New Garage project Smart Tagger makes finding and tagging documents easy

We’ve all experienced that moment of frustration when we can’t put our hands on that document we worked on just a month or two ago. Did I save that under Proposals or April 2019? That problem multiplies when you’re working at a large organization, trying to collaborate across multiple teams whether they’re just across the building or a few oceans. Inspired by enterprise customer feedback, Garage interns created a solution that can help creators and collaborators relocate and discover documents using Smart Tagger, a Microsoft Garage project. The Word add-in makes tagging documents easy by intelligently proposing document tags, and it’s is now available worldwide.

Intelligent tags make docs more searchable

Smart Tagger Screenshot 4

In an easy-to-access task pane that pops up on the side of your Word doc, Smart Tagger suggests tags based on unique words in your document. You can add the ones you like with a simple click and include your own if you want to add custom tags.

Gone are the days of having to remember to manually tag a document, scratching your head for a few minutes to think of important key words that will help the document rise to the top of a search down the line. The experience is powered by an intelligent RAKE algorithm that takes the work out coming up with tags.


Key features include:

  • Intelligent Tag Suggestions Select possible tags of interest, proposed after an automated scan of your document
  • Tag Shuffle Refresh the list of proposed tags to get a new batch if different or additional tags are needed
  • Predictive Typing Start typing a tag and predictive typing suggests a tag based on what you’ve typed
  • Tag Manager Easily see populated tags and quickly add or edit your own tags
  • High Visibility Panel Task pane on the right side of the document for quick access

Download the Smart Tagger Word add-in to start tagging documents.

Strengthening the iteration process through conversations with customers

Whether organizations are made up of one hundred people or one hundred thousand, sharing documents with your intended internal audience can be tricky. Tags can help, but remembering to tag every document requires diligence that is hard to find when dashing between meetings. As the Garage intern team conducted research on the problem at hand, they were surprised to discover that, even at Microsoft, the home of Microsoft Office, the percentage of documents that have tags is extremely low.

It doesn’t take much to imagine how an automatic tagging solution could aid collaboration, but the Garage intern team who built the project, working out of the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center, or NERD, partnered closely with customers to evaluate the customer experience. Cambridge-based Theo Lorrain-Hale, a Program Manager on the Office Shared team and the sponsor of Smart Tagger, worked with the Garage interns to get feedback from enterprise customers in the New England area. After sharing early prototypes with one apparel customer on a road trip to their headquarters, for example, the team made adjustments to the Smart Tagger UI.

Following a successful pilot of bringing customers to a Build and Brainstorm event in the NERD Garage, Theo saw an opportunity to pitch a project that would be heavily supported by a customer dialogue while the project was being built. Theo is working with a second team of Garage interns in the NERD Summer Cohort and continuing to partner with enterprise customers to refine

You can read the full story of this different, more engaging approach to focus groups on the Garage Blog.

Request an invitation to join the experiment

Smart Tagger is a Word add-in available worldwide in Appsource. The team is especially looking for feedback on the tagging interface. If you have kudos or suggestions, they want to hear your thoughts on UserVoice!