Tags! And Categories

Not long after WordPress.com began we started calling categories “tags” in some places, most notably our global tags system.

However while our interface made it easy to add categories on the fly, many people were vocal in telling us that categories and tags were not the same thing, and eventually we figured out they were right. (Forgive us, we can be slow sometimes.)

What’s the difference between categories and tags, you ask?

As best as I can explain it, categories are things you create ahead of time and only have a few of. Imagine them like sections of your site. The signs on aisles of grocery stores. Tags are one-off keywords attached to a post. You may add a tag to a post that you’ll never use ever again. Categories are meant to be permanent, tags are ephemeral.

Of course that’s just the accepted usage, you don’t have to change a thing and are welcome to continue using categories as you have since you started your blog.

Before WordPress.com just supported categories, even though we called them tags sometimes, but some people used them as tags, including ourselves.

We’ve added real tagging now.

The new tags interface

Now, at long last, there are separate interfaces for categories and tags so you can use either or both as you see fit based on your personal tagging philosophy. Categories are where they’ve always been to the right of the text box, and you can add tags below the post as a comma-separated list.

This is just the first step, we have some pretty exciting tag-related things coming in the future, so stay tuned.


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Matt

374 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. ruhi

    Great! Thank you :)

  2. emalyse

    Brilliant and long overdue. Now to resist the temptation to lose a weekend updating any popular older posts. This is a good update, thanks.

  3. J9

    Sounds brilliant – I was beginning to to struggle as I have so many of them (some of which I’ve only used once). So it sounds like I’ll be having a clear out!

  4. mahendrap

    This was a much-needed feature – thanks so much! I never could understand why WordPress seemed to fail to realize the difference between permanent categories and ephemeral tags. Great work – keep it up!

  5. bizwriter

    At long last! Great! Thank you!

  6. myepinoy

    Finally.

    This is great! Thank you very MUCH.

  7. rav

    ya… I used it just after it got included… its great..thanks :)

  8. Nita

    whew, this is good. now i can get rid of some of my categories!

  9. owen59

    Yeh, good. Simplifies the Category list.

  10. Tom

    Woohoo! Thank you so much.

  11. moscarey

    Thanks Matt. :)

  12. fifthdecade

    Nice. I was beginning to get to the point where the old system was becoming unwieldy! Tags along the lines of deli.cio.us and Digg etc are to be welcomed. All I have to do now is work out how to reorganise my blog…!

  13. Taufiq

    I saw it in my admin panel and I was so excited, I started adding tags for every single post in my blog!

  14. MJ

    I used Categories as tags too :)

  15. Irfan-Gunadarma

    at least, i can put tag in my post,thank’s :D

  16. Viral Trivedi

    Thanks, I shall make use of it now.

    More than glad!

    … Peace!

  17. cotojo

    Brilliant, another much needed feature which I’m sure many will appreciate :)

  18. lakshmi

    thanks a lot – it makes organizing recipes on a food blog a whole lot simpler!!

  19. pdtnc

    this sounds good :)

  20. dh

    Great job!

    Makes life simpler.

    Thanks

  21. MasterMind

    You made me happy :) If I missed anything on WordPress, it were the tags. I’m sure this feature will make search-engines happy too ;)

  22. harning

    Great,thanks!

  23. IPHOTOS

    Greatly appreciated!!

  24. Tom

    Great, thanks. Makes it easier to manage stuff.

  25. Steph

    Thanks :-)

    I’m glad you saw the light!

    (I’ll gripe about the comma-separation later, though)

  26. Warp9

    WOW !!!
    Thanks. :D

    Detta in italiano: Gran bel lavoro, grazie !!! :D

  27. zapdog

    Many many thanks. Believe this will help our page ranks considerably!

  28. Pingback: Tags and Categories are not the Same! at Climb to the Stars (Stephanie Booth)
  29. Qelqoth

    This saves manually entering Technorati tags. Thanks!

