I've searched online; I have found lots of information around HOW to assign/remove tags, but very little around how people USE them. (that in itself might be the sign that not many people actually use them? :)

The best I could find is that some people use them for categorising work; e.g. "Final", "Research", "Draft", etc.

However, although this is a very legitimate way of using them, I feel that still doesn't use tags to their full extent - namely, the ability to have more than one tags attached to the same file. In the example above, a file is either 'draft' or 'final'. You can achieve the same result using nested folders, although that is different visually.

How do you use them? Or alternatively, can you suggest a link/site/blog that explains how they use them?

  • 1
    While the question is borderline on-topic it is an interesting question and some real-life examples would probably help a lot of people. I've changed the question to a Community Wiki and would propose to keep it open for some time to see whether it gathers useful answers.
    – nohillside
    Mar 14, 2016 at 7:56

1 Answer 1


I can't say that I love the tagging system, so I have very limited use of them: but I've used tags in two ways:

1. For final version documents Since I often have several versions of the same file on storage, I have one tag named "final". So it facilitates spotlight searches like "quote client tag:final". This is the only use I've been able to stick to constantly, since I often find myself searching for the final version of a document.

2. For document types Since I use my folder hierarchy to separate different projects, I use tags for document content types. For instance, named tags "Proposal", "Specs", "Guide", etc. This offered the small benefit of allowing shorter file names (intended to avoid names like Proposal_CustomerName_ProjectName.ext. I wasn't able to stick to this tagging style, since longer names seemed still seemed efficient, even if they're not pretty.

I rarely browse files in finder, mostly I search through spotlight. So the only real benefit I see in tags is being able to type "tag:abcdf" in spotlight. With this approach, since everyone organizes in a different way, I guess the key question is:

Is there a criteria that you often find yourself wishing you could use in searches, and which doesn't really fit in your file naming styles or folder hierarchy?

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