Create a saved search for "Doesn't have any tags"

I know I've seen a posting on how to search for items which have no tags, but I can't find it for the life of me, nor can I figure it out from the interface.

I start a new advanced search, select to search on "tag" content, then??
  • Well, there was this post, but that was about the tag selector...

    There's not really an easy way of doing this currently, but here's one idea:

    1) Create a saved search with 26 "Tag" "contains" conditions, one for every letter of the alphabet, and the join mode set to "ANY". Name this "Tagged" or something of the sort.

    2) Create a second search with a single condition, "Collection" "is not", and select the previous saved search (e.g. "Tagged") from the drop-down. Save this search as "Untagged".
  • Thanks, I'll give that a try. Perhaps an "untagged" tag (or option within saved searches) would be a useful feature. It would help with the workflow step which begins, "Hmm, which of these new items did I forget to tag?"
  • By the way, this does work.
  • edited September 4, 2007
    Thanks for creating this post. This will be very useful tracking down all of those tagless entries.
  • One problem with this for me is that although I allow automatic tagging, I want my 'untagged' collection to contain all items I haven't tagged manually (ie. include items with only automatic tags).

    It would be nice to be able to distinguish between automatic and manual tags in the search options.
  • CB: OK, will try to address that when we add this.
  • Great, thank you Dan.
  • Perhaps the cleanest solution for the user would be to add an "any"-item in the drop-down list of the advanced search box, e.g.:

    collection > is not > "any collection"
    tag > is not > "any tag" (and maybe "any manual tag" & "any automatic tag)
  • I second this request. It would be great to have an "any collection" and "any tag" option in the drop-down menus.
  • Thanks for this tip. I don't know if anything has happened yet or on the way, but this feature request would be great. But for those using the workaround, an easier option is to select 'tag' 'contains' and then each of the five vowels, with 'any' selected. This is a bit faster, unless you have any tags that are acronyms (which, in any event, you can simply add if you find them).
  • A "# tags" option in the search would fix this - and it would make it possible to do a "which items have few tags" search too (0 OR 1 OR 2).
  • edited August 20, 2012
    naught101: That's not a bad idea. I don't love it, since there are probably really only 2-3 options you'd ever want to select, but it'd be easy to implement and isn't really any more awkward than some of the other possible solutions. Issue created.
  • Perhaps the cleanest solution for the user would be to add an "any"-item in the drop-down list of the advanced search box, e.g.:

    collection > is not > "any collection"
    tag > is not > "any tag" (and maybe "any manual tag" & "any automatic tag)
    "Collection" has a drop-down, but "Tag" is free-form, so this wouldn't really work for that.
  • edited August 20, 2012
    Regexp matching on tag names? >:)

    Ok, regexps are probably overkill, but a simple wildcard/bash-style glob matching would be really cool and useful. (I.e. "climate *" matches "climate change", "climate science" & "climate denial")

    This would be plenty useful for other fields as well
  • I'm using a simpler saved search that works for me. 5 "Tag - Does not contain" conditions, one for every vowel, since I don't have tags without vowels by now. Also added two more conditions:
    - Item type - is not - attachment
    - Item type - is not - note

    Options may not be exactly the same in English, since I'm using the Spanish version.
  • edited August 26, 2014
    Turns out that the single condition "Tag -- does not contain -- % " will work: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/29983/saved-search-item-with-more-than-tag/
  • Just want to add in here for posterity:

    I wanted to find entries with "bad" journal abbreviations, which most of the time for me means that the abbreviation is the same as the title. There's no way to do that in a saved search (smart collection?), but it's easy enough to do the same trick as here and use the wildcard.

    So 'journal abbreviation — does not contain — %'

    I suspect this would word with other fields as well.
  • It seems to me that "Tag -- does not contain -- % " no longer works (using latest stable standalone). Can somebody confirm or suggest a different solution?
  • It definitely still works generally. What version of Zotero exactly are you using?
  • Hello, I am looking for the same functionality, and tried the '%' with 'tag' 'does not contain' but this does not seem to work at first sight. Is there at the moment a working way to select items that don't have (preferably, manually added) tags?
  • Tag -- does not contain -- %
    still works. We'd need details for how you think it doesn't. It is, however, not able to distinguish between automatic and manual tags (note, though, that it is now possible to delete all automatic tags in a library in the tag selector).
  • Are you putting % in quotes? It needs to be just the plain % character.

    Tag | does not contain | % will return all the items in the library that don't have any tags (there isn't a way to distinguish automatic from manual tags in search). You will likely also want to check the "Show only top-level items" box to prevent all of the attachment items in your library without tags from showing.
  • Ok, yes, thank you! It was the 'show only top level items' that did the trick :) I did not realise that also notes and pdf's can be tagged separately..
  • floriand, thanks for coming back with your solution. I was stuck trying to make a smart search of "to read" items, and losing my mind because an item I tagged as "read" was still showing up.
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