Tag filter search

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(Go to:Topicscape Pro User Guide - contents list)

  • Tag filter
    What it does for you: Allows you to filter out all items that are not associated with specified tags. Any topic or occurrence can have tags - you can assign up to ten per topic or occurrence.
    Where it looks: Throughout the entire Topicscape.
    How to start it: Start the appropriate Topicscape, then press Ctrl+2 or use one of the other methods mentioned in the main section.

Any topic or occurrence can have tags - up to ten - and these tags provide a new way of finding things - the tag filter.

When you apply a tag filter, in the Map or 'Scape you will see only topics matching the tags that you filtered on. The others disappear until you turn the filter off. Matching occurrences appear in the Topic Center in bold italics, for easy identification.

This means that you can tag things as, say, "urgent", "personal", "do with Jenny", "delete on Dec 31", "marketing", "blog", "reading" or "check". The tags are independent of the hierarchy or other structure.

So, let's say Jenny walks in the room. You apply the "do with Jenny" tag filter and all you see in your Topicscape are the items to work on together and you can get down to work with all the material you need but without distraction.

A tag filter is a type of search. As with other searches, the matching items all appear in the Hit List, but there's another place to see the results of applying a tag filter: The tag pool. This is to the left of the Hit List and shows all tagged items filtered in - topics and occurrences - set out alphabetically in 3D ranks.


There are several ways of working with tags in Topicscape. You can use keyboard shortcuts, the new Halo menu, the main Edit menu (Search) or a new button on the Details panel. The Halo menu appears when you hover over a topic (see example on the right) and is described in the next section.

For simplicity at first, we will mention just one tag control for each operation. For full details of tag controls, see All the controls at the end of this section.

Adding or removing tags

HaloTagIcon.jpgTo tag topics, click on the tag icon in the Halo menu.


This will show a tag cloud with any tags already selected for that item highlighted in orange. The tag cloud will include all tags you have already used in this Topicscape, plus the standard tags (see Mechanics of tags below). The more frequently used a tag is, the larger will be the lettering, and it may be bold.

The list of tags is shown in alphabetical order. To re-arrange it so that the most-used tags appear first, click on the "Sort by weight" checkbox.

To add a standard (default) tag, or a tag that is already used somewhere else in this Topicscape, just click on it.

To remove the tag on a topic, click the highlighted word and the highlight will disappear.

To add a new tag, one that's not already in the cloud, type it in the text box and click the Add button. Then click OK.

The Clear button is used when you want to clear all tags already assigned to this topic.

To tag occurrences, select the occurrence and click the Tag button at the top left of the Details Panel. The same tag cloud will appear. You can select multiple occurrences in the Topic Center and tag them in once operation.

Filtering by tags


Bring up the tag cloud by clicking the tag button in the toolbar. The tag cloud that appears is a little different to the previous one, because it's designed for searching, not for modifying tags.

In the tag cloud, you will see all tags you have already used in this Topicscape. Choose the tags you want to be included in the results, decide if you want to filter by occurrence or topic only - checkboxes are provided for that - and press the "Filter" button.

If you are inspecting an item's tags in its tag bubble (see below) and you want to see what other items are tagged the same way, the controls are right there in the tag bubble. Simple click on the tags you're interested in, and click the Filter button.

Viewing the results

After applying a tag filter, you will see the Hit list as usual, with items matching the chosen tags. A topic containing an occurrence with a matching tag will appear in the list, even if it does not have a matching tag itself.

Or you can press Ctrl+3 to see the Tag Pool. The items associated with the tags you chose, topics and occurrences, are shown there arranged in ranks.


If you press the Home key, you will see the Map or 'Scape, with only the filtered-in items showing. Topics that are filtered out will leave empty spaces.


To provide a reference point, the Current Topic always remains visible.

Press the Esc key to get back to a normal view.

While a filter is in effect, you'll see a tag status bar near the bottom of the window that reminds you of the tags selected.

Note that tag filters exclude items in Topicscape Orphans even if they are tagged.

Case sensitivity

Tag filtering is case sensitive. "Urgent", "URGENT", and "urgent" are different tags.

Cancelling a filter

If you press the Escape (Esc) key, the Map or 'Scape will show all topics once again, while the Hit List and Tag Pool will still hold the filtered results.

Inspecting an item's tags


To see how a topic is tagged, you can hover over the tag icon in the Halo menu (see below) and a bubble will appear showing the tags assigned to that topic.

To see how a topic or occurrence is tagged, whether the Halo menu is in use or not, select the topic or occurrence, and in its Details Panel, hover over the Tag button.

Searching within a tag filter


If a tag filter is in effect (which you will know by the tag status bar at the foot of the window)), you can do a search in the normal way, by just typing the search term. However, the search will examine only items that match the tag filter. To remind you that you have requested a search limited by the tag filter, Topicscape shows a blue border round the search-term box.

Changing tags throughout a Topicscape

If you wish to make a global change to a tag word, or delete all references to a tag throughout a Topicscape, you can do so.


For example, you might want to change all references in the current Topicscape to the tag "Tuesday meeting" to "Sales meeting", or even delete all references to "Tuesday meeting". This can now be done in one operation.

First, press the radio button for "throughout this Topicscape", and the Add button will be replaced with Edit and Delete buttons.

Key in the tag you want to change. Then you can press Delete to remove all references to that tag anywhere in this Topicscape. Or you can press Edit, and key in the replacement tag.

Mechanics of tags

Tags that you add are linked to an individual Topicscape, rather than appearing in all Topicscapes on that computer. This avoids having many irrelevant tags in all your Topicscapes.

Tags are built up as you use them, but there are a few standard tags, even in a new Topicscape. They are: calendar, contact, image, mail, money, personal, reference, task, today, urgent, web.

When you drag in objects that Topicscape can identify, it will automatically tag them. Examples of this would be image files, emails from Outlook, tasks from Outlook, and web page shortcuts or archives.

All the controls

The quick introduction above mentioned just one control for each function. Depending on what you are doing at the time, and whether you like to use the keyboard as much as possible or the prefer the mouse, you may want other ways of accessing the tag functions. Below, you will find all of the tag controls listed, followed by a handy table.

But we find that most of the time, the simplest way to handle tagging is 1, 2, 3! That means Ctrl+1 to add tags to the selected topic, Ctrl+2 to filter by tags, and Ctrl+3 to go to the Tag Pool.

Adding or removing tags: Select an item and press Ctrl+1; or click tag icon in Halo menu; or click "Tag" button on Details Panel; or click button in item's tag bubble.

Filtering by tags: Press Ctrl+2; or Edit menu | Search | Filter by tags; or select tag button in toolbar; or click "Filter by tags instead" button in search panel. Then choose tags to be included from the tag cloud and press the Filter button.

To filter on just tags in a specific item's tag bubble, select tags from the bubble and click its Filter button.

Viewing results: In the Hit list; or press Ctrl+3 to see Tag Pool; or press Home key to see Map or 'Scape, with only filtered in items showing (topics that are filtered out will leave empty spaces). Note: Topics that do not match the tag filter but contain one or more occurrences that do will be filtered in.

Cancelling a filter: Press Escape (Esc) key; or press Close button on tag status bar.

Inspecting an item's tags: Hover over Tag button in Halo menu; or Hover over Tag button on Details Panel.

For reference:


A note about tags imported from PersonalBrain

3D Topicscape Pro imports tags from PersonalBrain. They appear as normal Topicscape tags.

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