I can't delete this one annoying tag icon

I’m not using tags in Devonthink but I end up with a lot of them from the documents I import.

My Global Inbox had all these tags in a groups (I guess it was a group?) called ‘Tags’. I tried to delete it but couldn’t. I opened the group and deleted all the tags inside it, so it was just an empty group. I still couldn’t delete this.

I tried dragging it to the sidebar, in case I could get rid of it if it was in a different location. I couldn’t. Strangely, I could rename it (it’s now called ‘Can’t get rid of this icon’) but I can’t get rid of it.

How can I rid my setup of this one persistent little nuisance?

Thank you :slight_smile:

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Welcome @DevonThank :blush:

Are you talking about deleting this?

If so… I don’t think you can.

If you want to stop tags from being imported with your imported documents, you just need to switch the following options off in Preferences.


It would be nice of that Settings pane included an option to simply turn off all Tag support, including that irritating sidebar item already mentioned.

You are where I was when I first discovered Devonthink. I didn’t see a use for tags.

If you wish to see why many users find Devonthink’s tags unparalleled, consider them as an alternate tree of groups. Tags, in Devonthink, are really just groups with a little automation.

If you don’t want to see Tags in your navigation pane, make a group for MyData, or whatever you want to call it. Put all your notes in MyData and subgroups of MyData.

Leave Tags, Annotations, maybe smart groups, and anything else you don’t generally want to see in the root level of your database.

I leave “double click opens groups in new window” turned off in the Interface preferences, so when I double click on a group in the navigation pane it focuses in on that group.

By “navigation pane” I mean the tree of groups where the groups have blue icons, not the sidebar.

Double click on MyData in the navigation pane, turn the sidebar off, and Tags won’t be seen.

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Thank you for your response.

Regarding your first question: The icon I can’t get rid of is actually right beneath Inbox in the ‘Favorites’ section above Globals -

Screen Shot 2023-09-02 at 10.13.39 am

Regarding your second point, many thanks, and I will turn off the tag options, as you advise.

Regards :slight_smile:

I agree, Gordon. It would be helpful if Devonthink allowed one to turn off Tag support. But I expect they have reasons for not doing so :thinking:

Regards :slight_smile:


It’s not that I don’t see a use for tags; it’s more that I’ve chosen to work with groups rather than tags, as suggested in the documentation (or maybe Take Control of Devonthink 3?), because mixing the two can complicate things, and because auto-classification (I haven’t got to that yet) is based on what one does with groups.

Thanks for providing the workaround. I’m still new to Devonthink and I’m uncertain about working with the sidebar turned off. But I’ve taken your suggestion on board and will come back to it if I’m struggling.

Regards :slight_smile:

No, you can’t remove* the Tags group. Like the Trash, it’s a core component of database. However, if you don’t want to see it in the Navigate sidebar, disable Preferences > General > Interface > Sidebar > Unify Tags. The Tags group will then only appear in the item list of each database.

Ah, your tags group show up there because that’s because you have General > Interface > Sidebar: > Unify tags turned on, whereas I have mine turned off.

Edit: Oops I replied before I realised you’d already said the same thing @BLUEFROG :woman_facepalming:t2:

I once had a short email conversation with Joe Kissel and was surprised to learn he isn’t a fan of tagging.

A tag in Devonthink is just a group, though, plus a little bit of automation.

When you add a tag to a file, what happens is the file is replicated to the tag (group). You can do the same sort of automation in groups by turning off the “exclude groups from tagging” option.

Of course, if tags do not fit your workflow, don’t use them.

Beware of certain gateway drugs, though. You may someday find you want to flag a few files for some purpose then discover you need to flag other files for a second purpose.

Be careful. There’s only one flag attribute. Tagging with “Flag Monday” and “Flag Tuesday” could lead to tag addiction.

As far as I know, tags and groups shouldn’t have any conflicts.

I’m always ready to learn better ways, though.