  30. autoscriptor

    This is as good as spending a whole of three days making the proper changes. Very good separating tags from categories.

  31. error1893

    Useful.

  32. Alexandre

    Good job :)

  33. Pingback: WordPress Finally Has Tags! at Climb to the Stars (Stephanie Booth)
  34. Tanasije Gjorgoski

    Is there a new attribute for RPC calls to set the tags?

  35. frankkie

    Great, thank you!

  36. sunshineforlife

    this is great. bt has been using my categories as my tags too as they go straight into that folder and i can easily access anytime.

  37. Sanzu 3

    excellent update – much needed !

  38. Pingback: Krasjkurs i WordPress 2.8 - Tags versus kategorier « Undreverset
  39. yuE

    feeling lazy about reworking the blog..

  40. CathaliN

    A great job! Keep on going!

  41. scrunchyy

    Great!! This is a good improvement.

  42. the forester

    You guys are awesome. I love your determination to improve continually.

    I’ve been a category-as-tagger myself, so reading this was a lesson for me, and oy! It definitely makes sense. Now I can have fewer categories cluttering up my column, and still tag away to my heart’s content. Love it — thanks for bringing it to WordPress.

  43. Bug Girl

    Thanks!! Can’t wait to learn how we can make the tags visible to readers.

    And yes, it will be difficult to resist the temptation to go back and tag everything :)

  44. toni

    I like how you labeled the area and explained what to do on the writer form. All of Word Press is extremely well designed in the computer tech sense. I also like the connection left to explain any additional questions. It was well thought out and very informative. But, it is the lack of labeling and instruction that appears to make things complicated. Kudos, for thinking of us ‘less than geek’ types…..You handled it so that most of us understand exactly what you did and how we can manage out blogs in the future. Now, I have to go back and wade through the array of other docs out there to figure the rest of this out…

  45. Vitor

    I’ve been waiting for a change along these lines for quite a while. Great!

  46. Pingback: Tags have arrived « Wrathchild
  47. Daniel Popescu

    Very good job! Congratulations!

  48. riihele

    Hei there

    Brilliant addition to the pleasure of blogging in WordPress!
    Thanks.
    Have a grand weekend. Rii :)

  49. bibliomom

    See now this makes sense to me!

  50. Hawk

    good stuff indeed. all i can say is domo arigato gozaimasu!

  51. Pingback: Tags bij wordpress « Dee’tjes
  52. Anurag Bansal

    Finally you got it right…
    Thanks …

  53. uphilldowndale

    Ahhhh, now I get it, thank you for the explanation and the feature

  54. d.

    Yes! Finally! :D

  55. Wolz14

    Cool :D

  56. Aixa A. Ardin Pauneto

    So, if my blog is not mature but a posting is, is it enough to tag it as mature or does one still have to report it in blog info?

  57. Shirley

    Thank you. Now I definitely can remove some categories that have been “bugging” me.

  58. Eli

    Matt, I use categories as tags, and will probably continue to do so, especially given the high cost of transitioning old posts to the new system. All that is fine. But I find it slightly annoying that you say, “This is just the first step, we have some pretty exciting tag-related things coming in the future, so stay tuned.” If you have exciting tag-related things coming in the future, tell me what they are now, so that I can make an informed decision about re-tagging my old posts. Why the secrecy? It makes your users worse off.

  59. sickr

    Brilliant.

  60. RubyShooZ

    Now, does this mean we should perhaps go back and add the correct tags to the past posts and delete the categories? That would be some huge amount of work for me and I’ve only had a blog up since March…

    Peace and tags.

    ~ RS ~

  61. Ann Addison

    aaaaahhhhh! Great!! I love it.

  62. Brent

    Far too late to implement this Matt. You should have done this a year ago. As if I’m going to change things around now…

  63. Guy

    excellent!

