Mavericks tags and Dropbox

geek software

I updated to Mavericks (aka Mac OS X 10.9) on my laptop and desktop not long after it came out, and the process was fairly painless. I generally like the changes in the new operating system, and I find that Finder in particular is much more usable. I’m trying to manage with Finder rather than Path Finder, which I had been using as a Finder replacement. Path Finder is an amazing bit of software, but is is rather hefty and is inevitably not as well integrated into the system as Finder. You can’t, for example, replace Finder completely with Path Finder.

The new tabs in Finder help a lot, and I have been enjoying easy, fully-integrated tagging. I don’t use tags in the usual way (with keyword-like tags), but instead use them to mark the status of a file in my workflow, to make it easier to lay my hands on the files I need. I therefore have only a small number of colour-coded tags as follows:

  • Hot (red): these are files that are in some way ‘todos’, in other words, files that I will start working on next.
  • Inprogress (orange): files that I am currently working on. I usually have a small number in progress at any one time (less than 6 or so).
  • Pending (yellow): these might be files I’ve downloaded or received in an email and I will need them for a meeting or upcoming work in a few days or weeks.
  • New (blue): this is an automatic tag that gets added by Hazel to newly downloaded files etc. Another tag (Old, grey colour) gets replaces the New tag when files in my Downloads folder are over a certain age. This helps me keep things tidy.
  • Done (green): files I have finished with. I often use this to keep track of my progress when I have to read a number of documents in a particular folder, but I won’t be able to do it in one sitting. Once I have read them all, I remove the tag, but while I am still working on it, the tags make it easy to see what I still have to do.
  • Forms (purple): these are frequently accessed files, spread throughout my file system. Some are actual forms, but others are documents to which I need to refer frequently or send on to other people.

When I first started trying out tags in Mavericks, I thought that they were not getting transmitted via Dropbox to my other computer. What happened was that I would mark a file with the ‘Hot’ tag on one computer, but on the other it would get a ‘Red’ label instead. The tag names didn’t seem to be transferring. However, after I had manually searched for and renamed the tagged files correctly once, new tags (and the removal of tags) seemed to be transmitted absolutely perfectly through Dropbox from then on.

I’m really enjoying this as a way to make my workflow smoother, and make it easier to find files sprinkled across my filing system. Of course you can tag files easily in Finder (I have used Keyboard Maestro to add a keyboard shortcut to the menu item to do this), but I have also started using an Alfred extension to make adding tags and searching for tagged files easier. Marko K√§stner’s Alfred extension handles displaying a list of files tagged with a particular tag, or adding/removing tags to files, and allows a much more flexible, keyboard-centric method for dealing with tags.