How to Use eDiscovery 'Tag' Macros For Lightning-Quick Work!

12 October 2020 by Anith ediscovery tagging macros

Takeaway: Tags let you categorize your eDiscovery files. And tag macros let you automatically assign tags or tag-combinations to your case files – simply by clicking a predetermined keyboard shortcut key. So, find eDiscovery software that lets you use tag macros, both individually and with teams.

‘Tags’ are a huge part of eDiscovery review. And they’re a convenient crossover from the world of ‘paper’ discovery.

How do you track and organize paper documents? You probably use color-coded sticky notes with scribbled keywords (for context), right? Well, think of tags as the ‘virtual’ version of sticky notes for electronically stored information (ESI) like Word documents, PDFs, and emails. Once you’ve tagged documents in your case, you can pull up all the related ones by clicking on a particular tag.

Tags are great because you get to categorize files – which speeds up eDiscovery review.

As you work through your case, you’ll use tags to group related files. And these related files will help you evolve your case’s story. You’ll be able to:

  • Add and remove tags in seconds. You’ll click on a file and then on the adjacent ‘add tag’ button, to choose tags from a drop-down list. (You’d have already created a list of tags to choose from, and you can add to this list at any point.) Removing tags from a document is just as easy. Just click the ‘x’ next to a tag to remove it. Many eDiscovery applications also have ‘quick’ tags which are always on display (instead of being hidden in a drop-down list). You’ll be able to add these with a single click.
  • Tag files in bulk. If you have a bunch of files that you know all need the same tag, you can tag them in bulk. And if you tag a folder, its subfolders and files get the same tag, too. You can also bulk-tag entire ‘file families’ – i.e., groups of associated files like an email (a ‘parent’ file) and its attachments (the ‘children’). So, tag the parent email as ‘confidential’ and the child attachments automatically get tagged as ‘confidential’ as well.
  • Attach notes to give you context. With larger cases, you might forget why you chose a particular tag for a given file. Here’s where tag ‘notes’ come in hand. You get to write a short description and attach it to a tag, to give you and your team context for later. These notes can be specific to a particular file’s tag or for all occurrences of that tag. See how easy it is to create and add tag notes.

But what if you find yourself using a particular tag or tag-combination often?

Say you regularly use multiple tags together – for example, the tags ‘privileged’ and ‘important.’ How would you start tagging files? Option 1 would be to keep clicking the ‘privileged’ and ‘important’ tag buttons on your screen – two clicks for each file you want tagged. Doable but inconvenient. Option 2 would be to use the bulk tagging feature so you can tag all the files together. But what if you’re scrolling from file to file and don’t know in advance which ones you’ll want to tag with this combo? Plus, you’ll still need to click on each tag individually. This doesn’t seem like much when you’re dealing with a few hundred files. But when the file count goes up – perhaps into the thousands – this becomes a problem quite quickly.

Here’s where we introduce the ingenious concept of a ‘macro’ – i.e., a way of automating a series of steps.

A macro (short for ‘macroinstruction’) is a way of getting your computer to automatically work through a series of steps (usually a series of keystrokes or mouse actions). You’d program in the steps, and add a keyboard shortcut to trigger the steps. These instructions are usually stored as a separately-created .MAC file. You may have come across them in Microsoft Excel or Word, and now you can find them in eDiscovery, too.

eDiscovery tag-macros let you add a tag or a tag-combination to a file. All by pressing a single keyboard shortcut.

You set up the macro by first telling the software which tag combinations you want to use. If we take our earlier example, that would be the ‘privileged’ and ‘important’ tags. Next, you’ll assign a shortcut key for this macro – any letter from A-Z. Let’s choose ‘P’. Now, all you have to do is hit a predetermined trigger command (e.g., two periods in succession) followed by ‘P’. Whichever file you’ve chosen will automatically be tagged as both ‘privileged’ and ‘important’. No moving the mouse around on the screen to find the right buttons, and no clicking one button after the other. You’ll run the whole show from your keyboard. And once you’ve set up the right macros, you can work your way down a list of documents, tagging them with different tag combinations. In seconds! Also, you can use macros to remove tags (or tag-combinations) and add tag ‘notes’ (explained earlier).

Macros are perfect for teams because everyone can use them, but only case owners can create them.

The best eDiscovery providers allow you to share your account with other people in your team. But this comes with a problem: How do you control who gets to do what with your data? Because each member might have different privileges. The simple solution is to have different levels of access – from basic reviewers (who can view data and ‘produce’ files) to advanced owners (who can change/delete data). Macros use these levels of access to control how your files are tagged. Anyone with access to your case can use a macro, but only you – as case owner – gets to set them up.

Want to speed up eDiscovery by using tag macros? Try GoldFynch.

It’s an eDiscovery service that prioritizes things that matter to small and midsize law firms like yours. That’s why:

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up front how much you’ll be paying. It takes just a few clicks to move from one plan to another, and billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch and you’re good to go. Plus, it’s designed, developed, and run by the same team. So you get prompt and reliable tech support.
  • It keeps you flexible. To build a defensible case, you need to be able to add and delete files freely. Many applications charge to process each file you upload, so you’ll be reluctant to let your case organically shrink and grow. And this stifles you. With GoldFynch, you get unlimited processing for free. So, on a 3 GB plan, you could add and delete 5 GB of data at no extra cost – as long as there’s only 3 GB in your case at any point. And if you do cross 3 GB, your plan upgrades automatically and you’ll be charged for only the time spent on each plan. That’s the beauty of prorated pricing.
  • Access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.