Many say that tags are the new categories. They allow you to have a free form organisational structure. A single file can be classified into so many different categories, where each tag is a separate unit of classification. Tags from Gravity Applications, aims at providing you with a central user interface to tag basically everything on your Mac. I’ve been using this app for some time now, and here are my impressions.
How it works
The main UI of Tags is a floating palette. Select any object, it could be a file, email, iPhoto pictures, Address Book contacts, Photoshop windows or basically any application that supports AppleScript, and hit the magic customisable shortcut Ctrl+Space. You can then enter any tag that you fancy. For instance, if I get an email from a developer, I tag it with ‘dev’. If it mentions something about a review, I tag it ‘review’. Same say, if I’m surfing the web, and I come across an application that I really want to write about, I hit the shortcut, and type in ‘review’. So the email and bookmark belong to the same tag (as to many applications installed in my Applications folder).
Tags once entered auto complete so you don’t have to type in the same thing over and over again. Tags can also be made to show your recently used tags, as well as show your favourite tags. The tag manager can be used to specify which are your favourites, as well as delete some of them. This way, you don’t even have to type out your tags.
You can of course attach tags to multiple objects, as well as drag and drop files into the tag window. One thing I noticed is how you cannot tag files from different locations with a tag. For instance, if I have three files in three different locations, I’d like to have been able to drag and drop them into the Tags window and set my tags. Unfortunately, dragging a new item only replaces the earlier one.
‘Where did I put that file!’
Tags integrates with the built in spotlight search, so I can effectively search for ‘review’ in Finder and all those files and emails tagged with email will show up in the results. You can also use the tags UI itself (the search is on the flip side) to search through tags. Enter the tags, or just click on the same favourites and recents to search through your files. You can search for multiple tags to narrow down your search results.
The spotlight search tool however can be made to search only for tags by using the tag condition. For instance, searching for ‘tag:review’ will bring up only those files which are tagged so. You can also do saved searches in the Finder sidebar to quickly take a glance at all your items that have been tagged so. The tags can also be used in the search window of Mail, Address Book and such.
To Tag or not to Tag…
The question of the hour. I forced myself to tag things during this review period, and I can say the results are fruitful. I don’t tag everything, but say I’m working on a document in Pages, I just hit the shortcut and quickly add a tag to it. The process is so quick, that you can be almost instinctive with it. I still use Things to organise reviews and posts that go up on queue, but Tags is much broader than that. I don’t have to think about how I’m tagging, and most of my commonly used tags were right there within easy reach.
To sum up, Tags is easy to use, extremely quick and responsive, and useful to the point of not having to worry about ‘where to put the file’. The fact that it works in almost every app you could possibly tag makes this the perfect way to start using tags. Tags costs a reasonable $29 for a single user license, a trial version is also available for 30 days. I’d highly recommend you give the trial a good run to see what this app is capable of. They even have a spiffy screencast done explaining how best to use it.
The Tags Giveaway!
Here we are again with another giveaway. This time round we have two licenses of Tags! Our thanks to Gravity Apps for this offer. How do you win? The rules are simple.
- A single entry per person.
- Valid email address (only to contact the winner)
- Download the trial and let us know, whether this application (and the universal concept of tagging) make sense to you, or are you content with the way of organising your files into the 1980s folder structure?
- (Optional) Tweet or blog about it, with the words ‘@smokingapples’ and a shorturl back to this page for another entry into the draw.
Winners will be announced in a week.
(Via Smoking Apples.)