Tags are one of Beeminder’s lesser-known features and can be a handy way to group your goals into categories.
Adding one or more tags to any of your goals is easy:
- Visit your your Tags page (
www.beeminder.com/tags), where you’ll see a list of all your goals, sorted by goalname.
- In the input box for each goal, type your tag(s).
- If you want to add more than one tag at once, separate them by spaces (e.g., “fun books” to create two tags).
- If you’re using a tag you’ve already added, just type a few letters and pick from the list that appears. This works even if you type letters from the middle of a tag name, so it’s pretty easy to use long or complex tags if you wish to.
- Hit enter or click the “ADD TAG” button.
You can use tags to filter your dashboard page (the page that you see when you visit www.beeminder.com while logged in). For example, to see all the goals tagged with “exercise”, you would visit the URL
www.beeminder.com#exercise - i.e., add a hash mark and then the tag name to the end of the URL. These alternatives work too:
You can filter for goals that have all of a list of tags by putting them all in the URL, separated by commas. E.g., to see goals tagged with “exercise” AND “time”:
You can even filter for all goals that do NOT have a specific tag, by adding an exclamation mark just after the hash:
You can also use ! in a list of comma-separated tags:
www.beeminder.com#exercise,!time (goals tagged with “exercise” AND NOT “time”).
There’s a couple of catches to keep in mind:
- Your tags work for you only, so you can’t send someone a URL with your username and a tag in it to show that person just those tagged goals.
- When you already have your dashboard page open in a browser tab, if you edit the URL in your browser’s address bar to add or change a tag, and then hit enter, the page won’t change. You need to either open the new URL in a new tab or edit it in the current tab, hit enter, and then do Ctrl-r to refresh the page. That’s because of a quirk in the interaction between tags and HTML. Once you’re used to it, it’s easier than it sounds!
- Bookmarking a URL with a tag in it works, but again you need to open the bookmark in a new browser tab (or open it in your current dashboard tab then refresh).
One common use would be to have a “work” tag so that you can see only your work-related goals during work time (
www.beeminder.com#work), and only your other goals outside of work time (
My most useful tag is “afhbuffer”, which is short for “away from home buffer”. The tag is applied to all of my goals that can be done only at home, so that if I’m going to be away for a night or more, I can easily check all those goals to make sure they’ll be safe until I get back home. I have the URL for it bookmarked, and I also use the Simple Browsing Schedule Firefox extension to open it automatically every Friday morning, since I’m often away on weekends.
Tags become much easier to use and really useful with some excellent third-party tools:
- The Beebrowse browser extension created by @zzq works with Beeminder’s dashboard to give you a full-text search interface, and the search will include tag names. I.e., you’d go to your normal dashboard page, type “f” to active the search, then type the name (or partial name) of a tag, and you’d instantly see a subset of your goals - no need to hit refresh! It also lets you collapse goals to a single line to get them out of sight when you’ve finished with them for that day.
- Altbee also by @zzq gives you a stand-alone alternative to Beeminder’s dashboard and you can set it up to display your goals sorted into sections by tag. If a goal has multiple tags, it can appear in multiple sections if you set up a section for each tag. It includes text-entry filtering too. It’s mobile-friendly, and you can put a shortcut on your home screen to use it as a standalone app (at least on Android, I’m not sure about iOS).
- BUI - the alternative Beeminder UI by @skorytnicki has a setting for grouping your goals in a section for each tag (and also does other nifty things like charts).
Do you know of any other third-party tools that use tags? Or do you have any interesting use cases for them? I’d love to hear about them!