Tips and tricks: Tags

If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time adding new pages and uploading new files to your wiki. Over time, we — that is, you — have ended up with hundreds of pages and files. Probably. And you need a good way to keep track of them.

Which would mean you are so very happy that you can use tags to keep track of all those pages and files. Because tags are a super-simple way to categorize and classify all those tricky little cyber-assets that it would otherwise be so easy to lose.

What can I do with these “tags”?
Oh, we’re so glad you asked. When you tag a file or a page, it’s like slapping a little magic LoJack on it that makes it come when called (if you’ll forgive our mixed metaphor). Say you create a page with an assignment for your students, and you tag it “homework.” But, to do that homework, they need to download a worksheet. So you upload the PDF, and you tag that “homework,” too. When your students look for “homework,” both tags come running.

Or maybe you want to get a quick snapshot of all the pages each member of your team has been working on. If you’ve all been tagging those pages as you go, a search will give you an instantaneous list of all of Terry’s pages.

How do I tag something?
Nothing could be simpler. For files, go to Manage Wiki > Files, and select Show Tags, History, and Size. The tags for each file will appear under the file name. To tag a file, click the Edit link under the file name and type your new tag. Once you’re done, click Save to save your tags.

When you create a new page with the New Page button, it asks you right out if you want to tag the page. If you decide you want to tag an existing page — or change or delete tags on an existing page — you just click the down arrow on the Page tab and choose Details and Tags. You can manage the tags right there. Or you can go to Manage Wiki > Pages and tick the Show Tags and History box.

There’s no limit to the number of tags you can add to a page or file, and no limit to the number of pages and files that can share the same tag. So don’t be stingy.

Now that I’ve tagged them, how do I find them again?
If you just want to track something down, you can either search or filter.

To search for tagged files and pages, simply type the tag into the Search box in your wiki’s sidebar. You’ll see the tag listed in the search results. Just click on it to see all the pages and files with that tag.

Or you can filter by tags to find the page or file you want. Go to Manage Wiki and pick either Pages or Files. To the right, you’ll find a list of existing tags. Just click the on you’re looking for, and the list will be narrowed to only the pages/files with that tag. Or, if you have a whole bunch of tags, you can type the one you want into the Find Tag field, and it will pop right up.

You can also filter by tags when you’re adding a file to a page. On the right-hand side of the file upload tool, you will see Filter by Tag and Find Tag. You can use either option to narrow down your search.

And you can always go to Manage Wiki > Tags to see the complete list of tags, how often they’re used, and the last time they were applied.

…and that’s it?
Of course not! Would we be so excited if it were? You can also limit to a single tag whenever you embed a List of Wiki Pages widget on any page in your wiki. Just enter the tag you want to narrow by in the Show Pages Tagged field. (I use this one myself. The To Do page on my wiki has an In Progress column that links to all my projects with “ongoing” tags, and a Completed column for my finished projects. Easy reference!)

Or you could embed a tag cloud into your page or navigation bar. The tag cloud is a visual list of all tags you’ve assigned to any of the pages in your wiki. Tags that you’ve used a lot are BIG AND BOLD, and tags that you haven’t used all that much are little and meek. Hover your mouse over any tag to see how times you’ve used it in your wiki. Click it to get a list of the pages you tagged.

And because we absolutely love tags, we’re always finding better things to do with them. Like bulk tagging and—

Ah, but that would be giving too much away. Trust us on this one, though: it will be pretty great. And we’ll tell you as soon as we can.

If you’ve found other interesting things you can do with tags, leave a comment below to let everyone know about it. And if you have any questions, shoot us an email at help@wikispaces.com and we’ll sort you right out.

NOTE: In April, 2011, we release a new navigation bar. Now you can sort the pages in your side navigation by tag. Read more.

