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OS X Mavericks and OpenMeta tags


I have been checking Mavericks ability to handle OpenMeta tags which are essential for organizing academic reference files. I really hoped that the tags integrated in OS X would be compatible with my existing tagging system. At the moment I have the following  observations:

1. Clarification by St.ClairSoft (updated October 25, 2013)

St.Clair Software (the makers of DefaultFolderX) provided the following illuminating clarification in this Google Groups discussion thread in July this year:

The difference [between OpenMeta and Mavericks tags] is_ that the [_file]_ attribute name is kMDItemUserTags instead of kMDItemOMUserTags . … OpenMeta tag data will need to be migrated … in order to be seen natively by Mavericks. (emphasis mine — AC).

2. HoudaSpot: perfect handling of tags!

HoudahSpot seems to be the first app that made this difference crystal clear and provided a tool for migrating OpenMeta to Mavericks tags for selected files. Well done!

HoudahSpot ability to select OpenMeta and Mavericks Tags, compare and merge them
HoudahSpot ability to select OpenMeta and Mavericks Tags, compare and merge them

3. Tags in Spotlight and Finder (updated October 25, 2013 )

Initially (before October 25) Spotlight default search attributes did not differentiate between OpenMeta and Mavericks tags as shown below:


As of October 25, Mavericks Spotlight added the OMTags to its search. (However, see comment by Tom Andersen who thinks it’s just because I use a specific tagging software)

Updated Spotlight search differentiates between OM and Mavericks OS X tags

4. DefaultFolderX (updated October 28, 2013)

Tags added through DefaultFolderX are OpenMeta tags. To add Mavericks tags one need to type them in at the top part of the Save dialogue.


Save dialogue supported by DefaultFolder X

5. DevonThink

DevondThink 2.6 and higher advertise that it both imports Mavericks tags and exports with such tags. Indeed, I was able to tag a file in OS X and then import it into DevonThink with preserving that tag. The reverse process did not work for me: exporting documents from DevonThink did not export tags (although one could add tags as in any Save dialogue in OS X — but what’s the point then?). Neither did assigning tags in DevonThink result in these tags being available in Finder (although perhaps Finder just does not see them yet — see above).

6. Leap (updated October 31, 2013)

Leap (version 3.x) allows to assign Tags which are both OM and Mavericks. Earlier versions of Leap tagged with OpenMeta — so if you used these for tagging you may want to merge them using HoudahSpot or another tool. Leap search handles both OM and Mavericks tags.

7. MailTags (updated October 28, 2013)

MailTags assign OpenMeta, not Mavericks tags to email messages. Mavericks tags cannot be assigned to email from within Apple Mail. However, HoudahSpot can migrate OpenMeta to Mavericks tags to mail messages as well (see above).

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About Aleh Cherp

Aleh Cherp is a professor at Central European University and Lund University. He researchers energy and environment and coordinates MESPOM, a Masters course operated by six Universities.

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