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MakeTaggable is a fork of Acts-As-Taggable-On with code updates & fresh migrations
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MakeTaggable is a tagging gem for Rails applications that allows custom tagging along dynamic contexts.


To use make_taggable, run the followng from the root of your application:

bundle add make_taggable

Post Installation

Install migrations

rails make_taggable_engine:install:migrations

Review the generated migrations then migrate:

rails db:migrate

For MySql users

To make MySQL play nice with spÉcial characters you can setting the following line in an initializer file:

MakeTaggable.force_binary_collation = true

Or by run this rake task:

rails make_taggable_engine:tag_names:collate_bin

See the Configuration section for more details.



class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  make_taggable # Alias for make_taggable :tags
  make_taggable :skills, :interests

class UsersController < ApplicationController
  def user_params
    params.require(:user).permit(:name, :tag_list) ## Rails 4 strong params usage

@user = User.new(:name => "Bobby")

Add and remove a single tag

@user.tag_list.add("awesome")   # add a single tag. alias for <<
@user.tag_list.remove("awesome") # remove a single tag
@user.save # save to persist tag_list

Add and remove multiple tags in an array

@user.tag_list.add("awesome", "slick")
@user.tag_list.remove("awesome", "slick")

You can also add and remove tags in format of String. This would be convenient in some cases such as handling tag input param in a String.

Pay attention you need to add parse: true as option in this case.

You may also want to take a look at delimiter in the string. The default is comma , so you don't need to do anything here. However, if you made a change on delimiter setting, make sure the string will match. See configuration for more about delimiter.

@user.tag_list.add("awesome, slick", parse: true)
@user.tag_list.remove("awesome, slick", parse: true)

You can also add and remove tags by direct assignment. Note this will remove existing tags so use it with attention.

@user.tag_list = "awesome, slick, hefty"
=> [#<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 1, name: "awesome", taggings_count: 1>,
 #<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 2, name: "slick", taggings_count: 1>,
 #<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 3, name: "hefty", taggings_count: 1>]

With the defined context in model, you have multiple new methods at disposal to manage and view the tags in the context. For example, with :skill context these methods are added to the model: skill_list(and skill_list.add, skill_list.remove skill_list=), skills(plural), skill_counts.

@user.skill_list = "joking, clowning, boxing"
=> [#<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 1, name: "joking", taggings_count: 1>,
 #<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 2, name: "clowning", taggings_count: 1>,
 #<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 3, name: "boxing", taggings_count: 1>]


# => ["joking", "clowning", "boxing", "coding"]

@another_user = User.new(:name => "Alice")

=> [#<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 1, name: "joking", taggings_count: 1>,
 #<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 2, name: "clowning", taggings_count: 2>,
 #<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 3, name: "boxing", taggings_count: 1>]

To preserve the order in which tags are created use acts_as_ordered_taggable:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  # Alias for acts_as_ordered_taggable_on :tags
  acts_as_ordered_taggable_on :skills, :interests

@user = User.new(:name => "Bobby")
@user.tag_list = "east, south"

@user.tag_list = "north, east, south, west"

@user.tag_list # => ["north", "east", "south", "west"]

Finding most or least used tags

You can find the most or least used tags by using:


You can also filter the results by passing the method a limit, however the default limit is 20.


Finding Tagged Objects

MakeTaggable uses scopes to create an association for tags. This way you can mix and match to filter down your results.

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  make_taggable :tags, :skills
  scope :by_join_date, order("created_at DESC")

User.tagged_with("awesome").by_join_date.paginate(:page => params[:page], :per_page => 20)

# Find users that matches all given tags:
# NOTE: This only matches users that have the exact set of specified tags. If a user has additional tags, they are not returned.
User.tagged_with(["awesome", "cool"], :match_all => true)

# Find users with any of the specified tags:
User.tagged_with(["awesome", "cool"], :any => true)

# Find users that have not been tagged with awesome or cool:
User.tagged_with(["awesome", "cool"], :exclude => true)

# Find users with any of the tags based on context:
User.tagged_with(['awesome', 'cool'], :on => :tags, :any => true).tagged_with(['smart', 'shy'], :on => :skills, :any => true)

You can also use :wild => true option along with :any or :exclude option. It will be looking for %awesome% and %cool% in SQL.

Tip: User.tagged_with([]) or User.tagged_with('') will return [], an empty set of records.


You can find objects of the same type based on similar tags on certain contexts. Also, objects will be returned in descending order based on the total number of matched tags.

@bobby = User.find_by_name("Bobby")
@bobby.skill_list # => ["jogging", "diving"]

@frankie = User.find_by_name("Frankie")
@frankie.skill_list # => ["hacking"]

@tom = User.find_by_name("Tom")
@tom.skill_list # => ["hacking", "jogging", "diving"]

@tom.find_related_skills # => [<User name="Bobby">, <User name="Frankie">]
@bobby.find_related_skills # => [<User name="Tom">]
@frankie.find_related_skills # => [<User name="Tom">]

Dynamic Tag Contexts

In addition to the generated tag contexts in the definition, it is also possible to allow for dynamic tag contexts (this could be user generated tag contexts!)

