Tags in Mavericks are a Lifesaver

Of all the power user features added in Mavericks, Finder tags are the one that I am finding really helpful. I have thousands of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that I need for work. Organizing these with traditional folders is a huge challenge. I used to spend a lot of time looking for the right document. Browsing through a large tree of folders is difficult. Spotlight is unreliable - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I like Finder tags for the same reason that people are addicted to tags in Gmail. You can associated a file with multiple categories instead of just one folder. For example, I am in marketing, so I may have a case study on customer y using product x. Before, I would never know whether to look for that in my folder for case studies, my folder for product x, or my folder for customer y. Tags have been a lifesaver in helping me find files quickly without digging through folders or rolling the dice on Spotlight searches.

Admittedly, tagging requires an extra step when saving files. You have to specify tags in addition to the file location. This alone probably means that tags will never be mainstream. I wish files could be auto-tagged, similar to how Mint.com auto-tags transactions. For now, this added step on the front end pays big dividends when you need to find files later.

Looking to the future, tagging offers a potential solution to the sandbox problem in iOS - how do you find files that are part of the same project but created by different apps? Perhaps we will see tags implemented in iOS 8. In any case, I hope Apple will continue to simplify file management. My dream is that documents will be automatically organized, similar to how iTunes organizes your music library, so I never have to think about my file meta data and can find everything immediately.

Are you using tags in Mavericks? What else can Apple do to make file management easier?