The Stickies app for macOS gives you Sticky Notes for your desktop, turning your Mac into a virtual bulletin board and letting you jot down short bits of text to remember later. The notes are desktop specific, so you can organize them however you want, and they’ll retain their layout and contents even after closing the app.

Getting Started With Stickies

Stickies is an old app, and recent versions of macOS have buried it in the “Other” folder, along with a lot of other utilities. You can launch it from here, or by searching for it in Spotlight.

Immediately you’ll be presented with two example notes containing some instructions, and showing off how Stickies will look on your desktop.

You can either edit these notes or close them and make your own by selecting File > New Note (or by hitting Command+N).

Once you make a new note, you can write what you want and use all the formatting you’d use in TextEdit or the Notes app.

Arranging Notes

Stickies can get buried under all the windows you have open, so you can set them to always show on top by turning on “Float on Top” from the Window menu.

You’ll have to do this for each note, so using Option+Command+F may save you some clicking around.

If you don’t want the notes clogging up your screen, you can make them translucent from the same menu or with Option+Command+T. You can also collapse them from the Window menu, or with Command+M, or by double-clicking the title bar of the note:

This is useful and will make your notes much smaller, letting you keep more of them on your desktop without impacting your use of the rest of the system. You can even sort them automatically and have them arranged in a list in the top left corner, using the “Arrange By” menu in the Window settings.

Though there’s no option to change where it arranges them, as the top left placement blocks the title bar of many apps, it’s still a pretty useful feature for keeping things organized.

You can also change the color from the “Color” menu, or with Command+1 through Command+6:

You’re limited to the classic Post-It colors, but there’s enough for some basic categorization.

Saving Your Notes

Stickies will automatically save every edit you make to your notes, so you can feel free to close the app or restart your Mac without losing anything. The only way to get rid of a note permanently is to click the box in the top left corner of the note. This will ask you to save when you try to close the note, letting you store the contents as a text file. There’s no “Save” option in the File menu, but you can use “Export Text,” which will do the same thing.

If you’d rather switch over to using the Notes app, you can export all your current Stickies into Notes from the file menu by selecting “Export All to Notes.”

They’ll show up in the Notes app under a new folder called “Imported Notes.”

Some things may look a little different, but they should retain their formatting and be sorted by their colors into separate folders.

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Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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