Create And Manage Tags In OS X Mavericks Finder [OS X Tips]

Mavericks Tags

In yet another addition to the OS X Finder in OS X Mavericks, you can now tag your files. This is a wonderful way to keep track of stuff, since unless you’re an obsessive folder and sub-folder maker, tags are much easier to define and apply on the fly, making the dynamic organization of your files easier and less permanent.

OS X Mavericks tags seem a lot like Labels did, with a couple of differences. You can apply more than one tag to a file or folder, and you can sort your files by tag, as well. Here’s how.

First up, open the Finder and find yourself a file. Right click on that file (Control-click or two-finger-click on a trackpad) and move your mouse down to the colorful tags. Click on the tag you want to add to the file. Go ahead, go crazy! Add two tags!

Now, click on that tag in the left hand sidebar of your Finder window, and you’ll see that file there. Click on the second tag you added to the file and you’ll see it in that list as well. This way, you can use tags to your advantage, as many files may fit two or even three tags on your hard drive. You can’t do that with folders, without copying files or making aliases.

Now, to rename the tags to something more useful. In the Finder, click on the Finder menu, then click on Preferences… Once in there, click on the Tags tab at the top of the preferences window. You’ll see a list of the color tags, and a few more at the bottom, like Work, Home, and Important. To change the color of a tag, simply click on the little bubble and choose a color. To change the name of the tag, click on the tag title, and type your new tag name.

You’ll need to drag any new tags you create this way down to the favorites bar across the bottom of the tag window in Finder preferences to be able to use them in the right-click contextual menus. If you want to hide any tags from the Finder, simply click on the checkbox to the right of the tag name.

Now you’re well on your way to creating the organization scheme of your dreams, right on your Mac running OS X Mavericks.

Disclaimer: OS X Mavericks is a beta, a developer preview. Please don’t expect all these features to be present in the same way–or at all–in the final release of OS X Mavericks this fall.

  • Davezilla

    Now that Maverick is live, I was really looking forward to this feature. One thing that really bugs me about it is once you’ve used up the seven default colors, all new tags you add are white. LAME, Apple! Why can’t we add a color picker in the prefs so we can color ALL the tags in the shades and hues we prefer?

  • Dasa

    Totally hate this feature, here’s why.
    1. Old Mac could already sort by color labels using the CMD+F command and selecting the handy “label” criteria. And the labels could be renamed also, so these are not a new features.

    2. What’s new? Tiny dots, can’t see them especially in list mode. Poor design.

    3. And multiple tags. But I don’t want multiple tags on the same item. To me green means Go and red means Stop. Why would I want Go and Stop on the same file?

    4. Now I can’t switch from Stop to Go just be clicking the green label like before. Now I have to click red off, reopen context menu, and click green on. If I select a bunch of Red and Orange files I want to change to Green at once it’s even harder; turn everything orange, turn orange off, turn everything red, turn red off, turn everything green. That’s opening the context menu 5 times for what used to be done opening it once! Terrible.

    EDIT:
    5. I now use XtraFinder 3rd party addon to at least show the color across the filename in list view but this fixes none of the other problems and does not effect saving files from a program.

    • Derk73

      Yes. Those tiny little dots are almost useless to me as well. I much preferred when the name of the folder was in the color – MUCH easier to spot what I needed.

  • Figural

    This article doesn’t actually show how to create new tags. Fibbers.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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