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filesystem organizationOnce you’ve played around with tags for a while, you’ll really begin to wonder why user data in file systems isn’t organised by tag. For the bulk of the file system, folders make sense, but for user data it can quickly become a nightmare of aliases and folders which don’t actually contain what you’re looking for.

Mac’s Spotlight can help you to find what you’re after eventually, but for those of us who actually try to stay organised, we’re keen to make it simple to find exactly what we need when we need it. Elyse is able to help here, by providing a free tag-based file management solution for Mac and Windows.

Why Tag Files?

If you’re not already on the file system tag bandwagon, think about things we habitually tag online. Photos, blog posts and music genres are all generally tagged online rather than placed in folders. Can you imagine sites like placing all classical music in a folder called “Classical” rather than tagging with other useful genres such as “Choral” or “Baroque“? Things would get out of hand pretty quickly and it would be very difficult to be able to find the exact music you wanted to listen to.

It’s the same with your file system. On sites like Flickr you can tag your photos with the city you were in, some detail of the subject of the photo and many other things you find useful. On a regular file system you’re stuck using folders, so most people wind up with photos arranged by date taken as it’s one of the only ways the photos will ever be found again. If only you could tag all those photos…

However, it’s not just photos. What about essays? Letters? Spreadsheets? Once you start thinking about it, tags make much more sense than folders and will go a long way toward improving filesystem organization.

Get Elyse

Download a free copy of Elyse for Mac or Windows. We’ll be taking a closer look at the Mac version in particular. Installation for Mac is straight-forward – all you do is open the .dmg download and drag the application to your applications folder.


The first thing you’re faced with is the need to create a default database. Once “Create Default Database” is clicked, you’ll be presented with a beginner guide to Elyse and instructions to create a fresh database to start your file tagging.

filesystem organization

Add & Tag Files

Adding your files is easy – all you do is drag and drop the files you want to tag into Elyse. Elyse then automatically creates tags based on your folder names, so you’re halfway organised already!

Elyse - Keep Your Filesystem More Organized By Tagging Everything [Mac & Windows] Elyse Add Folders

Add new tags by clicking on the “New Tag” button in the menu. New tags can be dragged and dropped throughout the tag tree as you wish. You can also rearrange these tags and hierarchies without disrupting the original location of the file on your filesystem.

filesystem organization


Mac users can also use Quicksilver to tag files, while Windows 7 users can tag photos and office documents natively. However, Elyse is a solution which will allow you to tag any files you like and keep track of things in one place. There’s also a few other tools you could try, such as Tagged Frog TaggedFrog - Cool File Tagging App for Windows TaggedFrog - Cool File Tagging App for Windows Read More for Windows or Tag It Simple Ways To Organize Your Files In Mac Simple Ways To Organize Your Files In Mac Read More for Mac.

Does file system What A File System Is & How You Can Find Out What Runs On Your Drives What A File System Is & How You Can Find Out What Runs On Your Drives Read More tagging work for you? Do you use Elyse or some other program? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. André Calero Valdez
    July 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Try niftybox!

    • Angela Alcorn
      August 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Niftybox also looks cool - much the same as Elyse. :)

  2. trevearp
    July 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    How would you compare this to 'Tabbles'? I believe there is a limited-capacity free version, but no Mac version. 

    • Angela Alcorn
      August 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      I'd never heard of Tabbles until now. Tabbles looks pretty awesome, but yes there's no app for mac. Tabbles also looks to be more collaborative and focused on Social Media tagging as well. Could be worth looking into more. :)

  3. Ragundo
    July 29, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Don't forget Tabbles
    It's a good alternative but with little activity lately

    • Angela Alcorn
      August 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm