Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Use labels to speed Finder navigation Desktop
Here's a simple organizational tip that could save you quite a bit of time. Do you keep your files in a nice tidy hierarchy? Does this mean you are always drilling down to get to files you are currently using a lot?

Well, pick a colour for your current project (I use red). Then mark every step on the path to the file with a red Finder label. Then, when you have to navigate down, all you need to do is find the parent folder and click anything red. It's a lot quicker, and works in open/save dialogs too.

I know there are the Sidebar, the Dock and toolbars, but these are filled up with stuff I always need. I don't want to put extra stuff in there I will only need for a week or so. Labels do the job quite well.
    •    
  • Currently 3.33 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (3 votes cast)
 
[10,772 views]  

Use labels to speed Finder navigation | 15 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Use labels to speed Finder navigation' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: Kylector on Nov 23, '04 12:09:32PM

I don't this exists in Panther, but when Tiger comes out this will be even more handy with smart folders. You'll be able to have a smart folder of all (example) red labeled items, which will make the navigation you describe even easier and just a single click away. Sweet.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: joestalin on Nov 23, '04 04:09:08PM

Actually, when Tiger comes out, you'll be able to create a smart folder that, say, shows all docs revised within the last N days under your Work folder. Or whatever.

This hint involves more steps than just dragging your current-project folder to the Finder's sidebar (which will appear in your save/open dialogs too), and that's not a big commitment, but hey, to each his own.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: jporten on Nov 23, '04 12:09:41PM

I think if I used this tip, my Finder would resemble a bowl of Froot Loops.

I have two primary uses for labels: 1) I gray label all folders in my Docs folder that should probably be in my Library (i.e., "Microsoft User Data"), so I can scan past it quickly. 2) I have an AppleScript that gray labels and unlabels my Desktop files for those pictures which make titles hard to read.

Strikes me that an AppleScript would be perfect for Dogboy's tip -- choose a file, and then recursively set the label of all containers until name of container is "Documents".



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: dogboy on Nov 23, '04 01:36:33PM

An Applescript would be great. I'm a bit shaky with anything but the most basic of scripts, but if anyone wants to write one and post it here, that would be great.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: koelling on Nov 23, '04 08:37:23PM

I'd love to see a recursive labelmaker. I tend to mark files that need archived in blue, but when I add one photo to a long chain of directories it's hard to find out that there's one file in there that needs added to my next CD. If there was an easy way to mark "dirty" files and make them visible all the way up to my home folder it'd be great.

Of course, I saw the hint about Tiger's smart folders so soon this point will be moot.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: wnorris on Nov 23, '04 08:45:00PM
instead of making folders like "Microsoft User Data" grey, why not just hide them completely. I don't remember if Finder directly allows this, but I know it is possible via the command line or I just used XRay

[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: glusk on Nov 23, '04 12:12:10PM

Kinda silly as this hint basically told me to use a feature that I knew about and was staring me in the face for ever. But I haven't used labels for anything since OS8 and even then not really.

I use column view almost exclusively and there are a few things I use regularly that I now have labeled in red. I really does make them easier to find.

Just saying thanks for a simple hint that's equally as useful as some of the long, geeky ones. And thanks to Rob and the posters of the geeky hints. This is my Mac / Unix class.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: atheken on Nov 23, '04 02:02:11PM

is this even a hint?

---
//Andrew Theken



[ Reply to This | # ]
Use labels to speed Finder navigation
Authored by: dogboy on Nov 24, '04 05:26:50AM

It what way is it not a hint? It's not a hack or a hidden feature, but it is a new idea on using stuff built in to X. And useful to others too, considering the response.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Applescript: PathLabeller
Authored by: sinjin on Nov 24, '04 01:03:54AM
I like seeing stuff from people thinking differently. Nice, simple idea. Don't predict I'll need it, but thanks for the opportunity to practice some Applescript (use it or lose it!).

