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iTunes tagging basics and tips

Kirk McElhearn | Sept. 4, 2013
Master iTunes tags with our helpful how-to.

You can fill in many of the other tags as well. If you have classical music, you'll want to enter names in the Composer tag. You may want comments, such as "Live album," or "Demos," depending on what type of music you have; you can use smart playlists to look for these. You can also use the Comment field as a sort of catchall tag, in which you can insert multiple genres for tracks or other notes on which to build smart playlists. And if you like to read song lyrics, on your Mac or your iOS device, you can enter them in the Lyrics tag. Finally, while it's not technically a tag, the Artwork field is where you put album art to make your music prettier.

Tabs and tags
As you can see, there are a number of tabs in the window shown earlier. Each one lets you view or edit different tags. The Summary tab gives you an overview of the track's info. The Info tab lets you change the main tags: Name, Artist, Album, and so on. Video lets you edit tags for movies and TV shows. Sorting lets you change sorting options, such as whether an album by Bob Dylan shows up under B (for Bob) or D (for Dylan). The Options tab lets you adjust a number of settings about a track, such as an equalizer preset, media kind, or rating. You can paste the words to your favorite songs to the Lyrics tab. And you can add album art to the Artwork tab.

If you do a lot of tagging, keyboard shortcuts can help speed the process. You can view each of the tabs at the top of the info window by pressing the Command key and a number: Command-1 is the first tab, Summary; Command-2, the second tab; and so on.

You can skip through tracks when you're viewing the single-track info window by clicking the Previous or Next button at the bottom of the window. But from the keyboard, you can do the same thing by pressing Command-P or Command-N.

When you select multiple tracks, the window you see is different. It has only four tabs, and you can only edit information that is shared by a group of tracks. So you can't change the name or lyrics for multiple tracks, and you can't change ratings on the Options tab.

This Multiple Item Information window is the one you use when you've selected, say, all the tracks of an album, and want to edit the title, artist, or genre. Speaking of genres, you may not know that you can use any genre you want—you're not limited to the ones in iTunes' pop-up menu. In the above examples, you can see that my Bob Dylan music is in the Dylan genre. Because I have all of his albums, I'd rather have them in a separate genre.


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