  64. Janick

    Awesome! :P

  65. ASE

    Matt, this is great.
    Still I am sure that people with long a category list would like an import/export function to move from categories to tags, to use the full potential this organization tools provide.

  66. Robert

    This is wonderful!

    How about a utility that will take all of my categories and make them tags? It would be a lot easier than updating every post one by one.

    Thanks!

  67. Janick

    Problems with the Tag cloud maybe? Or is it just me? :)

  68. ASE

    Matt, this is great.

    Still I am sure that people with long a category list would like an import/export function to move from categories to tags, so that they’ll be able with ease to use the full potential this organization tools provide, on their entire blog (on ALL posts).

    Oh, and also, the automatic completion of tags when typing them would also be useful.

  69. lukadium

    Thanx a lot!
    It would be great if wordpress.com lets wp.org sites showup their tags ang categories
    in the global tag system.

  70. ericdarylmeyer

    Thank you, I’ve often thought that the mile-long list of categories on the side of many blogs was…. well…. unnecessary.

  71. invictus

    I have been expecting this for a long time. Thanks, Matt. Great job.

    Now it’s time for us to get rid of some of those obsolete categories which were used as tags. :)

  72. biellen

    Ah. I thought there was something wrong with…me.

  73. James17930

    But now where do these ‘tags’ show up? Will there be a seperate tags widget to add to the sidebar or something?

  74. XiuX

    nice

  75. Curtis

    Nice, Thanks

  76. The Muse

    Much needed feature!! Thanks!!

  77. blayde

    Thanks for teh tags, started using em already :D

  78. Melissa

    awesome! thanks :)

  79. quotes

    Thank you so much for this incredible imporovement. It will make managing categories so much easier and will make much more sense to visitors.

    I hated how we had to add categories for every time a post was on a different topic.

    Now I can can dump hundreds of categories that were only used a few times.

  80. finngarianmama

    Categories aren’t tags? I learn something new every day! :)

  81. andrewong2024

    Perfect! You guys are great! =)

  82. Michell Bak

    Great stuff indeed! :-)

  83. enkerli

    Been using categories as tags. It’s been an issue as I end up with way too many categories. So, if this leads to a tag cloud system or some way to manage tags more efficiently, this can be pretty big indeed.
    Noticed the change yesterday and was looking for a post on this. Good thing there’s an FAQ entry on the topic. But I’m wondering if I can switch my categories to tags…

  84. Pingback: Changes in Post Filing System: Categories and Tags « John Botscharow
  85. museditions

    What’s all this? First, we get spellcheck in the comments box, now we’ve got link history in ‘write posts’. AND new tag help, too. This will help me sort through my rather eclectic set of links for the unusual topics I cover. Know you folks had a long week, but love the results, thanks!

  86. calsifer

    So I get to recatergorise all my now tag-friendly categories? Well, better late than never. thanks!

  87. Anne

    I’m another one who used Categories as Tags and am plotting out how to redo existing entries to clean up what had become an unwieldy list of categories! Thanks, Matt :)

  88. obliterated

    THANK YOU :D

  89. Len Gilbert

    This is a great explanation of the difference. We sometimes want to do individual post tagging and not add a bunch of categories. Perfect!

  90. nysportsgear

    excellent addition. very useful!

  91. laluzenmi

    Por fin!!!

  92. Rae

    Maybe this will cut down on the 50 some odd categories we have.

  93. suigeneris

    Thanks.
    Tags= The key of the search

  94. modestypress

    You’re it.

  95. Pingback: Another advice page, and an open thread « What’s new
  96. Liga

    finally!

    thank you very much!!!

  97. gioxx

    Thanks for this nice feature Matt! :)

  98. chanux

    Oh I didn’t make it out 8-)

  99. Jim

    Should we use categories or tags to work for featured/front page stories?

    (re: http://wordpress.com/blog/2007/08/06/categories-and-news-departments/ )

  100. marimann

    I’m excited and can’t wait for what’s new in Tags, as promised.

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