Tagging files on your computer so that you can find them easier across file types and folders based on the common subject, is an excellent way to be extra organised. You can use the application Default Folders to tag files as you create them, but sometimes you are not the creator and you want to tag files and other things like web pages, emails and contacts that are not actually files. This is where you might turn to options like Tagit a free tagging application or Tags, a paid for application.

Tagit has limitations, but then it is free and it is for you to decide if it is worth your while to spend your hard earned cash to get extra functionality. You have Houdahspot, Punakea , and now we will look at what Tags can do. The application Tags can be looked at in three main areas. There is the Tag Browser, Tag Window and Tag search.

Tags - Tag Browser

A standard looking window with the three pane view. On the left is a column with your favourites, recently used and all tags. There is a button at the bottom that will let you rename, delete a tag, or add it to favourites. You can do the same by right clicking to get a context sensitive menu. In the browser if you click on a tag in the left column you will see the files tagged with it, in the top pane to the right. If you click on the file, for example, an image file you will see it in the lower pane, below a section that has the list of all the tags that file is tagged with. There is an Open button, which will open the file in the default application. If you want to open in a different application you will have to use Cmd and Enter to reveal in Finder, so that you can right click and choose which application to use. That function should really be in the Tags Browser.

Choose two tags and it will give you, all files, with either of those two or more tags. Refine the search, by clicking on the list of all the tags applied to that list of files, which are shown at the top of the list. Easy to narrow down a search by using tags this way. I like that I can have other objects like web pages in this tagging application too.

File-Tagging-Tags-OSXThe Tag Window

This is where you tag items, be it a contact, an email, a web page or a file. To tag any of these you just drag the object to the Tag Window. Press Control Spacebar to have it open. You can even drag images from iPhoto to the Tags application. Or you can drag it and drop it on the icon for Tags in the Dock. It is quick and easy to tag things with the Tags Application.

I have it set up so that the Tags Search comes up when I hit Control, Option and Spacebar. You see it in the place where Spotlight would be and it is grey instead of the Spotlight blue. Start typing the letters of a tag and you will see the tag name below. Use the right arrow on the keyboard to see a list of all the items that have that tag. When you complete the name of the tag you will see the search for all items, you can still use the mouse or arrow keys to get to a search of just tagged items. In preferences you can set Tags Search to look for only tagged items.

Overview of Tagging Options

Tags has a clean and simple interface and does the job of tagging lots of different types of items. I like that it does web pages and emails too. Houdahspot has more functional complex searching but doesn’t seem to do tagging of emails or web pages. Tagit is free and does a good job of tagging files, much simpler in operation and is there to lead you to the paid applications from IronicSoftware, Leap and Yep. And then there is Punakea which is similar to Tags. The best advice I can give is to try out all of them and see which fits your needs best in relation to how much you are willing to spend. Happy tagging.