I don’t think anyone’s answered your question as they’ve got sidetracked by the tags label in the sidebar.

To circle back to your problem, I have three troubleshooting sequential questions (I’ve written them in the order I would troubleshoot. If step 1 works, no need to continue, etc.):

  1. The tag you’ve pointed to is showing in Favourites. Are you certain it is coming from the Global Inbox database? How many databases do you have? Have you checked them all to see if they are the location of the tag? You need to delete the tag in its location.

  2. If you can’t find the tag in any of your databases, what happens when you right click on the tag in the Favourites list and select info? Does it give any hints as to where it’s coming from?

  3. Do you run DTTG? If so, is the tag showing on the list of Favourites in there too? If the tag is not syncing across devices, that might tell us something useful.

Sidenote: You can unfavourite the tag, which would remove it from the Favourites list, but it wouldn’t delete the tag from wherever it is hiding. I wouldn’t do this personally as it doesn’t delete the tag, but if you only care about it not being in the Favourites list, that would suffice.

I want to use tags but somehow DT ended up generating 1000’s of tags. I have unchecked the autocreation mentioned above but how do I get rid of the current ones. I can’t delete them and when I so tags in a Database I can’t edit the list that shows up.

Huh, that’s odd; we can delete tags in DT, whether singularly or en masse. How have you been trying to delete them? Maybe share a screenshot of the list of tags you’re seeing?

:rofl: tag addiction is definitely a thing.

As you and many others here have mentioned, it’s up to us how we want to assign meaning/function to the different DT functions.

I used to use tags for everything: source, content type, content themes, status, project, person(s) etc. My tags list blew out to a number that felt unhelpful and I was constantly failing to tag accurately and effectively in all categories, which made tagging inconsistent and much less useful despite the amount of effort.

Recently, I decided to shift almost all other categories to custom metadata, and leave tags for themes and topics specifically. Because it was a better fit for my specific needs, it made my workflow much more effective and efficient. The only downside is that DTTG is harder for me to use now but it’s a small downside I’m happy to live with because I’m more on my MacBook anyway.

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Hi MsLogica,

And thanks for remembering my original question :slight_smile:

  1. The tag in Favorites wasn’t in the Global Inbox, so I opened every other database and checked them all, but I couldn’t find it in any of them. However, when I returned to Favorites, at last I was able to select the tag and hit Remove from Favorites.

So far so good.

Now, however, I have another persistent tag icon in my Global Inbox, called Tags. Maybe it’s the same one, but I had renamed it in Favorites. I can’t delete it or move it to the trash. I can drag it to Favorites, but that only copies or replicates it there because the icon still remains in the Global Inbox. I can remove the tag from Favorites, but I can’t remove it from the inbox. I can, as you suggest, choose Get Info, and it tells me the location is ‘Inbox’.

  1. Sorry, I got rid of it before I could check this.

  2. I do run DTTG and I checked, but the tag wasn’t in the Favorites list there.

To complicate matters, I have a new tag icon labelled “Inbox” which appears at the top of the middle panel when (and only when) I click “Inboxes” in the side panel:

I can Get Info on this, and it says its location is “Inbox” …

When I select “Inbox” in the sidebar, under “Inboxes”, the tag icon at th etop of the middle panel is called “Tags”.

I can’t get rid of either. It’s bewildering … :thinking:


Are you new to DevonThink? I recommend that you read the manual, particularly in this case p88 onwards, which details how the sidebar works (you can download a PDF version of the manual here). It’s also worth reading the section on DT’s interface in Take Control of DT (also available as a free PDF in my previous link) - the sidebar layout is discussed on p34.

The screengrab you’ve shared is “correct”, and is DT’s default sidebar layout, as the manuals will explain.

Jim has answered your query about the tag group above:

They are part of the database structure. The tag icon in your screengrab is light grey because you haven’t assigned any tags in that database.


Would you like to start a new thread and show a screengrab of what you can see and what happens when you try to delete the tags?