File Labels

What are file labels?

A file label is a word or short phrase that describes or categorizes a file. Files can have as many file labels as you like. They can be a great way to add organization to your file library.

The easiest way to think about file labels is to consider them like filters for your files. These filters can be used in the File Library to make it easier to find files you need quickly.


Common uses for file labels include:

  • The relevant feature, functionality, geographic region, policy, procedure, etc. for a given file (e.g. we have file labels for "icons" for the various icons we use in our knowledge base and for some of our prominent features)
  • The file's owner (we've seen this used for individuals, teams, departments, etc.)
  • Other information relevant for file audits (we've seen people label files for the fiscal year they're relevant to, etc.)

File labels are only displayed in the File Library and in the File Label Library. They're only viewable by people with app.knowledgeowl.com access to one of these two locations.

Create a file label

You can create file labels in two ways:

  • In Library > File Labels using the Create link.
  • In the File Library, while editing an individual file, type new File Labels into the field there and hit Enter or tab

Our default Editor and Writer roles have permission to create file labels. If you're using a custom user role, that role must have the File Library Permission to Create file labels to create file labels.

Create file labels in File Label Library

Creating labels in the File Label Library can be great if you:

  • Need to create a lot of file labels at once
  • Want to be able to see file labels that already exist while you create file labels

To do so:

  1. Go to Library > File Labels.
  2. Click the Create  link near the upper left of the screen.
  3. This will open the Create file label pop-up. Add the Name you'd like displayed for the file label. Here, I've created an "icons" file label:
  4. Once you've finished editing the file label, click the Create Label button. The file label will be added to your library and immediately available for use.

Create file labels in File Library

You can also create labels on the fly while you're editing an individual file in the File Library.

To do so:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Click on the file you'd like to edit.
  3. Click the Edit link that appears in the lower left or just below the Add Files button.
  4. In the Edit File pop-up, type the name of the label you'd like to add in File Labels. Hit Enter or Tab once you're done typing the name.
  5. Type the name of your new label and hit Enter or Tab.
    Type the name of the new file label and hit Enter or Tab. then Save.
  6. The file label will be created in the File Label Library and added to this file.
  7. Be sure to Save your file once you're done.

Edit a file label

Once a file label has been created, you can edit it to update the name.

Our default Editor and Writer roles have permission to edit file labels. If you're using a custom user role, that role must have the File Library Permission to Edit file labels to edit labels.

To do so:

  1. Go to Library > File Labels.
  2. Click on the file label you'd like to edit. (If you have a lot of labels, you may need to search to find the label you want.)
  3. Once you've clicked on a file label, the Edit link will activate. Click that link.
  4. This will open the Edit Label pop-up, where you can edit the name of the file label.
  5. Once you've finished making the changes to your label, click the Edit Label button in the lower right to save your changes.
    Click Edit Label to save your changes to the label
  6. All files with this label will now display the updated name.

Delete a file label

Once a file label has been created, you can delete it from the File Label Library. This will remove the file label from all files where it's been used.

Our default Editor and Writer roles have permission to delete file labels. If you're using a custom user role, that role must have the File Library Permission to Delete file labels.

To do so:

  1. Go to Library > File Labels.
  2. Click on the file label or labels you'd like to delete. (If you have a lot of labels, you may need to search to find the labels you want.)
  3. Once you've clicked on one or more labels, the Delete link will activate. Click that link.
    Select the label(s) you'd like to delete and click the Delete link
  4. This will open a confirmation pop-up to be sure you want to delete these labels. Click OK to delete them.
    Click OK to confirm the deletion of the labelsyou selected
  5. All the labelsyou selected will be deleted and removed from any files that referenced them.

Add an existing label to a file

Creating a new label is not always the same thing as adding an existing label to a file.

Our default Editor and Writer roles have permission to add existing labels to articles and to create new labels. If you're using a custom user role, that role must have the File Library Permission to Edit files but might not have the ability to Add new labels. (If you have both permissions, you can start typing and then create a new label or select an existing; if you only have the ability to edit files, you can only start typing and select from existing labels.)

