Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Best free sticky-notes software

Best free sticky-notes software

Is your workspace drowning in a sea of Post-It notes? Chuck them out and transfer their vital information to the Desktop of your PC. Andy Shaw tests six of the best tools to do it


Many of the apps and programs that let you stick Post-it-style notes on your PC’s Desktop take the concept literally, by letting you type your reminders onto a series of yellow squares. While you can certainly do that with Stickies, you can also do lots more. In fact you can do so much more, the options border on becoming overwhelming. Don’t worry, though – nothing is overly complicated so you can take on as many or as few of the extra options as you want, and explore further tools at your own pace.

Rather than launching and running as a regular program and taking up space on the taskbar, Stickies operates from a small icon in the notification area, a bit like a security program. To add a new note, just press Ctrl+N and start typing. You can resize and rearrange your notes as you please. Any other applications you open will appear over the top of your Stickies; then, if you want to see them, just left-click the icon in the notification area to bring them back to the top. You can also choose to have your notes always on top if you prefer.

Right-click the taskbar icon and you’ll see the extent of Stickies’ tools and options. You can organise your notes into stacks (folders that collect together notes for a particular project) and select options for how they’re saved and managed. There’s even a separate Manage Stickies window from where you can rearrange and archive your notes.

As well as simple text, you can paste almost anything into a Stickie, including images, web addresses and even file attachments. If you want to get really sophisticated, you can share notes with other people over your network, and there’s a solid backup-and-restore option, so you can ensure that your notes are never lost and even transfer them to another PC.

There are a lot of sophisticated options available and the software pops up a Help document when you first launch it, which is a bit overwhelming. A link to a video intro with further tutorials for advanced users might be a better way to get all this information across.

Stickies lets you display almost anything in its notes but don’t be put off by its range of options. They’re there when you want them but you can just as easily start off using it as a simple note tool.

Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes is Microsoft’s take on displaying Post-itstyle notes on your Desktop and it comes preinstalled with Windows 10, so it’s ready to use whenever you want. It’s recently undergone a significant update that lifts it above the basics, analysing the content of notes and integrating with other Windows 10 apps to make your sticky notes more functional and to link them to your other programs. For example, typing a web address into a note creates a clickable link; a street address creates a link to Microsoft’s Maps app; and a flight number adds known details about the flight to the bottom of the note.

You can choose from six different colours for your notes, which is handy for organising them, and you can resize and rearrange them in whatever way you like. There’s not much more to it, but if all you want to do is create and display some simple reminders, this is the easiest way.

There are a lot of things that you can’t put into a Sticky Note, including images, which is a significant oversight. You also can’t perform any text formatting, such as adding bullet-pointed to-do lists, changing fonts or adding bold or italics.

If all you want to do is paste a reminder or two onto your Desktop, Sticky Notes does the job and it’s ready to use because it’s already installed. Apart from its ability to recognise types of text, though, it offers little else beyond the basics.

7 Sticky Notes

7 Sticky Notes has as many tools and features as Stickes, but is styled in a slightly different way, with many of its tools focused on the presentation of notes. When you create a new note – by right-clicking its icon in the notification area and selecting the option from a pop-up menu – it automatically adds the date and time in the title bar, though you can overwrite this if you want.

It also opens a Note Configuration Window containing lots of icons for formatting your typed text. If you want to spend time making your notes look just right, adding bullet points and highlighting, this is the right tool for the job. However, it defaults to a handwriting font, which we weren’t keen on.

The Configuration Window includes tabs containing more tools, such as alarms that can be set to alert you about a note at a particular time.

This software hasn’t been updated since 2013 and looks suspiciously like it might have been abandoned. As a result, the interface is starting to look a little outdated when run alongside other modern Windows programs.

If you find the Gold Award-winning Stickies a bit overwhelming, you may find 7 Sticky Notes more friendly and easy to use. However, it’s looking a bit dated and may never receive another update.


This Windows 10 app has a unique trick up its sleeve. Instead of displaying notes on your Desktop, it pins them to the Start menu, which is a handy and easily accessible place to keep them. If you like the idea of sticky notes but don’t want to clutter your Desktop, this is a great tool – but it doesn’t do anything else. lets you create sticky notes on your screen but it doesn’t do it in a particularly clever way. For example, when you add a new note, it appears in the exact centre of your screen, even if there’s another note already there, so you’re likely to accumulate a pile of notes hidden behind one another.


StickyPad is a simple and straightforward sticky-note tool but it has a number of drawbacks. For starters, it uses Windows XP-style icons, which look very dated, and you can’t use non-text elements such as images in your notes. It also turns every note into a Desktop icon, even if it’s closed, which creates a lot of Desktop clutter.