7 File Tagging Applications for OS X

With the inclusion of Spotlight in OS X Tiger, searching on the Mac became a fast and enjoyable process. It’s simple to find files that match a term you’re looking for – either within the file name, or inside the file itself.

But that’s not always enough. If you’d like to associate a particular keyword with a document, it can be difficult to do so quickly (short of including it in the file name, or navigating through the “Get Info” window).

This selection of tagging utilities make adding “tags” to files on your Mac a straight-forward process. Some are free, and others are more powerful, commercial tools for organising your files. Using tags may not be for everyone, but it can offer a thoroughly useful way to stay on top of all the photos, documents, emails and websites stored on your machine.

Tags

Tags

Tags

Tags is one of the most visually appealing applications, but also comes with a fairly hefty price tag. It’s fully compatible with Spotlight, and is built on the “OpenMeta” platform for the widest compatibility possible with other applications.

An excellent solution, but one that requires you to be a passionate tag user to justify the price.

Price: $29
Developer: Gravity Apps
Requires: Mac OS 10.5 or later

Punakea

Punakea

Punakea

Punakea aims to help you cope with the day-to-day struggle of managing your files. It works in tandem with spotlight, and allows you to tag your files and bookmarks, freeing you of the strict hierarchy of the Finder’s folder structure.

It’s a slightly less expensive option at $25, and still retains the style and reliability you’d expect for a Mac utility.

Price: $25
Developer: Nudge Nudge
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later

NiftyBox

NiftyBox

Nifty Box

Another good looking application for managing all your “stuff” in one place and assigning tags to documents, websites, photos etc. It has various different ways to visualise your tagged data once entered, and plays well with Spotlight.

Price: Free
Developer: Tim Scheffler
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

TagBot

TagBot

TagBot

TagBot is a slightly dated application, though is still used by many of our readers. It hasn’t been updated for a year or so, but is slightly cheaper than some of the other options at $20.

The utility has a simple interface, and is designed solely for tagging files (there’s no extra functionality, as with a few of the other apps featured). Not highly recommended, but worth a look.

Price: $20
Developer: Big Robot Software
Requires: Requires Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5

Fresh

Fresh

Fresh

Fresh offers an innovative two-panel interface, showing both your recently edited files and a panel of documents you’ve “saved” within the app. These can be displayed at the touch of a button, and make working with recent files fairly straight forward.

But what does this have to do with tagging? Fresh also has a simple interface for tagging files stored within the app. You can pick from existing tags or create new ones, and it allows for quick keyboard input. Useful if you’d like to tag recent files as you use them.

Price: $9
Developer: Ironic Software
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.5 or later

Leap

Leap

Leap

Another application from Ironic Software (they seem to be leading the way in the tagging market), Leap is the most powerful piece of software featured. Like Tags, it uses the OpenMeta convention for good inter-operability between different applications.

Price: $60
Developer: Ironic Software
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.5 or later

Tagit

Tagit

Tagit

Tagit is the free tagging application from Ironic Software, and a baby companion to Leap. You drag a file to the application to tag it, and can do so through a simple and clutter-free interface. Again, it uses OpenMeta as a framework for storing tags, so it’s a simple process to upgrade to Leap at a later date if you really start to find tagging useful.

This seems like a great starting point if you want to try tagging out with something completely free and future-proof.

Price: Free
Developer: Ironic Software
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.5 or later

Conclusion

I’d be interested to hear what you think about file organisation on OS X. Do you, like me, prefer to stick with a folder hierarchy system? Or do you rely on a tagging/Spotlight approach and throw everything in one folder?