Hazel For Downloaded Files Part 2: Applying OpenMeta Tags

Hazel For Downloaded Files Part 2: Applying OpenMeta Tags

A month ago, I posted about how to use Hazel to process downloaded PDF files. It was getting pretty technical, so I decided to end it before taking it one step further: how to use Hazel to apply OpenMeta tags to the files.

Both in the comments and in my email, there have been a lot of requests to cover the tagging piece, so that is what I am going to do by popular demand. Keep in mind that this is Mac only and is a bit on the technical side, so if you aren’t comfortable using the command line (or have no desire to use Hazel to tag your files), you’ll want to sit this one out.

First, Noodlesoft calls Hazel’s support of OpenMeta tags unofficial and experimental, so keep that in mind. If you still want to go ahead:

Install the OpenMeta Command Line Tool

  • Go to the OpenMeta Project Downloads page and download the latest version of the openmeta_commandline zip. to your hard drive.
  • Double-click on the zip file and it will extract a file just called openmeta. Move that file to a location that you remember. In my example, I am going to put it in /Applications

Tell Hazel To Enable Super-Secret OpenMeta Support

  • Go into Terminal. The easiest way to do that is to open Spotlight by going Command-Spacebar and typing Terminal
  • Type the following:

    defaults write com.noodlesoft.Hazel OMToolPath /Applications/openmeta

Obviously, you will want to replace the ending path with wherever you stored your openmeta program that you just unzipped.

Here is a screenshot of me having ran the command:

Terminal window

Apply Your Tags

Now, lets revisit the moving-PDF rule from the last Hazel PDF post:

  • In the “Do the following:” section, click the + sign and then the drop-down list. You will now see a new option that wasn’t there before: “Add OpenMeta Tags”

Hazel Add OpenMeta Tags

  • Choose that, and you can now add your comma-separated list of tags. If you want, you can have it replace all the existing tags with these new ones. Here is my final rule:

Final Hazel Rule

  • Now when I look at the file with TagIt, you can see that it has the two tags that I assigned with Hazel:


Again, a bit on the technical side, but if you are someone that uses tags in your workflow, this may help automate things.

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

Leave a Reply 9 comments

Carl - July 28, 2013 Reply

Can someone please help me with this. I can't get Hazel to show the "Add OpenMeta tags" under "Do the following" as shown in your screenshot. I can only get it to recognize "Tags" in the if statement!

Maybe they updated or something?

    Brooks Duncan - July 29, 2013 Reply

    Hi Carl, it's still there for me. Did you install the OpenMeta Command Line tool?

David B - June 26, 2013 Reply

Any idea how the forthcoming release of OSX will change this? Will open meta tags still be supported or will this be super ceded by Maverick?

Mac Tagging Goes Mainstream With Mavericks | Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog - June 11, 2013 Reply

[…] and OS X Spotlight searches support it. For example, I could manually tag a document with TagIt, or automatically tag a document with Hazel, and use a Spotlight search to find the documents that use those […]

dellu - April 6, 2013 Reply

This is one of the best tricks I have ever learned. I am now making Hazel assign tags to my PDF files as soon as I download them using their content; then, import them to Devonthink. Wow, the whole process is now automated. Thank you so much!

Rube Goldberg Law School Note-taking System | LawSchoolMatt.com - February 7, 2013 Reply

[…] repeat end tell end alfred_script Part 7For any files that I receive, I use an adapted version of this script to add openmeta tags and move those files into EagleFiler. Every handout I receive gets scanned, […]

DocumentSnap Time Machine | Tips To Learn How To Go Paperless | DocumentSnap Paperless Blog - March 23, 2012 Reply

[…] Hazel For Downloaded Files Part 2: Applying OpenMeta Tags I use this all the time to file and tag my downloaded PDFs. […]

luc taesch - October 9, 2011 Reply

excellent !! thx

Michelle Muto - April 6, 2011 Reply

Cool. Totally cool. Except, will tags work with files on a sparse disk image?

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