Five tips for working with Office 2010 file properties and tags

Keep your Office files organized and easy to find by putting properties and tags to work. Here are some simple ways to take advantage of these features.

Properties and tags are often-overlooked worker bees in the Office 2010 suite. The latest version of Office makes it simple to add and work with them, whether you're creating a Word document, working on an Excel worksheet, or fine-tuning a PowerPoint presentation.

1: View and update your file properties

You may be wondering what a file property is and why it's worth fussing about. A file property is a piece of information that helps to identify your file in some way. For example, the title of your document is a property, as are the number of words and pages, the author, and the category. Display the properties for your current file by clicking the File tab and then clicking Info. You'll find the file properties in the panel on the far right side of Backstage view. You can update the file properties by hovering the mouse over the entry you want to change. A text box appears and you can click and change the property (Figure A).

Figure A

Display and change file properties in the right panel of the Info tab.

2: Tag your files

The Tags property makes it easy for you to tag the file so that it shows up in searches. For example, if the content of your file includes text and images for an upcoming orientation, you might use the word orientation as a tag for that file. When you use Save As to save the file, you'll see that the tags have been applied -- they appear just above the Save button. If you want, you can add to the tags in the Save As dialog box by clicking in the Tags box and typing them before you click Save.

Figure B

Tag a file by clicking in the Tags box and typing the tags you want to add.

3: Work with all properties

By default, Office 2010 apps don't display the whole collection of file properties that are available with the file. When you first click the File tab and click Info, you see the most common file properties for the file you're viewing. You can see all the available properties by clicking Show All Properties at the bottom of the properties panel. This adds a number of properties, including Template, Status, Company, Manager, and Open File Location. In addition, you can click the Properties arrow at the top of the panel and click Advanced Properties to display the Properties dialog box, where you can view more file information and even create your own custom properties to add to the file.

4: Display the document panel

If you want to be able to see the file properties while you work, click the Properties arrow at the top of the panel and click Show Document Panel. This displays the properties across the top of your current file, where you can see and change them easily. It might be helpful to include the file properties in the document if you're sending the file around for review. That way, others can see any comments you've added to the file, as well as the category and status (Figure C). You can remove the properties from the top of the file by clicking the close box at the right end of the Document Properties bar.

Figure C

You can display a select set of document properties at the top of your current file.

5: Add properties to a file

You can add easily add file properties to a document or to the headers or footers in a document by using Quick Parts in Office 2010. Simply click where you want the property to appear in the document, click the Insert tab, and click the Quick Parts arrow in the Text group. Then, click Document Property and click the property you want to add to the document. If you've filled in data for that property, it appears in the content control. If you haven't entered any information, a blank control will appear with a prompt so that you can fill in the information you need. To insert a file property in a header or footer, click the spot in the footer you want to add the property. In the Header & Footer Tools Design tab, click Quick Parts in the Insert menu, click Document Property, and click the property you want to add.

By Katherine Murray

Katherine Murray is a technology writer and the author of more than 60 books on a variety of topics, ranging from small business technology to green computing to blogging to Microsoft Office 2010. Her most recent books include Microsoft Office 2010 P...