Tagging Pictures (& other files) in Windows

Putting a (hash)tag on something really helps to find it later, along with everything else with that tag on it. There appears to be no way to tag photos in Windows10 Photos App (which is otherwise a really slick photo app!) and a colleague asked how he could tag his drama production images so that he can find them easily. So here’s how:

Head on over to File Explorer

Click on the VIEW ribbon and make sure DETAILS PANE is clicked; this opens a panel on the right with the stored details of the image (this works for JPGs not PNGs… it works for many kinds of files besides just images, so you could tag Office files, PDFs, etc). I also set it to LARGE ICONS so I can see the image fairly well.

In the DETAILS PANE you have a space for TAGS — click where it says ADD A TAG and type your tag.

If you want more than one tag, separate them by a semi-colon ;

Then click the SAVE button at the bottom of the Details — if you don’t click SAVE you will lose your tags (we’re so used to auto-save in every other app that this is a little irritating).

You can use CTRL-Click or SHIFT-Click through the images and select multiple images and add a tag (or tags) to all of them at once. I used CTRL-Click here to select the two pictures with police in them.

Notice that after you’ve started tagging that tags will start to be suggested — this is handy for consistency. I should go in and change “policeman” and “policemen” to just “Police”.

When you do a Search (upper right corner) for one of your tags, your tagged images will now show up!

If you go back to the VIEW ribbon and choose DETAILS you can see all of your images with a column for TAGS. You can edit the tags in this view, but it’s more difficult to see the images simultaneously and multi-select&edit. (If it’s not there… and it should be… there’s an ADD COLUMNS button on the VIEW ribbon).

Now, the IT person inside me says “this should be automated and auto-tagged” but that isn’t cheaply or universally available yet. Plus, my colleague will need to do some personalization, as he’s taking pictures of drama productions he’s producing. But really, things like “dog”, “police” and “laptop” should be automated!

Finally, as I italicized above, this isn’t just for images — you can tag any Office file. In the Office app, click on the FILE ribbon and then click on INFO … you’ll see a TAG field just like in File Explorer and you can add the tags there! Those tags will get picked up by Search now, too.

Someone suggested “just put them all in a folder” — but a folder is only one “tag” — using tags lets you layer information on a picture/file so in my examples above, I have police pictures — but one is a motorcycle and I have other motorcycle pictures that are not police, so if I use tags police & motorcycle I can pull either group of pictures using Search. With a folder, I’d only have police pictures. Or motorcycle pictures. It’s better to have options!

Cal Armstrong
Cal Armstrong
Articles: 223

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