Custom colour labels?

Is there any chance that TotalFinder might support customising the 7 label/tag colours —either via prefs or a series of hidden prefs? That would really make my day, now that Path Finder no longer offers this feature and PF7 is not compatible with Catalina. This may seem a very niche request, but I am so used to toning down the colours (with full bars) that a vanilla installation looks horribly garish to me.

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I just looked into it and it seems to be a hard task. Unfortunately Finder is using quite low-level API from DesktopServicesPriv and HIServices frameworks to obtain actual label colors. I didn’t find an easy way how to override that functionality.

During my investigation I found source of color definitions in HIServices framework binary. The logic is implemented in CopyLabelColorAndName which uses default (cached) colors hardcoded in the binary or alternatively looks into

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to define custom colors via, maybe this functionality is somehow disabled under Catalina and that legacy code-path is never executed, or I don’t know how to trigger it.

btw. this was interpreted as one other user reported in 2014: Problems with tag colors

i Find it also a serious issue before upgrading to Catalina… Let’s pray for the better and a magic moment for Antonin the crack this problem. It’s as always Apple’s fault (minimalistic GUI saga)

Thanks for looking into this darwin. (Sorry I missed your reply earlier; don’t seem to be getting notifications.) Your explanation is clear and I can see it is a problem, but like the last poster I hope you may be inspired to come up with a solution. I think it could please a lot of people and be a feather in TotalFinder’s cap.

I suppose there wouldn’t be a hack such as applying a transparent overlay? All I really want to do is to keep the coloured rows but mute the existing colours.

Looking more closely at TotalFinder screenshots, it seems as though in restoring the row colouring for labelled items, you use a paler version of the standard colour used for the blob. Do you have control over how the row colour relates to the standard colour? Would you be able to reduce the saturation as well or instead of the lightness? is this an area where users could be given some choices?
Many thanks, Nick

Yes, I have control over that and I could easily implement some changes there.

btw. one user just sent me some ancient, it looks like I was almost there with my experiments, I just didn’t understand that the values for RGB colors are not encoded as floats, but as some crazy integers.

Anyways, I could provide that file to you and you could try experimenting with it. Drop me an email to and we can follow there.