Here is the script in about as simple a form as I could imagine. No input or conditionals. I suspect you could change the variables in Script Editor as needed or save a few copies for different labels and directories (or add in your own dialog/conditionals) and run it from a launcher, script menu or a contextual menu plug in). It will change the labels of every folder up to but not including the top most folder (this made sense to me, the top most would be the starting point so no need to label it).


tell application "Finder"
	set thisItem to selection as alias
	set topMostFolder to "some folder" --Name of the top most folder
	repeat until the name of thisItem is topMostFolder
		set the label index of thisItem to 2 --label value, 0 is no label
		set thisItem to container of thisItem as alias
	end repeat
end tell


[ Reply to This | # ]
Applescript: PathLabeller
Authored by: sinjin on Nov 24, '04 01:51:52AM
Aw hell, it this turned out to be too much fun! Here it is with a "toggle" like action and dialog. This really flies if you use use a launcher app (e.g. Launchbar or Butler). A couple of keystrokes and your whole path lights up or turns off depending on its state

tell application "Finder"
	set thisItem to selection as alias
	set topMostFolder to "1.Work" --Name of the enclosing folder
	if the label index of thisItem is greater than 0 then
		set labelNum to 0
	else
		set labelNum to 2
	end if
	display dialog 
		"Path labeller" & return & return & 
		"Enter the label value (0-7):" default answer labelNum buttons {"Cancel", "Label"} default button 2
	copy the result as list to {labelNum, button_pressed}
	if button_pressed is "Label" then
		set labelNum to labelNum as integer
		repeat until the name of thisItem is topMostFolder
			set the label index of thisItem to labelNum
			set thisItem to container of thisItem as alias
		end repeat
	end if
end tell


[ Reply to This | # ]
Applescript: PathLabeller
Authored by: dogboy on Nov 24, '04 05:22:12AM

Awesome. I use Launchbar too. Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Applescript: PathLabeller
Authored by: osxpounder on Nov 24, '04 01:17:39PM

Thanks for the groovy script. Have you put it through its paces yet--chosen every label? I get weird probs when I run it:

If I choose 1, I actually get Orange, the label that should be number 2.

If I choose 2, I actually get Red, the label that should be number 1.

If I choose 3, I get Yellow, the proper label.

If I choose 4, I actually get Blue, the label that should be 5.

If I choose 5, I actually get Purple, the label that should be 6.

If I choose 6, I actually get Green, the label that should be 4.

If I choose 7, I actually get Gray, the proper label.

No matter what I choose, the script always stops with an error. It labels the entire path, but after doing so, it stops with an error.

I'm not using a launcher app. Instead, I saved the script as an application [no startup screen] and put its alias on my Finder toolbar. I also tried running it directly from Script Editor, first. Results are the same, either way.

The label mismatches are a bit weird, but workable. Is there any way I can stop the script from ending with that error, though?

---
--
osxpounder



[ Reply to This | # ]
Applescript: PathLabeller
Authored by: osxpounder on Nov 24, '04 02:27:15PM

Heh, I figured out why I get the error message: I need to replace "1.Work" in your script with the name of the topmost folder on my own Mac, which, for my purposes, will be "Documents".

Still have no idea why the colors/labels are shuffled around, though.

Now I'm going to graft a dialog box onto this script to remind me that the color choices are mixed up. @whee!

---
--
osxpounder



[ Reply to This | # ]
Applescript: PathLabeller
Authored by: sinjin on Nov 24, '04 02:49:15PM
Glad you like it!
Heh, I figured out why I get the error message: I need to replace "1.Work" in your script with the name of the topmost folder on my own Mac, which, for my purposes, will be "Documents".
Yup. If you don't name the top most folder correctly it will try to keep labelling up to the root level of your drive and reach and error when it can't get any further. Sorry I wasn't more clear that you needed to change it!

The script is pretty bare (no error trapping, etc) so one could add dialogs and handlers to deal with user "mistakes" if they wanted to make it more accessible to others. For example, the script will die if you enter anything other than 0 through 7. With coersion and "try" handlers you could get it to kick back to the user for a valid label entry. You could even get it to accept text (e.g "Red") instead of numbers to be more intuitive, which gets me to your next problem...

Still have no idea why the colors/labels are shuffled around, though.
That isn't an error. For whatever reason the order you see the labels listed in contextual menus does not match their numerical order! There is probably a "legacy" reason for the integer value while the order in the menu is more pleasing to the eye, or something like that.

[ Reply to This | # ]