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Tag lists 101: how to structure and group tags
Tag lists 101: how to structure and group tags

Optimize tag lists to standardize reporting and track project phases

Lisa avatar
Written by Lisa
Updated over a week ago

Plans 💳 : Everyone

User Permissions 👥: Admins, Managers

Tag lists help you organize your work into clean, logical categories for easy billing and project management.

We've put together a quick-start guide to adding tag lists to projects and some suggestions to help simplify your reporting and analysis.

Adding tag lists to projects

Apply a tag list to a project by selecting either “All tags” or “Select tags” in the "Tags" section while editing your project:

Selecting “All tags” will add all existing tag lists to the project, as well as any tag lists you create in the future, without you having to edit the project. This is really helpful if you think you’ll need to add tag lists in the future and don’t want to edit projects individually.

If your workspace has a lot of tag lists already, you can opt to use “Select tags”, which will allow you to pick a specific number of tag lists that should be applied to that project. That way, your team won’t have to hunt through tons of tags before landing on those that are appropriate for the projects they’re working on.

Note: If you create a new tag list while within a project, it will be automatically added to any project that has “All tags” selected.

Once you’ve settled on the tag list that applies to a project, you’ll be able to see it in the Hours tab when logging time:

Required tags

By tag list

You can also require certain tag lists to be used when logging time by selecting "Add existing tags" and making sure the "Required" slider is switched on:

Note: When tags are required on a project, you will not be able to save your entry until you have applied the required tags for that entry.

Now anyone on that project will only be able to see and use the tags you've specified!

By project

If you want to make sure that entries don't go untagged but don't want to wade through a sea of tags, you can manage tags at the project level, requiring at least one tag to be added to an entry before it can be logged:

Our recommendations

See time spent by activity

Set up a tag list called 'Activities', and add tags for each activity within a project:

Once your team starts logging time using these tags, you'll be able to run a report in Timely that gives you a breakdown of which activities your team spends most of its time:

See time spent by project stage

Set up a tag list called 'Phase' and add your project stages as tags:

Set up administrative tags

Setting up administrative projects is a great way to manage all employee activity unrelated to external Clients and Projects. Setting up admin tags allows you to manage vacation and sick leave in Timely:

See time spent by location

If you often work on-the-go, it might be helpful to set up a tag list with the various locations of work:

Tags can be set up in endless way to best suit your needs. If you've found any other useful ways to use tags which could help others, we'd love to hear about them!


What happens if I assign new tags to a project that already has existing tags?

Tags will only apply going forward. Tags will not automatically apply retroactively to all previous entires.

Can I edit my tag lists project by project?

All tags on a tag list that is added to a project will show up when you create an entry. If you remove a tag from a tag list in the global tag settings, it will be removed from your projects. We do recommend that you archive tags you've used previously so they aren't removed from entries they've been applied to in the past.

Where can I see all the time I've logged for each tag?

All hours logged on a tag can be viewed in the Reports section. Learn more on how you can generate a report on your tags.

Can I move existing tags from one tag list to another?

Tags can only be moved within the tag list they're a part of. To make that change and retain the data that was used for that tag up until that point, you'll need to archive and remove the initial tag (as it's still associated with the original tag list) then create that tag again on the new tag list. Be sure to filter for both tags when reporting on those hours down the line.

Can I bulk update several hours with a tag in one go?

Absolutely! Bulk updating your hours is great for when you need to apply a particular tag to many hours for several different users all at once. We've got two great articles on how you can update entries from within a project or using reports to help set you on your way! 🚀

Note: You can also bulk delete hours if you need to. We recommend that you use this feature carefully, since once you delete hours you cannot get them back!

How are tags handled when exporting data from Timely?

By default, Excel and CSV export files will contain the individual Tags along with the overall Tag list for your chosen report. Workspace admins can elect to change this option to show only the individual Tags or just the overall Tag lists, if desired.

This is a workspace wide option that can be found in the Settings area in Timely, under the Workspace header, by scrolling down to the "Report Tags" section:

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