How to Hide Tags from Mac Finder Sidebar in Mac OS X

Apr 8, 2014 - 1 Comment

Tags in the Sidebar of Mac OS X

The Tags feature added to Mac OS X provides for a simple way to group files, folders, and documents together with drag and drop quickness or keystroke simplicity, but not every Mac user takes the time to use tags, or at the very least, use all the tags that are offered by default in the sidebar. For those who don’t use the feature, the “Tags” remaining visible in the Mac OS X Finder window sidebar just wind up being extra clutter, and even for those who do use some Tags, leaving the unused tags around can just make things overly busy.

We’ll cover a few ways to hide tags from the Mac OS X Finder window sidebars. You can choose to hide all Tags, or selectively hide tags you don’t use or just don’t want visible. Note this is not the same as removing tags from files and items in the file system, this is simply hiding the tags from being visible in the sidebar windows throughout Mac OS X.

How to Hide All Tags from the Sidebar of Mac OS X Finder Quickly

For those who aren’t using Tags at all, or who just don’t want to see the all the colored tags in their sidebar, you can quickly hide (and show) them all with a remarkably fast toggle option:

  1. Open any Finder window with the sidebar visible, and hover the mouse cursor over the “TAGS” text
  2. Click on “Hide” when it becomes visible to roll all the tags up, making them invisible

Hide all Tags from being visible in the sidebar of Mac OS X

Of course, to show the tags in the Finder sidebar again, just hover your cursor back over the “TAGS” sidebar text and choose “Show” to make them all reappear.

This is a super quick option that easily hides and shows all tags in the Finder sidebar. Of course, this isn’t targeting specific tags, and if “Show” is clicked again then they will all become visible again, so let’s next cover how to hide specific tags from appearing in the sidebar.

Hide / Remove Selected Tags from the Mac Sidebars

There are actually a few ways to do this, but the simplest method is to have the Tags sidebar set to “Show” as described above, then use a simple alternate click:

  1. Right-click (or Control+Click) on the Tag you wish to hide / remove from the Sidebar
  2. Choose “Remove from Sidebar”
  3. Repeat with other Tags to remove if desired

Remove Tags from the sidebar in Mac OS X one by one with a right click

This is easy enough if you just want to hide a few options. You’ll notice you can also delete a tag or rename tags from the same right-click option.

Hiding & Showing Tags from the Finder Tag Control Panel

The right-click Finder method isn’t the only way hide tags, and Apple offers a central control panel of sorts to manipulate Tags displayed throughout the Finder windows of Mac OS X, as well as the Open and Save dialog windows.

  1. From the Mac OS X Finder, pull down the “Finder” menu and choose “Preferences
  2. Select the “Tags” tab and use the checkboxes to hide and show tags throughout the Finder as well as Open / Save dialog boxes

Control panel to hide and show specific Tags in Mac Sidebar

Changes are immediately visible throughout windows where Tags are shown with this option as well.

We won’t cover them here, but there are actually even a few additional methods to hide and remove tags throughout Mac OS X, and why there are so many different ways to do so in many different locations insures there is plenty of opportunity to use and customize the tagging feature to your liking.

If you aren’t using the tagging feature on the Mac yet, it really is useful for helping to maintain projects and files, particularly for those who are otherwise disorganized or who rely on the All My Files directory a little too much. It’s easy to get started with tags, I’m partial to the tagging keystroke but the drag & drop method works equally well, particularly if you’re wanting to tag large amounts of documents found in the file system.


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

One Comment

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  1. titus groan says:

    Oh please. Colours are not tags. Tags are text based. Colours are a completely different kind of labelling. Ne’er the two shall meet. Apple car-crashed two completely incompatible systems together here and made a complete mess. Bring back colour labels and bring in proper text based tagging.

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