18 Responses to “Where’s the Easy Access to Tagging in OS X?”

  1. But of all the tag applications out there, I started loving this Tags. Its really slick and GUI looks awesome and fits the style of a mac. I started loving it more than Punakea. Way to go…

  2. Keywords don’t work for tagging, because they can’t be created or modified except by opening the file, editing its keywords (assuming the application even has a keyword editing component built into its interface), and then saving it again. For example, to add keywords to a PDF, you need to open it in Preview, open the inspector, click on the keyword section, editing what it included there, and then save the file.

    By writing tags in the Spotlight comments, all of that process can be skipped, and there is no need to modify the file in order to tag it. Plus, one can tag any file using Spotlight comments, whereas keywords can only be used in file types and applications that support them.

  3. It’s been bugging me all day. Here it is:
    kMDItemKeywords – A set of keywords associated with an item.

    Why isn’t this used for tags, I wonder. Could any one enlighten me?

  4. I am using Leap and Default Folder X. Over the past couple weeks I have tagged and re-organized all my files, and it was almost fun! At least it is much easier to find everything now.

    OSX does support tags though. At least I think it does. There is a KMDIKeyword something-or-other that I spotted while inspecting various files. Don’tknow how to use it though..

  5. Honestly I haven’t found a great need for tags on the desktop yet. Putting everything in separate folders and differenciating between project and static stuff allows me to find things fast enough.

    Tags might be useful on an OS/Finder level but this would require some more support like auto-completion (to avoid spelling errors and singular/plural confusion) and easy ways to reorganize/rename/bundle tags.

  6. I think Apple should definitely do more to integrate tagging into the OS. I’ve written a freeware application that does as much as possible to bring tagging into the Finder in an easy to use fashion, called Tag Folders, but there is nothing I’d like better than for Apple to make it obsolete by making something that is truly integrated.

  7. The thing about the typical file system is that Bob in accounting can look in the accounting folder and find his document, and Sue can too. Most people use a logical naming convention so that the document makes sense and is easy to find. Tagging is great for yourself. If you make it logical for an entire office fine.

  8. Yea, definitely.
    Once you get used to tagging files it makes much more sense than dropping them into a folder.

    But at the moment tagging to Spotlight comments isn’t too robust, so it ought to be implemented ‘properly’ in the OS. Vista has had it for almost a couple of years.

  9. Bob Smith

    The problem with tagging and Spotlight is that the tag data is stored somewhere else on the system, and can’t be backed up along with your files. Just wait until your disk crashes and you didn’t use a folder hierarchy to organize things.

  10. Sherkaner

    Just as an additional plug for Leap (I’m not related to the author, I just really love the app): it is from the same maker as Yep and works much the same way, but for all kinds of files. Additionally it has the option to store tags in spotlight comments (with & or another prefix if you like) so it works seamlessly with Quicksilver or Spotlight searches, which I also use. I tend to consider Leap my new Finder much of the time now.

  11. Tagging using Spotlight seems to be the best option. If you use something like “Default Folder X” you can add Spotlight comments/tags right in the Save dialog box, which is a very convenient place to add tags as you are saving a file.

  12. Dan Butcher

    I think the reason tagging hasn’t made headway on the desktop is because users conceptualize their files on their computer differently than they do online data. The metaphor for computers is still linked to physical features of the office: desktop, files, etc. Users wouldn’t tag the files in my physical file cabinet, so it doesn’t occur to them to tag the files on their hard drive.

    Also, I think that search functions have become so advanced and naming conventions have eased (remember when we were limited to short file names–was it 8 characters and a 3 character extension?), and we have full-text search so you don’t even have to remember what you named the file or where you stored it. Just search in spotlight or the finder and you’ve got it.

    That said, I love the way Yep uses tags for pdfs; it’s definitely made it easier for me to find pdfs from work (which all have similar names) because the tagging feature is great.

  13. I was trying to use tags using Punakea, especially because I thought I would like to be able to have a tag cloud, but that didn’t really work out. Actually I think tagging works best using Spotlight functionality. So I have to agree with Ricky then, and Quicksilver seems like the best tool to me to use tags.

    I’d love to see something like that implemented in the operating systems’s functionality, and I definitely think it has potential. It’s just difficult to get people out of their habits…

  14. I been tagging like crazy since Tiger, first using spotlight then later on quicksilver.
    I prepend the tags with ‘&’ , can be done directly in quicksilver with 5 min. setup.
    Used to do it by “command + i” the files and type in the tags in the info window.

    The last project I have been working on is called Wizual, I then type “&wizual” in spotlight or quicksilver and 6 months of code and documentation is presented instantly!

    I can write as many tags as I like. I just use the ampersand to separate my tag searches from my filename/content searches.
    There are almost no subfolder in my documents folder, just save it in a big pile.

    This also means that “syncing” my laptop with my work computer is a breeze. Just copy the documents folder and search for the tags regardless of computer.

    I have colleagues who have naming/folder schemes they have been using for years, they think I am a slob :)

  15. Sherkaner

    I use tagging constantly (with the help of the excellent Leap) and find it indispensable, but I have to admit that I have trouble even explaining how it works to people who aren’t already versed with the idea of metadata. My guess is Apple put the framework in there, but they won’t expose it as a big Finder feature because it would be only valuable to a relatively few people who have just that many non-photo/music files to manage and are savvy enough to understand it.

    That said, I still hold out a bit of hope that Apple will come up with and release some sort of UI innovation to make the whole tagging system idiot proof. But I think most people are kind of okay with folders.