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15 Comments

  1. rekaz
    Posted June 25, 2010 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    how could i change the style and the bacjground of my wiki??
    thank you

  2. Posted June 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I am also a very big fan of tags. One request: could you PLEASE change the layout of your tag cloud: the large tags are _so ugly_ I get this comment a lot from clients: the difference between a small tag and the next larger tag is way too big. Look at other tag clouds, there the difference between min tag and max tag is much less, and also the size gradually increases, instead of so abruptly. If you could take this into account into your redevelopment of the tag cloud feature, I would be very grateful. It would make Wikispaces even more professional.

  3. Posted June 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m a tech newbie (not chronologically!), but I like this!
    I’m learning and hope to keep on learning with guides like this one.
    Keep up the good work!

  4. Debbie
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi rekaz,

    You can change those items by signing into your account, going to your wiki, selecting Manage Wiki, and selecting Look & Feel. If you have any trouble let us know at help@wikispaces.com

    Cheers,
    Debbie

  5. Debbie
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi Aldo,

    Thank you for the feedback. We appreciate the information about our tag clouds.

    Cheers,
    Debbie

  6. broaderevs
    Posted July 4, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I use tags on my pages (great for de-cluttering the navigation pane) but hadn’t realised we could also do this for files.

    Is there a way to “bulk” add tags to files?
    Having to do them one at a time kinda negates the advantage of time in having them tagged.

  7. Debbie
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi broaderevs,

    Not at this time. However, we do have it on our future to do list. If you send us an e-mail at help@wikispaces.com we can notify you once the feature is available.

    Cheers,
    Debbie

  8. chris
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    can I have tag hierarchies? that i can use to navigate?

    say I have year and a item family super tags, and below, a number of years, and a number of items.
    i want then to display all links (hopefully via an image link, say the main image for the item family) for the year or the family or a combination.

  9. chris
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    in-place page renaming (like tagging) would be good.
    clicking on them one by one to open a new page, rename, save is way too slow.
    bulk tagging would be good.
    folders to organise pages would be good too.
    finally, the page name and page title should be allowed to be different: one is used to organise the pages [manage wiki > pages], one is used for display.

  10. chris
    Posted August 2, 2010 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    Folders to organise tags would be good also.

    Search by tag too (with tag name tag title) with search tags accessible via folder hierarchy [i.e. I want to use the year tags, i expand “year” and choose tags 1998 and 1999].

  11. chris
    Posted August 4, 2010 at 2:20 am | Permalink

    Unsure I am very clear.

    My need is:
    1- There would be hundreds of tags, thousands of pages, and I need to organise my pages and tags in the pages and tags “manage wiki” entries. So the country pages would be together, either in a country folder or called country:japan, country:russia, etc. But they have to just show Japan as their title. Same for tags.
    2- To retrieve the right page, a way to filter by tag: Section Country, check box Japan, Section Year, check 1999 and 1998. Click GO.
    3- The links to the retrieved pages must be brought back as image links, taking the first image on the page and the page title.

    What do you think?

  12. sara
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    Hello!
    i much appreciate the way of the tag clouds in the wiki, as we are working only with them in our new media-pedagogics wiki- but i have to agree with aldos post! the break between the minsize and maxsize is to low! it looks so _ugly_!
    maybe you have a css code i can add for mage the size for my own? or are you doing something more user-optimized? that would be cool!
    keep up the good work! greez from sunny switzerland
    sara

  13. Posted August 12, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Sara – Unfortunately it’s not easy to control the tag cloud with custom CSS. We’ll fix it!

    Chris – Thanks for the detailed description. I’m not sure we’ll have a system that meets your need exactly, but we’re working hard on pushing tags and navigation in the direction you’re describing. Our aim is that organizing and filtering works everywhere: lists, search, navigation, etc. Bulk tagging will appear shortly, as will better filtering in lists. You can also get a flavor of what we’re doing around navigation in comments on our subpages post:

    http://tangient.wpengine.com/2010/07/tips-and-tricks-subpages.html

  14. Posted August 24, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    So adding tags to existing pages is not possible at this time? That’s sad. :(

  15. Posted August 25, 2010 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    PunkMaister — of course you can add tags to an existing page! On the Page menu dropdown, click ‘Details and Tags’. You can add and remove tags there. A bulk interface for changing tags is coming soon.

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