GD student here, figuring some stuff out about how to store, tag, and efficiently browse reference material, for inspiration and context, solely offline, so no browser apps, and I use Win11.

I have recently started out reading a few books from my library about graphic design and its history, and there are a lot of references to and depictions of works of art and artists, respectively, which I then decided to have a personal gallery or museum of, so that I can reference them, building a visual library of sorts.

What I need at the moment, is a software with which I can assign keywords or hashtags to image files (my files are all jpgs only, unless there is a better format for what I need, then lmk). The image files are stored in folders on a drive (in order to avoid the confusion of having all image files in one single folder) in some hierarchy. The software should be able to deal with keywords or hashtags in such a way that they can be grouped together—for instance, if I want to expand this from image files to books (pdfs only, unless, see above), so that I can do the following:

├── books
│   ├── read
│   │   ├── book1.pdf
│   │   ├── book2.pdf
│   │   ├── …
│   ├── not read
│   │   ├── book1.pdf
│   │   ├── book2.pdf
│   │   ├── …
├── images
│   ├── mentioned in books
│   │   ├── artist 1’s name
│   │   ├── artist 2’s name
│   │   ├── …
│   ├── inspiring artists
│   │   ├── artist 1’s name
│   │   ├── …

Ideally being able to seperate the keywords hierarchically from each other, discriminating between books and images. Best case, per drag and drop, and that the software then adds the "folder" context as a keyword, leading to something I would call “nested keywords”.

I am currently experimenting with Adobe Bridge, Allusion, and Eagle, so I am wondering what else you might use, why and which software you think is best for you, if you are in a similar situation.

Take your time, this is not a “help me now, answer as quickly as possible, get it out of the way” type of question, because I am myself researching which system makes the most sense (to me) and am looking for input from the experts, amateurs, and enthusiasts around the world. Maybe in a year from now, things will look differently. Maybe Excire is the best solution, which I have not yet looked into?

There is a solid possibility that I am confused about what I need, because I don’t know enough to make an informed decision, so bear with me, we all have to start from ignorance.

Just found out that in Allusion you can write your keywords to the files themselves so that the keywords show up in the file’s description. That is a plus in my eyes for agnostic keywords, where I can still see my keywords, even if using a different OS, a different program.

  • Welcome to Software Recommendations! Speaking of image files and tagging them, it might be relevant of what image types you're dealing with. Some of them support embedding metadata in different formats (like Exif or XMP), which then again would be totally system and OS independent.
    – Izzy
    Commented Jan 13 at 17:28
  • @Izzy oh you are right!
    – goombox
    Commented Jan 13 at 17:37
  • Is GD short for Graphics Design? Commented Jun 12 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


TagSpaces is a web based File Browser and Note taking application that runs locally and fully offline as a standalone application or in a web browser.

It has a tagging system at its base for organization. Tags are not saved in any database, so there is no vendor lockin. However tags are saved in the filename, which may break other other uses that depend on file paths. Alternatively tags may be saved in sidecar files if renaming files is a concern.

It can have multiple tag hierarchies for different organizational categories, and supports searching ans grouping by tags.

enter image description here

  • Yeah, like you imagine, the part where it adds tags to the file’s name is weird. I actually still am switching between Allusion, Bridge, and Eagle so that I can answer my own questions as well, at least, between those three.
    – goombox
    Commented Jan 19 at 20:19

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