SharePoint 2013 – Keywords, tags and #hash-tags

The reason I am writing this article is the introduction of #hash-tags in SharePoint 2013. I was curious about the relationship with the existing Tags and Notes feature. What was the impact? Do we only have to use #hash-tags or also Tags and Notes? Wait, we also have keywords! Are you confused? Believe me, you aren’t the only one! Just keep on reading.

Tags and Notes and SharePoint 2010
SharePoint 2010 came with a new feature to tag content, or leave a note, such as documents or sites:

There were three advantages by using tags:

  1. Mark your favorite content or sites
  2. Improve search results
  3. Connect with people

Mark your favorite content or sites
Tags and Notes were visible in your My Profile page:

All the related content to a tag was displayed. This could be used as Favorites comparable to bookmarks in any Internet browser.

Improve search results
Tags were indexed by search and could be used as refiner:

Connect with people
Every Tag has its own profile page:

This page enabled people to connect with each other by leaving notes and discuss the related content.

SharePoint 2013 is here!
This was a brief history lesson because now we have SharePoint 2013. What has changed? Let’s take a look.

The Tags and Notes button isn’t really visible anymore. In SharePoint 2010 the button was prominently available at the top right of the screen. This button is gone in 2013. To tag a document you really have to search for it! You have to select the document, click Files in the ribbon and at the right side you can find the button. You would expect the option to be available in the new call out menu but unfortunately it’s not:


After leaving a tag with a document you expect to view the tags, just as in SharePoint 2010, in your My Site. You probably know by now that the My Site has changed. There is no more a My Profile page and all the tabs are gone. The home page of Newsfeed contains an overview of elements you are following:


Aha! Tags, that must be it. Let’s click on the number 3:


Hmm, that’s not it. Those are #hash-tags. OK, that is confusing. So were are my tags? I checked every item in the quick launch but no Tags and Notes to be seen! I asked on Twitter if anyone was familiar with this. A SharePoint Community member called Thomy Goelles told me to add the following URL in the Newsfeed:


This worked! The page is back but wait, why is it so hidden? That is not a good sign at all. I decided to compare the situation with SharePoint Online 2013. The About Me page actually contains a link to Tags and Notes. Why the difference? At the moment of testing SharePoint Online 2013 was still in technical preview mode. I decided to contact Microsoft support and they told me Tags and Notes is not deprecated. I had the add the tag cloud web part. Strange but this did the trick. I believe when an administrator adds the web part this automatically adds it for every user in the farm.

Every library in SharePoint 2010 had the option Enterprise Metadata and Keywords Settings. This enabled an extra column in a library to leave a tag. I liked this feature because its really easy to use for end users and it improves the search results. The keywords were basically the same as a tag. The keywords appeared in the Tags and Note profile page and had the same features as tags.

You are still able to use this option in SharePoint 2013. Although my keywords did not appear in the Tags and Notes page. The tags did appear in the Term Store Management under Keywords. I am not sure what the purpose is of keywords when they don’t appear in the Tags and Notes overview.

Now we got another method to tag content: #hash-tags. That makes three different options: tags, keywords and #hash-tags. What do hash-tags accomplish? For starters you can use #hash-tags in the Newsfeed:


I decided to add a #hash-tag with a document. The #hash-tag appears in the Tags and Notes page ans has its own profile page:


Why would there be such a page for a #hash-tag? Because we already have one connected to the Newsfeed:

Comparable to the Tags and Notes profile page but aimed at conversations. The page contains a link called Tagged items. This never did anything for my environment. No results at all, even after using a #hash-tag with a couple of documents.

There are to many options at the moment. Microsoft has to make a decision. Leave out Tags and Notes and only work with #hash-tags or make sure #hash-tags are only used in the Newsfeed.
My advise is to use Tags and Notes for documents and #hash-tags only in the newsfeed.


11 thoughts on “SharePoint 2013 – Keywords, tags and #hash-tags”

  1. Great article! BTW, I can confirm, as an administrator of a SharePoint Online environment, you are able to add a cloud webpart and this webpart is immediately shown on every MySite within you environment.

  2. This is the newest addition to the social tagging strategy in SharePoint 2013. #tags, like enterprise keywords and social tags, are a broadly defined concept meant to be leveraged in a wide capacity.

  3. Hi Jasper,
    I have tagged a document with some #tags but i am not able to find document in tag profile page,am i missing some setting?

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