To add an existing label to a file:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Click on the file you'd like to add the label to.
  3. Click the Edit link that appears in the lower left or near the top just below the + Add Files button.

  4. In the Edit File pop-up, start typing the name of the label. As you type, you'll get a list of autosuggested matching labels. You can use the arrow keys + Enter or click with your mouse to select the label you'd like to add.
    Find existing labels by typing part of the label and selecting the label you'd like to add
  5. Once you've finished adding labels, be sure to Save the file.

Remove a label from a file

Removing a label from a file simply removes it from the file--it doesn't delete the label from your knowledge base. If you'd like to delete a label from your knowledge base completely, see Delete a label.

Our default Editor and Writer roles have permission to remove labels from files. If you're using a custom user role, that role must have the File Library Permission to Edit files to remove a label from a file.

To remove a label from a file:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Click on the file whose label you'd like to edit.
  3. Click the Edit link in the lower left or near the top, just below the + Add Files button.

  4. Click the x next to the label you'd like to remove.
    Click the X on the label you'd like to remove
  5. Be sure to Save the file.

Merge labels

Like your product, company, and policies, file labels might change over time. And without clear style guidelines (and even sometimes with them!), different authors might create differently-structured labels. Linus has faced this problem several times in our documentation, for example, some files were labeled with screenshot and some were labeled with screenshots. What's an owl to do?

Users with our default Editor or Writer roles, or those with custom roles who have permission to both edit and delete file labels have the option to merge two labels together.

Merging allows you to replace one label with the other and delete the now unneeded label. It's fast and much easier than auditing files through a File Library label filter.

To merge labels:

  1. Go to Library > File Labels.
  2. Click on the label you'd like to merge into another label. This will be the label that gets removed. Here, we'll use screenshots and merge it into screenshot.
  3. With the label selected, the Edit and Delete links will become activated. Click on the Edit link.
    Click the label you'd like to merge and then click the Edit link
  4. This will open the Edit Label pop-up. If you have the proper permissions to merge labels, you'll see a Merge into different label option in the lower left. Click on this link.
    Click the Merge into different label link to begin the merge process
  5. On the next screen, you'll be able to search for the "new" label you'd like to merge this label into. Start typing the name of the New label you'd like to merge this label into and select the correct name. Here, I'm using our screenshot label as the new label.
    Add the label you'd like to merge the current label into
    During the merge:
    • The "new label" will be added to all of the current label's files. For example, all files with "screenshots" will get the "screenshot" label added as part of the merge. It will also remain in your File Label Library moving forward.
    • The "current" label will be deleted from your File Label Library and all files when the merge is complete. The label will drop out of your File Library "Filter by Labels" options.
  6. Once you've added the "New label" you'd like to keep, click the Merge Label button to begin the merge.
    Click the Merge Label button to begin the merge
  7. You'll see a confirmation message to be sure you want to merge these labels. Label merges cannot be undone. Click OK to complete the merge.
  8. When the merge is complete, you'll be directed back to the main File Label Library screen.

What does merging labels do?

In each label merge, there are two labels:

  • The current label (the label you began the merge from)
  • The new label (the label that will remain when the merge is complete)

Merging will:

  • Add the new label to all files that have the current label
  • Remove the current label from all files
  • Delete the current label from the File Label Library

Let's assume I'm using this scenario in my merge:

A sample label merge scenario

"screenshots" is the label I began the edit and merge with.

When I complete the merge:

  • That screenshots label won't exist anymore
  • All articles that had screenshots as a label will have the screenshot label
  • Articles that had both labels will just get the screenshots label removed
  • screenshots will no longer appear in the File Library "Filter by label" dropdown, but screenshot will

Using file labels as File Library filters

Once you have added file labels to your files, those file labels can be used to filter your File Library. To do so:

  1. Go to Library > Files.
  2. Click the Filter by Labels dropdown.
  3. Select the label(s) you'd like to use as filters. If you select more than one label, only files with all the selected labels will be displayed.
  4. Once you select a label, the File Library display will update to show only the files with that label. Here, I've selected "screenshot":
  5. To remove a label from your filter, click on it again to deselect it. (Or reload the page.)

You can combine the labels filter with the file type filter and search, too.