For me the main reason to use coloured labels in OS X was that Finder would completely highlight the file/folder-name of any labelled items. This made it very easy to quickly identify files and folders according to my labelling system and methodology.

You’ll see plenty of other people complaining about this new “feature” in many threads on the Apple forums. Here’s one example:

Here’s a picture illustrating the issue:


Only today I finally updated to Mavericks (10.9.3). I didn’t want to update previously because Apple, in their bisdom, decided to remove another crucial feature from my workflow. Namely, the ability to sync my iPod/iPhone without sending all my private data onto their iCloud service. As of 10.9.3 this feature has been restored to its rightful glory. So, update to Mavericks I did.

Now I discover the change over from “labels” to “tags” has meant the colouring option has been reduced to a tiny little dot. If I had wanted an LSD sized micro-dot next to my files, I suppose this would be okay. Whether it’s LSD that Apple developers are taking, or something else, I can’t say. But I want my files and folders completely highlighted in colour. Here’s the free solution.

I have shared about XtraFinder in previous posts. It now has an additional feature, especially for Mavericks. It’s called, “Legacy label color painting”. Check out the image below:

XtraFinder Preferences

You can get XtraFinder here:

If you’ve not already installed XtraFinder, go ahead and do so.

If you have, make sure it’s up-to-date.

If you need to activate this feature, do so. You will likely have to restart Finder. You can “Kill” Finder using the Activity Monitor or using the Command line in Type in the following:

The, back in OS X, run Open a new Finder window. Voila… label (tag) colours now highlight the whole filename. Enjoy


An alternative to XtraFinder is TotalFinder, which I’ve written about before. TotalFinder also provides a means to restore legacy label-like Tag colour handling. However, TotalFinder costs US$18, whilst XtraFinder is free.