File tags in OS X We showed you how easy it is to quickly add tags to files and folders with the simple drag & drop trick, but what if you want to remove a tag from something? That’s equally easy, and we’ll cover two ways to remove a tag or multiple tags from items that currently have them: through a quick right-click action, or through the Finder toolbar. These two tricks actually work both ways, and you can use them to add new tags as well, but for this specific articles purpose we’ll focus on removing them.

Remove File Tags with Right-Click

“Tags” have replaced “Labels” in the contextual menus of Mac OS X, and allow for quick removal (or additions) of tagging from items this way:

  • Right-click the file(s) or folder with the tags you wish to remove
  • Navigate down to the “Tags…” area of the menu, and select the tag you want to remove, when hovered over it will say “Remove Tag ‘Tagname’”

Remove a file tag with a right-click

You can repeat this as necessary, and either remove additional tags this way or, of course, add new tags this way too.

If you’re not a fan of the contextual menus and right-click / alt-click in OS X, you can also choose a different and more granular approach through the Finder window toolbar.

Remove Tags from a File or Folder with the Finder Toolbar

New with Mavericks, the Finder toolbar defaults to include a “Tags” button, which looks more like a switch from iOS than a tag really. Anyway, selecting a file or folder that has tags and accessing that menu is what provides the removal options:

  • Select a file or folder from the Finder and click the Tags toolbar button
  • Select the tag to remove so that it is highlighted, and then hit the Delete key to remove that tag from the file(s) or folder
  • Repeat as necessary

Remove a tag from the Tags toolbar in Finder

You can hit delete again to remove additional tags, or select another tag from that list if you want to add a new tag or change them.

As mentioned already, these two tricks will work to add new tags, but for many situations the drag and drop to tag method is simply faster, particularly when working with large amounts of files.

How do you know if something is tagged or not?

Identifying tagged files and folders is easy by a visual indicator: Tags are displayed in icon view as a colorful circle next to the file or folder name, thus removing the tag removes that little color circle.

Tag indicator

In list view, the tag / circle color appears after the file name instead. If no circle indicator is next to the file name, the file or folder is not tagged. Multiple tags show up as multiple concentric circles.

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