At times, while looking for a file on your Mac, you may have felt a loss of productivity. Although the Finder has not seen any notable improvements in recent years, it offers you various options for managing files, such as the integrated tag function, which is not tied to the classic file and folder system.
Tags allow you to save files anywhere and merge them with shared tags that you can filter with Spotlight search and Smart Folders. We'll show you a few apps that extend the functionality of tags in macOS so you can organize and find files when you need them.
Leap is a Finder and Spotlight replacement that is reinventing the way we store and search for files. It uses the hierarchical file / folder system but exposes the underlying metadata attributes and tags. On the left you will see the tag panel with tags either created by you or apps that use OpenMeta.
Click any tag to view all files regardless of where they are stored. Select a file and click get information to add a file description, add tags, and edit the creation date. You can view files by name, file type, location, tags, and more. And you can show or hide panels with a single click.
The crumb path will help you define the search using three parameters: What (how the search is carried out), Where (Storage location and type of files), When (Date range or year). Compared to Spotlight, the app offers you a clear selection of search options to further refine your search.
Features of Leap
The bookmark feature allows you to save the current crumbly tail so you can quickly return to that search. You can even bookmark a specific group of tags that you use frequently.
Look for a file type (e.g. PDF) no matter where it's stored. For example, preferred locations (standard macOS folders), standard (usage-based folders) or saved locations.
Export a list of documents as HTML. Select the list view and check the columns you want, then select File> Export Search Results.
If you use Time Machine as your backup system, Leap can show you all revisions of all backed up documents.
Download: Leap ($ 49, free trial available)
2. Small tagger
What will you do with files that are not marked in the Finder? Tagging multiple files one at a time is a hassle. Little Tagger is a menu bar app that helps you tag your files and folders. First you need to import your tags into the app. Go to Settings> Tags and click Import tags. You only need to do this once. In the future, the tags will be updated automatically in the background.
To start tagging, select your files or folders in the Finder and drag and drop them onto the menu bar icon. Then enter the name of the tag in the text box. The app automatically suggests tags based on relevance or usage. If the tag does not exist, pressing. a popup will appear Enter. Enter the name and choose a color. Finally click Carry out.
Features of Little Tagger
Highlight files of a certain type that are in a huge folder. You can see the list of files from the Any file Drop down menu in the upper right corner.
Set up a profile with certain preferences, e.g. For example, the list of selected tags, include subfolder items, file aliases, and file type or name filters to perform recurring tagging jobs.
Filter files by name with different modifiers (contains, does not contain, starts with) or extension (filter images with the PNG extension).
Download: Little Tagger ($ 7.99)
EagleFiler is a personal information manager that fits into a wide variety of use cases. The app is intuitive to use and adopts elements of the user interface of the mail app in order to maintain the simplicity. The left pane consists of a source list that contains a library, smart search parameters, and tag lists. To get started, Ctrl-click records and choose New folder. Enter the name and click create folder.
When viewing a webpage, email message, or browsing files in the Finder, press the recording shortcut (Option + F1) to bring up a dialog box. Choose your destination folder and click on Seize. You can even drag and drop files around or use EagleFiler bookmarklets to capture information. The record list shows the content of the selected source. And the viewer shows the contents of the selected file.
For each file, you can add metadata such as labels, tags, and notes. Every added tag is synced with Finder tags. They're also copied to the Spotlight comments box so they're searchable and accessible to other apps. The tag storage system is more robust than Finder. If tags are lost or damaged, the app tries to restore them.
Features of EagleFiler
Your data and notes are saved as normal files in standard formats (RTF, PDF, MBOX), so there is no blocking or the risk of data corruption.
Any note attached to a file supports rich text and links. They are saved as RTF files in the Finder and you can search them using Spotlight.
Includes support for email apps like Eudora, Entourage, Thunderbird, MailMate, PowerMail, and more. It retains the entire message, including the header, body, flag status, and attachment.
Import content from Evernote and convert it to RTFD, preserving formatting, tags, links and images. In addition, it can be integrated with Skim, Alfred or Launchbar, PopClip and other integrated services.
Download: EagleFiler ($ 49, free trial available)
If you want to use tags to access files, Alfred should be your app of choice. Alfred includes a keyword by default to search for files prefixed with a specific tag. Start Alfred, enter “tags” along with your tag name to display all relevant files.
You can create a file filter workflow for a specific day and search based on the name of the file. Go to Settings> Workflows, press the Plus (+) bottom left and choose Templates> Files and Apps> File Filter by Keyword and Open. Enter the keyword name and click Create. By doing Basic setting, set your keyword.
Then im Progressive Tab, add the kMDItemUserTags and set a value that matches the keyword. When you're done, use your keyword to search for a specific tag only. In the long run, investing heavily in tags will save you time.
Properties of Alfred
In the Spotlight comments, add (Any File> Get Info> Comments). The integrated fuzzy search finds your file quickly.
Press the right arrow Button to take action on your files. For example, you can email files marked with a few keystrokes.
Install the Add Tag and Label Color workflows to quickly add a tag or color label to selected files in the Finder.
Download: Alfred (Free, Premium version available)
Hazel is an automation tool for macOS that monitors changes to folders and takes a specific action based on the rules you create. You only need to specify two things in a rule: what to look for in the selected folder (the condition) and what to do when the conditions are met (the actions). A rule can meet a variety of conditions for both files and folders.
To get started, add a folder and click Create a new rule. Enter the rule name, then set a condition to search for Finder tags. When a rule meets the condition, it takes another action. In this case, you can tell Hazel to move files to Documents if they have been tagged with Guides. Some conditions and actions have fewer or more pop-up menus, or require filling in spaces, etc.
Properties of Hazel
You can monitor Smart Folders, which are Finder Saved searches. For example, you can search for files with a specific tag that are also larger than a certain size.
Conditions can use a wide variety of attributes. This includes extension, creation date, opened or modified date, current time and tags. It is possible to create custom date, text or table attributes.
You can use shell scripts or command line tools in either conditions or actions. For example, the grep command can use regular expressions to pattern match your files.
Download: Hazel ($ 42, free trial available)
Enhance Finder's tag functionality with these apps
Not many people use Finder Tags in their daily workflow. Once you use them, you can organize and find files in seconds. The apps discussed above cover different areas of tag functionality.
We encourage you to try these apps and see if they work for you. Also, check out our guide to find other apps that work with Finder to improve its skills.
The 8 best Mac apps that will improve Finder's functionality
Wish Finder did more to your Mac? Check out these great apps that integrate with the Finder to improve its skills.
About the author
(164 articles published)
With an M.Optom degree in ophthalmology, Rahul taught for many years at the college. Writing and teaching others is always his passion. He's now writing about technology and making it digestible for readers who don't understand it well.
From Rahul Saigal
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