Labels and how they work

We are back to the email that we received at Bob LeVitus Consulting over the weekend. John asked how to change the label on an icon. In the previous entry, I explained all about changing icon names. But, perhaps, that was not the real question.

Back in the days of Mac OS 9, there was a feature that allowed the user to add a color label to icons of folders, documents, and even applications. While they make your screen more colorful, they can also be very useful in making items stand out. While this feature was missing in the earliest versions of Mac OS X, it was eventually re-introduced.
We are back to the email that we received at Bob LeVitus Consulting over the weekend. John asked how to change the label on an icon. In the previous entry, I explained all about changing icon names. But, perhaps, that was not the real question.

Back in the days of Mac OS 9, there was a feature that allowed the user to add a color label to icons of folders, documents, and even applications. While they make your screen more colorful, they can also be very useful in making items stand out. While this feature was missing in the earliest versions of Mac OS X, it was eventually re-introduced.



Just how did I add Color Labels? Just like everything on the Mac, there are always several methods to accomplish a task. The first method is to select an item, then go to the File menu and choose "Color Label:" at the bottom of the menu.



Another way to to select the item, then select the gear near the top of the Finder window.



Still another way to add a color label is to select the item, then use the Control key to cause a pop-up contextual menu to appear.



Now that we have some Color Labels, what else can we do with them?

If you are viewing a window in the List mode, it is possible to view the name of each label.



To do that, make sure you are in a list view of the window, then go to the View menu and select "Show View Options" or press Command-J.



You will then see a small dialog box that allows you to set options for just this window or for all windows. Check the Label box.



Yes, I know, having the color's name in the list view is not very useful, but we can fix that. Make sure you are in the Finder (click on the desktop). Go to Finder and choose "Preferences."



In the dialog box, choose the Labels tab and enter whatever name you would like.



Now, the information in the list view is a bit more useful.



It can also be used to do a "Find." To get to this feature, click on the desktop to make sure the finder is active, then go to the File menu. Choose Find -- or just press Command-F.



In the window that opens, click and hold on the "Kind" button and you will see a pop-up. Choose "Color Label." It is interesting that there is no way to choose by the label name if you assigned one in the Finder Preferences window. However, if you chose a color to label items that needed to be backed up or copied to a separate location, being able to find items based on a label color can be very helpful.




In the next entry in this series, I will focus on how to change the picture on an icon. Once again, if you need help learning more about your Macintosh and how to use it, please consider our tutorials, troubleshooting, and technical advise at Bob LeVitus Consulting.

-- Pat

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