Tag your local files with Tag2find

Tag2find is a memory-resident program that can apply tags to all of your local files. It can be optionally accessed from the right click context menu, a search box within the taskbar or the IE toolbar, or a floating searchbar (tagbar) that can be launched from the tray menu and moved around the desktop.

Currently Tag2find supports NTFS file systems only, and is free for personal use.

“Directories & folders”, states the Tag2find website, “were the structure of the 20th century. Now it’s time for something new” … that something new being tagging, of course. And they have a

point: one reason why tagging is such a great idea is that you can apply multiple tags to

any individual file in order to categorize it, rather than being confined to a single location within a folder structure. You can then use these tags to find the relevant files that you might be looking for when you need them.

Here’s a quick example: say you have 2 word documents “text1.doc” and “text2.doc”, both of which are relevant to the same client (say ’client A’), except they pertain to 2 different projects (say “opti” for the first one and “SEO” for the second). Thus “text1.doc” might be tagged “document, client A, opti”, and “text2.doc” tagged “document, client A, SEO”. Doing a search on “client A” in the Tag2find “tagbox” (or clicking on clientA in a tag cloud) will display both files in the Tag2find browser, and so on.

More info on this program:

  • The data: upon installation you are prompted to identify the folder where you would like to save the program data (if other than the default location). The program can also import and export data if you are reinstalling your computer or moving your files to a new one.
  • Beginning the tagging process: this can be quite a bit of work early on. Tag2find offers a wizard that can perform multi tagging based on rules; for example folder path names can be used as tags, file extensions can be tagged (e.g. tagging “image” for JPG and other image formats), and the metadata in some files (e.g. MP3s) can be used by the wizard to tag as well. I personally did not use the wizard as I prefer to tag my files/folders manually.
  • Tagging: there are multiple ways to tag; through the context menu, by dragging and dropping on the Tag2find toolbar (in the taskbar), the floating tagbox, or the tag browser.
  • Tagging folders: the folder and all its contents recursively (including other folders) can be tagged in one fell swoop. This was useful to me as I tend to put files that belong to the same project in project folders. One drawback to this is that hidden and system files and are tagged as well, which I hadn’t intended. Note that the folders themselves can be tagged, not just files.
  • The ’Tag Browser’: this is the main program console where you can search tags, access the tag cloud, and do a number of things (including filter your list of files using a number of useful pre-set filters, edit the tags themselves, and jump to a file’s location in explorer.
  • File monitoring: tag2find can monitor a set of folders (and file extension types) and notify you whenever a new file is created or downloaded into them. This allows you to quickly tag these files on the spot and ensure that your new files are tagged.
  • Drag and drop: you can drag and drop files from the tag browser into your desktop or any other location (this will move it; ctrl-drag to copy).
  • Memory use: I’m estimating that the services running in the background take up around 18 or so megs in memory, which is certainly reasonable for such an ambitious program. Launching the tab browser however adds to this considerably (a whopping 100+ megs), but this is intermittent and you won’t have it running and consuming memory all the time. There is an improved performance mode that consumes more resources which I didn’t test.
  • Free: for personal use.
  • Media integration: can play media files by integrating Windows Media Player 9+. (Personally I do not care much for that feature).

Wish list

  • The option to add a “tag” column to the ’detailed’ windows folder view, to provide at-a-glance tags info from within the windows file system.
  • The option to exclude certain extensions (e.g. .lnk) from the new file monitor and/or from being tagged in general. Also the option to exclude hidden or system files from tagging.

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The verdict: a very nice, well designed program. Depending on how you use your computer it can add a lot of value and significantly boost your productivity and the way you work with your files. Highly recommended.

Version Tested:

Compatibility: Windows XP or Vista 32 bit. Requires Microsoft .NET framework (installer will download and install this if not available). Requires an NTFS-formatted hard drive to work.

Go to download page to get the latest version (approx 2.23 megs). Also visit the program home page.

Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • http://elstruthio.com el struthio

    I’ve often thought that tagging files would be useful – especially for people like myself who tend to be a bit disorganized with their saving.

    One item I would add to your wish list is integration into the Save As dialog so adding tags becomes as natural as giving a file a name.

  • Ken

    I would very much like a link on your site of your “picks”. I know that you have a top 20 which may be them all, but if not, I would certainly like this link.

    Love the site, and thank you,

  • http://smallman.wordpress.com rightbrainer

    First one of its kind. Thank you.

  • Svein

    It surely is a nice idea to tag everything, but it must be done properly, when tagging a file the tag must stay with the file not in some obscure database forcing you to use a special application in order to see your tag.
    Tag2find gets a four star for the idea, but only one star for the implementation. That’s my opinion at least.

  • Guy

    If I were to take a guess how this program works I would say it is saving the tags in a NTFS data stream, so in a since the tags are saved with the file. There are some weaknesses to this method, e.g. the tags are only retained if archiving a file to a NTFS file system (they are not saved when backing up files to CD). Unfortunately there is no way around this. Even if Microsoft implemented this in Windows you would still have this limitation.
    I would LOVE for the Save As dialog to include a tags field, but I don’t think it is easily achievable. Some background is needed to understand why. When you click OK on the Save Dialog the dialog tells the program what you want to name the file. It is up to the program at that point to actually create the file. Therefore it would be hard for the extension (or even Microsoft) to implement this. I only solution I can think of at this time would be to catch the filename from the Save As dialog and watch for the file to be created (using ReadDirectoryChangesW), once the exists then the tags can be saved to it.

  • Colin

    Yes, the drawback is that the tags can’t be exported – if you try to copy the file to (say) a USB key, Windows will tell you that your file will lose data (the tags). they then need to be reconstructed – time consuming.

    There is another very useful program “Doctagger” which puts its tags into the “keywords” properties in Word and Powerpoint, so they can be exported ok and Windows Search can also find the files faster. Doctagger also puts a tagbar at the top of the doc or presentation, so you can quickly find all docs with that tag. Unfortunately, the author seems to have abandoned Doctagger, so it would be nice if somehow Tag2Find and Doctagger could be combined.

  • John Smith

    Well, for sure this little gem would help me to tag those pictures I have.

    I’ve been looking for this kind of app because not all pictures in my computer are tag-able, most of them are GIF, PNG, WMF, lot’s of TGA, and JPG files.

    That, or there’s a program that can automatically categorize my pictures using some super-duper-hi-tech AI on image-recognition that I never heard of.

  • Colin

    John you might also consider “iTAG” from http://www.itagsoftware.com/ but only for your jpegs!

    The beauty is that the tags stay with the images even if uploaded to Flickr and are searchable in Copernic and Picasa too. (Must try Smugmug today)

    I don’t have any interest, other than as a guy with a lot of jpegs that needed tagged. Cheers.

  • http://www.sternengarten.info Nimue

    Does something like that exist for win2k?

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    Can we integrate this program with windows search engine that comes with vista?


  • shazia

    its works great ,a very good memory resident programm i like it….

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