Controlling the bloated number of tags shown in Finder's sidebar

I’m at my wits’ end with Finder Tags. (Again!) My suspicion is that the number of tags showing in my Finder sidebar (hundred) is causing Finder to slow down significantly (it’s regularly at 100% and hangs after adding new tags). Whenever I take the time to manually delete each of them, they just all reappear. And they also show up on iOS. Has anyone found a way to hack the plist or something (on Big Sur) to get this sort out?

I think the best thing to do is open the Tags tab of Finder’s Preferences pane and delete all the tags you do not want. Or all of them. Can take a ‘very long time’ but it’s worth it.

Then, if you happen to use DEVONthink, then activate the setting in to disable DEVONthink creating and importing Finder tags. The setting is in DEVONthink Help > Documentation > Appendix > Hidden preferences.

Be careful before doing either of these changes, however, since they initiates a massive change in the file system – and in your DEVONthink databases. Not inherently dangerous changes, but far-reaching and irreversible if you’ve relied on these tags for any purpose.

I had this problem a while back and wound up with a couple thousand tags, thanks to DEVONthink and/or my lack of knowledge. Here’s are some command-line strategies to remove them. Caveat emptor.

Thanks for the suggestions! I ended up creating a Keyboard Maestro macro – via the “recording” function – which right-clicked on a selected tag in the sidebar, and then clicked on “Remove from sidebar”. Ran it as a repeated macro, batches of 100 at a time, and that cleaned it up.

The tagging insanity persists in the sidebar on iOS/iPadOS (and that doesn’t sync), but that’s par for the course.…