How-To Geek

How to Use Windows 7’s Sticky Notes

Would you like an easy way to write down a quick note and keep it in front of you without wasting a piece of a dead tree?  Let’s take a look at the Sticky Notes app in Windows 7 and how you can use it to its fullest potential.

Getting Started With Sticky Notes

If you’ve searched the Desktop Gadget Gallery for the Sticky Notes gadget from Windows Vista, you don’t have to search any more.  The Vista Gadget has been replaced in Windows 7 by the Sticky Notes application.  You’ll find it under Accessories in the start menu, or just type Sticky Notes in the Start Menu search.


Sticky Notes are great for jotting down some quick text you need to remember, like an address you receive over the phone or the items you need to pick up from the store on the way home.  Here’s how a default note looks: yellow with 11 point Segoe Print font.


You can easily change a note’s color from the right-click menu.


If you paste text into the Sticky Note, it will maintain most of its original formatting.  You’ll notice a scroll bar on the right if there’s more text than can be displayed on the screen; you can also drag the bottom right corner to resize the note to any size you want.


Click the plus sign in the top left corner to crate a new note, or click the x in the right corner to delete an existing note.


Windows will double-check that you want to delete the note; if you don’t wish to see this message each time, check the Don’t display this message again box.


All of your Sticky Notes are saved at:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Sticky Notes\StickyNotes.snt

However, they’re not stored in a standard format, so you can’t overly use the data in the notes file.  If you would like to copy your open notes to another computer, though, you could copy and replace this file on the other computer.


Format Text on Sticky Notes

Although the Sticky Notes app doesn’t include any formatting tools, it still accepts many common keyboard shortcuts for formatting text.  These include:

  • Ctrl+B – Bold
  • Ctrl+I – Italics
  • Ctrl+U – Underline
  • Ctrl+T – Strikethrough

Press the keyboard shortcut to activate the formatting option, and press it again to turn it off as normal.  Again, this works the exact same as the shortcuts in Word or other common applications.


You can even make your text centered or right justified with these keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl+L – Normal, left-justified
  • Ctrl+E – Centered
  • Ctrl+R – Right-justified


You can even make a simple outline in a Sticky Note.  To make an outline or list, press:


This will give you a bullet point, but press it again to cycle through the options displayed below.  On the 7th time, you’ll be back to plain, non-outlined text.


The next outline number or point will automatically appear when you press Enter.  This is a great way to jot down a simple schedule for the day, items you need at the store, or anything you can think of.


Windows 7 Integration

Sticky Notes are well integrated with Windows 7’s new features.  You can create a new note from the jumplist, and we recommend keeping Sticky Notes pinned to your taskbar so you can easily jot a note down.  If you have notes open when you shutdown your computer, they’ll be automatically opened when you reboot just like the Desktop Gadgets.


Unfortunately, Windows 7 doesn’t treat each note as an individual note in the taskbar or Alt+tab, but if you hover over the note thumbnail you’ll get an Aero Preview of the notes while all the other windows turn translucent.  This is a great way to see what you’d written down without minimizing your windows.


Windows 7 even indexes your Sticky Notes, so you can easily find your notes from the Start Menu search.  If you enter something that you’ve written on a Sticky Note, you’ll see it come up in the search results.  This is one major advantage of the older Desktop Gadget.



Although Sticky Notes is not a groundbreaking new feature in Windows 7, it is a nice little application that makes it easy to jot something down.  It’s no replacement for OneNote or Evernote, but it is great for keeping a quick note in front of you so you won’t forget it.  With these tips and tricks, you should be able to get more use out of the Sticky Notes feature.

If you’re an Outlook user check out our Beginner’s Guide to Using the Notes Feature in Outlook.

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 07/27/10

Comments (23)

  1. InDiSent

    Love sticky notes.

  2. guy

    how to change the font?

