help! Tags become groups?!

I’m struggling with the following problem (and it currently makes me mad…)

I have a large database with >50.000 documents for my phd thesis and I’m trying to get control again…

There is a lot of information which I try to sort into categories (which might overlap) by using tags.
(I later want to use those tags to write a literature review about different topics.)

The Tags folder in this database contains (at least it sais) >1000 entries and I need to sort them and get an overwiew.

I hoped to get more control by “nesting” the tags,
e. g. by putting tags for process parameters as a child of the tag with the process name, etc.

the problem/question:

I wanted to reduce the number of tags by deselecting “use groups as tags” in the database properties, but suddenly, some of my tags had disappeard.
I then saw, that some tags have a folder icon and some have the real tag icon, so it seems that some of my tags have become groups.

Can anybody tell me:

  • how does that happen? (maybe by replicating them to a real group or by creating an “alias” of them in another tag)?

  • how can I make a tag a tag (and not a group)?

please help!


p.s. is there a way to make the tags bar at the bottom of a document window bigger?
If a document has many tags, I can only see the first ones assigned… :frowning:

Groups are tags and tags are groups. But groups can be excluded from tagging, either per database (via File > Database Properties) or via the Info panel. Changing these options doesn’t change the database.

“Ordinary tags” are those groups located inside the “Tags” group. They’re displayed blue in the Tags bar or in the Tags view whereas “group tags” are displayed gray.

Hi Christian,

I knew that so far.
But how is it possible that a tag (which was created as a tag) becomes a group (folder icon)?

I think I see, what I did to make that happen.
The question is: is it a bug or a feature? (or something else :wink:)

I replicated some tags into a group to have direct access to their contents from there. Why I did that? Because it seemed much easier than creating a smart group (where I can not drop additional objects on) and - you know - a tag is a group is a tag is a group is a …

As soon as I do that (replicate a Tag anywhere outside the Tags group), its icon changes to the folder and it is treated like a group (= not available for tagging, if I use that option in the database properties).

So finally I assume that I did something which was not planned as a normal usage of the database?!
However, for me it was surprising.

I have learned, that I shall not use tags as replicates in groups, but instead create a smart group.
And if I want to group several tags together with a “super-tag”, I have to create that one in the tags group and move or replicate the “sub-tags” there.

Is that correct?

2 remarks:

  1. in the above described case: the original tag only becomes a tag again, if I move its replicate to the trash AND empty it.

  2. what happens (or what should logically happen), if
    a) the user creates a group which has the same name as an existing tag?
    b) the user creates a tag which has the same name as an existing group?
    Will those 2 be linked together?
    AFAIK they are not, so the user would have to create the “one-way-link” by adding the tag name to the tags of the group, so any element in the group would automatically “inherit” the tag, no?

“Ordinary tags” exist only inside the “Tags” group. Therefore replicating them to another place converts them to a “group tag” or to a group if groups are excluded from tagging.

That’s correct.


Adding a tag to a group automatically adds the tag to all items inside the group.

Thanks, Christian!

If I only would have tried/asked that before creating such a mess in my database.

an other question occurred:

how can I get a tag back from the trash?

I had two replicates of a tag in the tags group.
I want to delete one of those and send it to the trash.

When I empty the trash, the other replicate is also gone.

Did I make a mistake, or is this what it’s supposed to be?

other Example:
I have 2 tags with the same name (exactly) which are nested in two different other tags.
I want to remove one of them and send it to the trash -> the icon of the 2nd one becomes a folder and I fear that both will be removed if I empty the trash.
Is that true?

The behavior of duplicate tag groups is still a mystery for me… :frowning:

[edit 2011-03-02]
to be continued here:
“Deleting tags also deletes tagged items?!”