such as my PICTURES folder, my MUSIC folder and my DOWNLOADS folder they can all been found (gathered) by simply clicking on the GREEN coloured tag in the Finder sidebar.



Fig 1.10  An example of mixed files that have all been tagged with the GREEN coloured tag

To rename a tag to FAMILY, LETTERS, BILLS, RECEIPTS or IMPORTANT for example simply right click on the tag name (i.e. GREEN) within the Finder sidebar and then select the RENAME "Colour" option (i.e. RENAME "Green"). The tag name will then become editable whereby you type in your new, desired, tag name before pressing the ENTER keyboard key.



Fig 1.11  Rename a tag by right clicking on its tag name within the Finder sidebar and then click on the RENAME option

If you look at the context (option) menu in more detail you will realise that you can also recolour the tag by clicking on a different colour. If you want to remove the tag from the Finder sidebar, for whatever reason(s), simply click on the REMOVE TAG option. And if you want to delete the tag altogether click on the DELETE TAG option.

If you need to reorder the tags or place some of them as Favourite Tags so they can be selected from certain context (options) menus when tagging folders and files (as shown in Fig 1.1 above) you need to use the Finder PREFERENCES - Click on the FINDER MENU and select the PREFERENCES menu-item. From there, on the Preferences window that appears, either drag a tag up or down the list of existing tags to reorder it (Fig 1.13 below) or drag it into the Favourite Tags area (Fig 1.12). Note well: You can only have seven favourite tags. Other tags will need typing in by name in order to use them.



Fig 1.12  Click on a tag, and keep the click held down, as you move (drag) the tag into the Favourite Tags area. Then release the click.




Fig 1.13  Click on a tag, and keep the click held down, as you move (drag) the tag up or down to reposition it. Then release the click.

You can also rename a tag from the Finder Preferences window by clicking on its tag name, which then makes it editable. Here's one final example with the tags renamed to something more meaningful and reordered into alphabetical order.



Fig 1.14  I have renamed my tags to something more meaningful and then reordered them into alphabetical order

Hopefully the above helps you to become more organised, or should that be disorganised! If you think about it you can now become lazy and have files all over the place whereby one click on a tag name in Finder's sidebar suddenly gathers files together. Pure genius! I bet Apple was thinking of the Remote Control.