You might think that the best way to organise your files is by folder, categorising by date, subject matter, or document type. But if you’re dealing with a lot of documents or files, this structure can quickly become bloated and difficult to navigate when you’re looking to find information quickly.
That’s why mattero uses tags instead of more traditional folders. Tags allow you to organise your files intuitively and find them easily. Let’s look at how.
What’s the Difference Between Tags and Folders?
Tags are saved in the metadata of the file itself, whereas folders, much like in the days of the physical filing cabinet, are external to the file. Documents can have multiple tags, allowing them to be accessed from different keywords or topics.
While you can’t add the same file to multiple folders, it can have multiple tags, allowing you to categorise your files in more than one place at once. An example of this you might be familiar with is social media: if your friend posts a photo of you on Instagram and tags your profile, that photo can then be seen in your friend’s Instagram feed, or in your tagged photos feed. You don’t need to scroll through your friend’s feed to find the photo again, you can access it from your own profile.
On the other hand, to find a file in a folder, you need to be familiar with the structure of the filing system before you start looking. Often, you’ll need to know additional information the file before you find it, for instance the year it was created. Using tags removes this issue and allows for more intuitive file searching.
Why Does mattero Use Tags Instead of Folders?
Using a folder-based system, you may need to navigate through several levels of folders before you find the document you’re looking for. It may be simple when you set it up, but if you need to remember the year, the matter, and the subfolder to look in any time you are trying to find a document or file, things can soon get messy. Add in new team members who may take time to get used to your system, and files and documents can soon become impossible to find.
At mattero, we’re all about streamlining your everyday tasks. Tags simplify your search process, and give you greater flexibility in sorting, filtering and classifying documents, so the documents you need are always at your fingertips. You don’t need a file index, so if you expand or onboard new staff, they can access the documents they need from day one. Accidental duplication is prevented as documents can be found intuitively.
How to Use Tags to Organise Your Files in mattero
You can configure tags during your initial mattero setup, or later as needed. Tags already in place (such as in documents from a government entity) will remain when imported to mattero, as assigned tags are saved to the document itself and remain throughout its lifecycle.
You can specify default tags for different practice areas by navigating to System > Documents > Document Tags. This way when you add a new matter, there are a defined list of tags for that type of matter. Within each matter, you can then create tags specific to that matter when needed, and configure tags on your template documents. You can assign tags to emails and their attachments, so they are pre-classified when you save them to your matter. You can also create a brief from document tags automatically, creating sections in the brief based on the document tags selected.
How to Get the Most Out of Tags
Like most things, you will need to have a plan in place for how you will use your tags to get the best out of them. Start with your key subjects, thinking about your different practice areas. Make sure that your tagging system is consistent and standardised, for instance will your tags be singular or plural? Create a master list and refer back to it as you get used to using tags. Tags should be short, and if you find yourself using more than 2-3 words in a tag, consider splitting it into more than one tag. You’ll use tags differently from folders, so although it may be tempting, avoid recreating a folder structure. When you’re setting up your tags, have a think about how you look for documents and files and start from there. It can also be useful to include status tags so you can easily find documents for current matters.
Tip: if you’re used to a chronological folder structure, try configuring your matter numbers to automatically include the year the matter was created. It’s then simple to sort matters by year.
If you’re used to a folder system, it may take a little time to get used to using tags, but we’ve found that using tags makes finding documents and files in mattero a much more intuitive user experience, allowing you flexibility and transparency that folders simply can’t compete with.