How To: Advanced Tags, Categories, Custom Fields

Debbie is one of my favorite JibberJobbers, and not just because she bought me breakfast in Chicagoland!  Here are her questions about tags and categories (and I threw in some custom field stuff, too):

1. What is the difference between tags and categories?

I would say to only use tags… I don’t use categories anymore.  You can do everything you want to do with tags.  Here is a post I wrote titled How I use Tags to organize my Contacts, Companies, Jobs.

She continues: Here are some things I’d like to keep track of for my contacts: company public, private or non-profit, industry, revenue size and number of employees, the function my contact works in(sales, marketing, etc), contacts level in the org, the last time I contacted them, whether it was by phone, face-to-face, or email. Would tags or categories work best for these?

Quite a question!  And the responses are varied… you can choose different ways of doing it, here is what I would recommend:

  • Company (public, private or non-profit): Make this a custom field called Company Type (learn about Custom Fields in JibberJobber here), OR create tags like this: company_public, company_private, company_nonprofit.
  • Industry: Same answer as above…
  • Revenue size: I would definitely make this a custom field since the values would be so varied. (note, this is more appropriate for a company record, not a contact record)
  • Number of employees: I would make this a custom field for the same reason revenue size.  (note, this is more appropriate for a company record, not a contact record)
  • The function my contact works in (sales, marketing, etc): I make these tags but you could use custom fields.
  • Contact’s level in the organization: Make sure you use the title, but you could also put this in a tag… I would probably make this a custom field if I had a lot of different values for the levels.
  • The last time I contacted them: This is automatically created when you create a Log Entry… as long as you are using the Log Entries, you’ll always see the last contact.
  • Whether the last contact was by phone, face-to-face, or email: I put that info into the Log Entry.  I say “call with Debbie,” or “lunch with…”, or if it is by email it would have been through the Email2Log feature. It’s obvious to me that I did that because my email signature has a “–” right before the Log End Line. If I create a Log Entry with Email2Log, the last line of the Log Entry will be “–“.

2. If I use tags and categories during a job search and now want to redo them differently, is there a way to erase all the tags or categories in a record or will I need to do this one account at a time?

It’s pretty easy to clean up your tags, categories and custom fields.  Here’s a way to delete or edit tags/categories/custom fields: How To: Easily Manage Categories, Tags and Custom Fields. Another way to do it is in the List Panel view:

  1. Filter your search… probably based on the tag (tags:old_tag)
  2. On the left, select all checkboxes (the top checkbox will select all)
  3. On the bottom click the Tags icon… this will open up a window where you would (a) delete the wrong tag, (b) add the right tag in the big box.
  4. Click the button to save, and all of those records will have the tags updated.

3. If I want to download contacts with specific tags or categories into an excel spreadsheet and print it out, how would I do this?

There are two ways.

First, take the same steps as you did to edit the tags… go to the List Panel, do the search, and check all checkboxes.  Down at the very bottom there is a “multi-action” icon to export to a csv (which opens in Excel).  There are also two html reports you can export to, which look nicer than what you’ll see from Excel. You are limited to exporting up to 255 Contacts this way.

Second, from the Contacts dropdown page, choose Get Contact List.  You have a lot of options on that page and can export all of your Contacts (unlimited). You can export to csv, html, vcard, or just grab email addresses.

There is a lot of technical information in this post…. if you want any clarification let me know in the comments.