  3. Matthew Guay

    @guy – You actually can’t change the font in Sticky Notes, but if you copy text from another program and past it into the Sticky Note, it’ll keep the same font as that text had in the first program. Thus notice that the EULA in the large green sticky note above uses a different font than the default script font.

  4. Daire

    Is there a way of keeping the notes on your desktop so that they are still there when you restart your pc?


  5. Matthew Guay

    @Daire – The notes reopen when you restart your computer. Just leave the notes running when you shutdown, and they’ll come up just as you left them when you restart. It’s worked great for me for well over a year now with Windows 7.

  6. Srikanth


    yes it will still be there, even if you restart your computer.

  7. Agustín

    Sticky Notes are not comfortable as a application. Instead if they were like a gadget it will be better, since you avoid an icon stocked in your taskbar, and act as a gadget in his true form, not like a “gadetplication”

  8. Randall Lind

    Sticky notes sucks that way it is now cause Microaoft makes it where when you have more then one note it is separate not integrated.

    This is why I use Sticky Notes Online gadget. It has one notepad and when you add more notes it has a arrow to flip over to the next note instead of having sticky notes all over the desktop.

    Microsoft needs to do the same thing.

  9. arlanda

    I use TiddlyWiki to hold all of my notes and it has a search box. TW can be opened in any browser, making it ideal to carry on USB device (file is portable).

  10. alejandro


  11. Nasreddine

    Hi all,
    Thanks for the information.
    I have a problem with my notes, when I close Sticky notes, they always removed. How can I ensure that they still stored when I close the program ?

  12. Matthew Guay

    @Nasreddine – The problem is, the sticky notes don’t actually have an exit button. The only way to close them from the sticky notes themselves is to click Delete. Instead, try exiting them from the taskbar. Hover over the Sticky Notes icon, and then click the x in the preview. This should exit the notes but still save the note for next time.

  13. Troy


    I checked the option to not display the delete confirmation message again; however, as a result, I have accidentally deleted some important stickies before their usefulness had been completed. Now, I cannot figure out how to get the default setting back. Do you know what registry setting this would be, or what other location I can find and change the setting back in.


  14. Matthew Guay

    @Troy – Here’s a Microsoft Support article that describes how to reenable the delete confirmation. It even includes a Fix it Wizard that can automatically fix it for you if you like:

    Hope it helps!

  15. amy

    how you send a sticky note online

  16. saul

    how can i change the size of the text (like Big text and Little text in your example) with shortcuts??

    greetings from Peru!

  17. Maria

    how can I hide sticky note icon to tray?

  18. NB

    WHOA! That blew my mind. I can’t believe that you can customize them so much. Maria – to minimize you can either minimize or close the sticky notes. They save automatically.

  19. Nicholas


    I like to keep a “clean” desktop; it’s just some art, without icons. The thing is, my desktop, as well as the theme for my entire computer including all icons, is black, smoke grey, and orange.
    I love using the stickies app, especially for quick things I want to come back to later, but having the white often bothers me.

    Now, I know it’d be tricky, but is there a way to change the _default_ colors? Specifically, I would love to be able to change the pink to orange, and the green to black / grey. Are the values for what colors appear coded anywhere; and if so, what do I need to do to change them?


  20. ngoc linh

    Segoe Print is the default font in Sticky notes, if you want to change the font to Arial or other alternative, please follow the step by step following:
    1. Type your note on Microsof Office / worpad / notepad
    2. Change the font to Arial or any font what you want.
    3. Copy and paste it to sticky notes

    Hope this helps ^-^

  21. Shanghai

    How do I keep Sticky Notes in the forefront? I want my notes to be in front of what I’m doing rather than buried 20 windows down.

  22. Kirsty

    Is there a way to lock the sticky notes to be at the front of all other windows thanks

  23. Robert

    I have a problem with my sticky notes . when I try to insert a word etc – – by clicking between words in a note , when I start typing it replaces (one letter at a time) what is already there . How do I fix/stop this ?.

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