@user = User.new(:name => "Bobby")
@user.set_tag_list_on(:customs, "same, as, tag, list")
@user.tag_list_on(:customs) # => ["same", "as", "tag", "list"]
@user.tags_on(:customs) # => [<Tag name='same'>,...]
User.tagged_with("same", :on => :customs) # => [@user]

Tag Parsers

If you want to change how tags are parsed, you can define your own implementation:

class MyParser < MakeTaggable::GenericParser
  def parse
    MakeTaggable::TagList.new.tap do |tag_list|
      tag_list.add @tag_list.split('|')

Now you can use this parser, passing it as parameter:

@user = User.new(:name => "Bobby")
@user.tag_list = "east, south"
@user.tag_list.add("north|west", parser: MyParser)
@user.tag_list # => ["north", "east", "south", "west"]

# Or also:
@user.tag_list.parser = MyParser
@user.tag_list # => ["north", "east", "south", "west"]

Or change it globally:

MakeTaggable.default_parser = MyParser
@user = User.new(:name => "Bobby")
@user.tag_list = "east|south"
@user.tag_list # => ["east", "south"]

Tag Ownership

Tags can have owners:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base

class Photo < ActiveRecord::Base
  make_taggable :locations

@some_user.tag(@some_photo, :with => "paris, normandy", :on => :locations)
Photo.tagged_with("paris", :on => :locations, :owned_by => @some_user)
@some_photo.locations_from(@some_user) # => ["paris", "normandy"]
@some_photo.owner_tags_on(@some_user, :locations) # => [#<MakeTaggable::Tag id: 1, name: "paris">...]
@some_photo.owner_tags_on(nil, :locations) # => Ownerships equivalent to saying @some_photo.locations
@some_user.tag(@some_photo, :with => "paris, normandy", :on => :locations, :skip_save => true) #won't save @some_photo object

Working with Owned Tags

Note that tag_list only returns tags whose taggings do not have an owner. Continuing from the above example:

@some_photo.tag_list # => []

To retrieve all tags of an object (regardless of ownership) or if only one owner can tag the object, use all_tags_list.

Adding owned tags

Note that owned tags are added all at once, in the form of comma seperated tags in string. Also, when you try to add owned tags again, it simply overwrites the previous set of owned tags. So to append tags in previously existing owned tags list, go as follows:

def add_owned_tag
    @some_item = Item.find(params[:id])
    owned_tag_list = @some_item.all_tags_list - @some_item.tag_list
    owned_tag_list += [(params[:tag])]
    @tag_owner.tag(@some_item, :with => stringify(owned_tag_list), :on => :tags)

def stringify(tag_list)
    tag_list.inject('') { |memo, tag| memo += (tag + ',') }[0..-1]
Removing owned tags

Similarly as above, removing will be as follows:

def remove_owned_tag
    @some_item = Item.find(params[:id])
    owned_tag_list = @some_item.all_tags_list - @some_item.tag_list
    owned_tag_list -= [(params[:tag])]
    @tag_owner.tag(@some_item, :with => stringify(owned_tag_list), :on => :tags)

Dirty objects

@bobby = User.find_by_name("Bobby")
@bobby.skill_list # => ["jogging", "diving"]

@bobby.skill_list_changed? #=> false
@bobby.changes #=> {}

@bobby.skill_list = "swimming"
@bobby.changes.should == {"skill_list"=>["jogging, diving", ["swimming"]]}
@bobby.skill_list_changed? #=> true

@bobby.skill_list_change.should == ["jogging, diving", ["swimming"]]

Tag cloud calculations

To construct tag clouds, the frequency of each tag needs to be calculated. Because we specified make_taggable on the User class, we can get a calculation of all the tag counts by using User.tag_counts_on(:customs). But what if we wanted a tag count for a single user's posts? To achieve this we call tag_counts on the association:


A helper is included to assist with generating tag clouds.

Here is an example that generates a tag cloud.


module PostsHelper
  include MakeTaggable::TagsHelper


class PostController < ApplicationController
  def tag_cloud
    @tags = Post.tag_counts_on(:tags)


<% tag_cloud(@tags, %w(css1 css2 css3 css4)) do |tag, css_class| %>
  <%= link_to tag.name, { :action => :tag, :id => tag.name }, :class => css_class %>
<% end %>


.css1 { font-size: 1.0em; }
.css2 { font-size: 1.2em; }
.css3 { font-size: 1.4em; }
.css4 { font-size: 1.6em; }


If you would like to remove unused tag objects after removing taggings, add:

MakeTaggable.remove_unused_tags = true

If you want force tags to be saved downcased:

MakeTaggable.force_lowercase = true

If you want tags to be saved parametrized (you can redefine to_param as well):

MakeTaggable.force_parameterize = true

If you would like tags to be case-sensitive and not use LIKE queries for creation:

MakeTaggable.strict_case_match = true

If you would like to have an exact match covering special characters with MySql:

MakeTaggable.force_binary_collation = true

If you would like to specify table names:

MakeTaggable.tags_table = 'aato_tags'
MakeTaggable.taggings_table = 'aato_taggings'

If you want to change the default delimiter (it defaults to ','). You can also pass in an array of delimiters such as ([',', '|']):

MakeTaggable.delimiter = ','

NOTE 1: SQLite by default can't upcase or downcase multibyte characters, resulting in unwanted behavior. Load the SQLite ICU extension for proper handle of such characters. See docs


Install new migrations by running:

rails make_taggable_engine:install:migrations


Version 0.7.x is compatible with Ruby 2.5 > and Rails 5.2 >


MakeTaggable uses RSpec for its test coverage. Inside the gem directory, you can run the specs by following the steps below:

  1. Install the required gems:
bundle update
  1. Setup the dummy test app:
bundle exec rake create_test_app
  1. Run the spec tests against SQLite use the following command.
bundle exec rake

You can also run all the tests across all the Rails versions by running:

bundle exec appraisal install

bundle exec appraisal rake


Please use the following Standard Rb commands to format your code before creating a pull request:

Check for code errors:

bundle exec standardrb

Fix code errors:

bundle exec standardrb --fix

For more information please review the Contributing section.


List of valued contributors From Acts-As-Taggable-On: Check them all


This gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.