Speedier file tagging in Mavericks

[Tweet : ADN : nvALT]

As you might expect, I’m enthusiastically exploring Mavericks’ file tagging. I looked into the state of the OpenMeta transition yesterday and found that many of the best OpenMeta tagging apps already have reasonable solutions, including Hazel, HoudahSpot, Leap and Yep. There are a few others that I’m not certain will ever get updates, but I have word that my favorite, Tags, should be getting some serious love soon.

Of special interest to me, the latest version of the openmeta CLI mirrors to Finder’s tag attributes as well as OpenMeta1. All of my scripts appear to be continuing to function as before. Thanks to Tom Andersen of Ironic for his continued work on that.

On day one of the official Mavericks release, I used a great script by Zett to convert a few folders full of OpenMeta tags over to Finder tags. Eventually I noticed that Leap will actually do your whole system when you open it now. I don’t use Leap much, but for making a seamless transition it was a great choice. It’s a bit expensive for the task if you don’t already own it, though, and there are scripting solutions to handle it.

Now that tagging is in the spotlight2, I’ll be writing more about why I think everyone should use it and sharing more ideas from my own experiences over the last few years. If you’re reading this because of what I said in the headline, though, I should probably get around to offering a tip…

Do it faster

I like being able to tag files in Save dialogs. Default Folder X has always been excellent for that with OpenMeta, and now I can do it in some native dialogs as well. However, I do most of my tagging in sweeps from Finder (store new files to the desktop and tag/archive them all at once). I’m used to tools like Tags always being available from a hotkey. I loathe right clicking and choosing options from the context menu when I’m navigating by keyboard, and there’s not a shortcut for the Finder “Tags” dialog by default. So here’s the tip: fix that.

Open up System Preferences and go to Keyboard Preferences, select the Shortcuts tab and choose App Shortcuts on the left side of the table. Hit the plus (+) button at the bottom. Set the Application dropdown to Finder.app, and for the menu title type in “Tags”. Note that the three dots are a single ellipsis character, which you can type with Option-semicolon3 (;). Then click in the Keyboard shortcut field and type your preferred key combination. Note: if you’re like me and have more keyboard shortcuts set up than you could ever possibly remember, pick one, open up Finder and type it while you have a file selected to make sure it doesn’t already do something. If it’s clear, punch it in.

Now you can select any file or files, type your shortcut and the tagging popup will appear. You can type your tags (with autocompletion), hit comma to commit each one and then hit Enter to close the dialog. Arrow to the next files to tag and you’re on a roll.

  1. I had some trouble with the compiled version on Google Code, and I’m not certain whether it’s up to date with the codebase or not. I grabbed the source and built one for Mavericks, if you need it you can grab it here.

  2. Pun absolutely intended.

  3. That’s a good one to know anyway. If you’re not on a system that smart-replaces three dots with an ellipsis automatically, it will save you TWO OUT OF 140 CHARACTERS on Twitter.