Tag Files in OS X with a Keyboard Shortcut

Mar 10, 2014 - 1 Comment

Tag files in OS X with a keyboard shortcut Tagging files and folders in OS X can be a handy way to help manage and organize the contents of the Finder, even if only used on a limited basis for specific projects. To get the most out of file tags though, you’ll want to get quick access to the feature. One way to do that is with the drag and drop tagging method, but an even quicker way for Mac users who are primarily keyboard focused is to use a keyboard shortcut for the purpose. OS X doesn’t come with a file tagging keystroke by default, but with a few steps you can create your own keyboard shortcut which brings about the tag option anywhere in the Finder.

How to Set a Keyboard Shortcut for File Tagging

This will set up a custom keystroke to use for applying file tags anywhere in the Finder:

  1. Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  2. Go to “Keyboard” and choose the “Shortcuts” tab
  3. Select “App Shortcuts” from the sidebar, then click the [+] plus button to create a new shortcut
  4. Pull down “Application” menu and choose “Finder.app”
  5. Under “Menu Title” enter “Tags…” exactly (that is three periods)
  6. Click within the “Keyboard Shortcut” box to define the keystroke for tagging files in Finder, in this example we use Option+Command+T, then choose “Add” when done
  7. Set a keyboard shortcut for file tagging in Mac OS X

  8. Exit out of System Preferences

Now that you have the tagging keyboard shortcut setup, you’ll want to try this out yourself so you can see how fast it is.

Tagging Files & Folders in Finder with the Keyboard Shortcut

Go back to the OS X Finder and select any file or folder you want to tag, then hit your newly defined keyboard shortcut for tagging (it will be Option+Command+T if you followed our example, but use whatever you set).

Tag files with keyboard shortcut in OS X

You’ll see a popover show up that lets you to select an existing tag or create a new one. This popover tag panel is keyboard responsive and uses prediction as well, so you can complete the entire process without your hands ever leaving the keyboard. Enter the first few characters of the tag to use to autofill the rest, then hit return to complete the tagging process. When finished applying the tags, hit the “Escape” key to exit out of the file tagging popover menu.

Done with a project, or just want to strip a tag from a file or folder? Don’t forget that removing tags is simple too, and it can even be done through the same keyboard shortcut trick outlined above. Simply select the file, hit the same keystroke to summon the tagging menu, and then hit the delete key followed by Return to complete the tag removal.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

One Comment

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  1. GREAT SHORTCUT Paul!

    Nicely done — thanks for the really useful tips & tricks.
    Keep up the great work.

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