Removing tags from the sidebar in desktop app?

As some of you may remember the mobile app used to have the tags in the sidebar, like the desktop app, however that was causing major performance issues for people with many tags. So they were moved to a separate screen, which solved the performance issue.

It turns out that the desktop app has the same issue and for users who have hundreds of tags, the whole app slow down because it takes time to render all the tag elements, especially when changing note.

So I'm wondering if we could do the same as on mobile and move the tags to a separate screen or dialog? Having them in the sidebar doesn't seem very useful especially when your have hundreds of them, so it seems reasonable to take them out.

But before changing this I'd just like to confirm that it makes sense. Do you ever use the tags in the sidebar? Would it matter to you if they are moved to a separate screen? Also if you have any suggestion on how to improve the ui please post here.

1 Like

Maybe it's worth trying to address the underlying performance issue first before moving tags?
For instance, maybe this PR can improve the situation.

1 Like

I exclusively use tags from the sidebar. I would use it even more but as heirachical tags aren't a thing yet I restrict the usage of them to avoid clutter.
I made a comment a while ago as to how I would prefer the UI to function in regards to the sidebar and the tags section in particular - Tag Manager - #3 by Daeraxa

I should also note that I use a bit of a hack to organise my tags in lieu of having a proper heirachy so that the various categories aren't just jumbled up together.
I basically have an extra letter at the start of each tag to "categorise" them, e.g. book related tags might be called something like bCookbooks and bComicbook whereas I might have some recipe related data that is stored under rChicken or rAubergine. I then use the CSS hack I posted about here - Share your CSS - #296 by Daeraxa - to hide the first letter of the tag.

1 Like

The way to fix this would be to rewrite the sidebar I think, and better handle how tags are updated. But while considering this I was wondering if it even makes sense to have the tags there.

No, I use tags only in the search, never in the sidebar (Since it is useless with many tags to search for a specific tag in the sidebar).

1 Like

Same as @Daeraxa, I do not access tags any other way and have been waiting patiently for nested tags to reappear.

That's extremely likely. It depends on how far "removed" it is.

Would it make any difference if the sidebar was tabbed? So the top of the sidebar comprised two tabs; one marked NOTEBOOKS and the other TAGS with the lists effectively sharing the entire sidebar area. Then the list of tags is only generated when the TAGS tab is selected.

Crude mockup below...



As an aside I am not sure the title of this thread, "Removing plugins from the sidebar in desktop app?" is quite right :slight_smile:

1 Like

With even just about 60 tags, a small number compared to many users, I find the Tags list in the sidebar to be cumbersome to use, and prefer to search #tag_name in Goto Anything.

I'd also like to point out that tag searching is not necessarily the alternative. @johano is obviously a young, bright individual who from memory can easily search #tag_name in Goto Anything :slight_smile:

I say this because I own clothes older than many of you and the chances of being able to remember what tags there are, even in part, can be a challenge. I do not use all the tags, all the time, it depends on what I am looking into as to what tags stay "loaded in (my) memory". I am quite brutal with regards to auditing tag usage but I still use the tag list to refresh my memory of what there is as I find the most relevant tag.

Also I am not just using Joplin. There are other programs that also assume I can remember small details for a long time. Heck, I have no idea what I had for dinner today.

If it needs changing, change it, please just don't bury the tag list because "no-one really needs it".


LOL, I wish that were true, @dpoulton. Absolutely understand the challenge of retaining information, and without recurring reminders and task lists, I'd be a dead duck :wink:

Hopefully a solution will be found that suits all.


I'm not sure what "another screen" means?
Right now, if I click on a tag, I instantly see all the notes that have that tag. If the tags are on another screen, does that mean I lose the view of the whole context (= all other notes)?
If the solution is to make them disappear from the current view, for me that would be a regression, not an improvement.

Tags are a big weak point (for me) in Joplin (no hierarchy), this solution to move them elsewhere would weaken them even more by putting them in the closet, while they are essential tools (to varying degrees depending on the person) in organizing notes.

There were a few posts on forum saying that tags could be better used in separate panel from notebooks [1], [2], [3], [4]. That would mean a user could temporarily hide them, potentially increasing overall performance and still having tag panel for those who need it right where it was.

I wonder what people think of how tags displayed right now on mobile (separate menu opened by button in sidebar)? Is It comfortable, is it useful?
I personally find it less overwhelming than notebook list, but I don't rely on tags so much.

I rarely access tags in sidebar currently. But I think it is because it's hard to access them at the bottom of sidebar. I need to collapse all notebook trees and scroll excessively to get to them, so about 5-10 seconds to use a single tag.

I do want to have a separate place where I could manage tags with more space and more features yet having some sort of panel for quick access is essential in my opinion. But in any case, whatever you will do, I'll make it work :slightly_smiling_face:

I think there's a good example in other software for the feature.
Consider modern browsers, they all came to single paradigm of "bookmarks" for some reason. They all have several ways to access bookmarks:

(right now we're almost here) side panel to keep an eye on

side panel to access bookmarks in Firefox

an optional bar to access a few key bookmarks

optional bookmarks bar in Firefox

full fledged bookmark manager on a separate page to clean the structure, naming, etc.

preview in Brave

On mobile, the bookmarks are usually shoved aside in a separate screen with 2-tap path to access it.

Firefox mobile

I don't even use them on mobile, I only ever use it as a viewer really and only then for some very specific things which I will just look in my notebook heirachy for.

Hi all,

I use the labels constantly, they give me a quick and qualitative overview of my note base. With them, I can "see" which label is no longer appropriate, either semantically or because the new notes involve a different word.

It's a constant work to analyze the organization of my notes, so that they remain a relevant resource over time.Labels are, in my organizational mode, a visual and meaningful tool in my "dashboard."

When I need maximum screen space to write a long text, to lay it out, I hide the two panes "Notebook" and "Labels"; in two keyboard shortcuts, it costs ≈a 1/4 of a second.

If their deportation to a separate window were finally chosen, I would like it to be a "floating palette" type, displayable via a keyboard shortcut (cf. LibreOffice's Navigator).

I use the tags to find notes as frequently as looking for the note directly. I never search for a tag as some have suggested as I cannot always remember the exact wording and often scroll the tag list to find what I'm looking for. If you are going to move the tags, the suggestion by @dpoulton to put the tags on a separate tab is a good solution.

1 Like

One of my frustrations with the Android app is having the tags in a separate screen. I always wondered why they weren't treated the same as the desktop app.

Maybe I'm in the minority. I use very few tags, but it's important I can view them quickly. I'd hate to see them in another screen.

On the desktop, if they were in a separate panel from notebooks, that would be fine because I could still position them in the left pane either above or below notebooks.

I agree with a previous post: take a look at the performance problem. I haven't looked at the code but:

  • Why is the performance poor for hundreds of tags, but great for hundreds of notebooks?
  • Does all tag info need to be retrieved at once? What about retrieving tag info only when they're visible (on demand). This has become a common performance enhancement in web.
  • What if all tags are shown up to a configurable number? Then the performance impact is controlled by the user. And maybe the mobile tags could be displayed in the sidebar again!