Working with Labels


Although this section is marked with the new version icon, labels aren't really a new feature, but one that has returned to the Mac OS from Mac OS 9. Labels enable you to color code and text code files and folders as a means of identifying and organizing them. For example, you can assign all the folders for a specific project using the same label. In addition to making the relationship between these folders clearer, you can choose to group items within a window by label, which keeps them near one another as well.

Setting Up Labels

You can assign text to the color labels by using the following steps:

  1. Open the Finder Preferences dialog box.

  2. Click the Labels button to open the Labels pane, which contains the seven label colors. Underneath each color is its text label, which by default is the name of the color.

  3. Edit the text labels for each color to match your label needs.

  4. Close the Preferences dialog box.

Applying Labels

You can apply labels to a folder or file by using the following steps:

  1. Select the items to which you want to apply a label.

  2. Open the Action pop-up menu or the contextual menu.

  3. Select the label you want to apply to the selected labels.

When an item has a label applied to it, its name is highlighted in the label's color. When you view a window in the Columns or List view, a bar filled with the label color covers the row in which the item is located. If you view a window in the List view and select to show the Label column, the label text appears in the Label column for the item.


If you view a window in Icon view, you can choose to keep items grouped by label. This keeps all the files with which you have associated a specific location together in the window.

    Part I: Mac OS X: Exploring the Core
    Part III: Mac OS X: Living the Digital Life