Using Mac Stickies

Stickies is an app that has been around on the Mac long before Notes, Reminders and iCloud. You can place little notes on your Desktop to refer to while working. You can even have these notes remain on top of other windows. While it doesn't offer some of the advanced functionality of today's apps, it can still be useful as a Mac-only tool for helping you get work done.

Video Transcript
So here's a subject I haven't talked about in a long time. To be honest I completely forgot that they were even part of Mac OS. It's an app that's on your Mac called Stickies. It's been around for a long time. I'm going to use Spotlight to launch it. Command space, Stickies. What is it?

Well, it simply simulates little sticky notes, or post it notes, that are on your desktop. So you get these little notes here. It gives you a couple samples to start off. But you can create your own by going into File, New note, and you get this little window with a little title bar there that you can move around. You can type whatever you want in it. You can create little lists, you can put procedures you need to do everyday. Important numbers or websites. You can put anything you want in here. You can completely format it. So you can do fonts and change the color of the entire note. So you can have all different types of notes up there.

You've got a full set of editing tools so it's kind of like a little text editor. You can even import text into it if you want. These things float around on your screen. It can go anywhere you want. Now, they are only there as long as Stickies is running. So if I quit Stickies, they go away. But if I open it again, then they all come back and they remember their positions.

In addition to be able to close a sticky you can also click this little button here and it shrinks down to just the title bar. So you can kind of get it a little bit out of the way. But not only that you can actually bring them to the front permanently. So here I'm going to run Safari. You can see Safari is covering these because they're regular windows. But I can select this window in Stickies and now I can select to have it put on top. So now it floats on top so no matter what I do with Safari it's not going to be able to get on top of the sticky note. So I can stick it off in the corner and it will always be something on top of things. You can easily grab a corner here to shrink it down to make it nice and small so it's not in the way.

I can also make it translucent so you can kind of see through the window a little bit if I want. All you have to do is click the sticky to activate the Stickies app and I can make changes again. So I can turn all that off so it's not floating on top anymore. You can see the windows can kind of overlap each other in different ways. Actually when I select a window in Stickies only that window jumps to the front of whatever I've got going on there. So you see this one didn't jump to the front.

So there's a lot you can do. Double clicking on the title bar will do the same as clicking here so you can shrink it easily. It's really nice to be able to color them up with all sorts of things. You can even include graphics. You can drop and drop graphics in there. You can set text color by going to Font, and then Show Colors, and setting a color for that. A lot of different things you can do.

So this all sounds great but what are the advantages and disadvantages to using Stickies over more modern things like say Notes or Reminders. Well, Notes and Reminders are both part of iCloud. So the great thing is that they sync up across all your Macs and your iOS devices. You add something to your Notes on your Mac you can see them on your iPhone, your iPad, your other Mac. That kind of thing. The same thing with Reminders. They can even have alarms and notifications and all. It's easy to write lists and check things off in Reminders or even create lists in Notes as well. So Notes and Reminders are definitely more modern and more capable apps of doing lots of things.

But Stickies are really nice in how they fit on the screen. They take up very little space. So for tasks that are very max specific. Say, for instance, you're a video editor and you have to go through a certain process when you're finished up a video to do certain things with it. You know send it to somebody, put it in some shared directory, a few other things you need to as name it a certain way. This isn't something you need on your iPhone but you may just want to create a little sticky, have that available, maybe if you always have Stickies running it's always off there in a corner and it can just remind you of those different things. Maybe if you're at work you've got different phone extensions. You've got a in-house phone so it really doesn't help to have the phone numbers in Contacts very much because you're not calling from your computer, you're calling from the in-house phone system. You may have a little list of the extensions of the people you need to call on a regular basis. You can put that up there. Just little things that aren't as important, maybe, as Notes and Reminders but it's helpful to have them visible on the screen and you can do that in Stickies.

Now the thing about Stickies, like a lot of other tools, is it's highly customizable for whatever it is you want to do. So one person's use of Stickies is completely different than another person's. For a lot of us there's really no use for Stickies as Notes and Reminders completely take the place. As I mentioned before I haven't used Stickies, or even thought about Stickies, in years. When I asked a lot of people in Club MacMost recently about Stickies some of them said they hadn't thought about or used them in years and other people said they have been using them and still use them and it's an important part of their work on their Mac.

Comments: 17 Responses to “Using Mac Stickies”

    1 year ago

    Gary, any tips on where to download stickies from? Can’t seem to find it anywhere. Thanks.

    1 year ago

    That was good information on stickies. I will probably use the sense that I’m a senior citizen it’s helpful to make a list that you can look at while you’re on the computer. thanks for the info

    1 year ago

    Gail: You should already have it on your Mac. Just use Spotlight to search for it. it is in your Applications folder.

    Richard Waldorf
    1 year ago

    Are there Stickies for the iPad?

    1 year ago

    Richard: No, iOS doesn’t use windows as an interface, so if there were Stickies, they would just look exactly like Notes. So, in a way, yes: Notes.

    1 year ago

    Thank you, Gary! I used to use Stickies, but thought they had disappeared years ago with one of the operating systems. Never thought about it again, but so glad to have it back in my life!

    1 year ago

    I haven’t use it in a while, but t is very useful. Thanks Gary.

    Ric Willmot
    1 year ago

    Thank you, Gary. Once the sticky is set with colour and font, is there a way to set those preferences as the default and every new note has those colours and font?

    1 year ago

    Ric: I don’t think so, no. You could always copy and paste the formatted text and then select it and start typing to replace the text in the new note.

    Ric Willmot
    1 year ago

    Thanks, Gary. And, thank you for your regular updates. They are most helpful.

    1 year ago

    Stickies are fundamental in my Mac use and screen interface. Years ago used them like a poor man’s desktop publisher. I would lay them out on screen against selected desktop images or text and screen shoot an image to use for say, naming or labeling the image or leave instructions for students or subsequent users of that computer. I still use them ‘arranged by color’ as a mini filing system fixed to one screen. Love stickies – totally over looked and valuable enhancement to Mac flying.

    Sharon Wetherby
    1 year ago

    Gary, thanks for this info. I’m taking an online ceramics glaze calculation class. Our instructor used a Windows sticky note to show a list of glaze chemicals he wanted to enter into his glaze calculation software. I did not know sticky notes were available on my iMac. Had to write my ingredients on a scrap of paper! I will check this out!

    edward glinski
    1 year ago

    As one uses stickies that will remain on the desktop, how do we eliminate the blue instruction box as the edited sticky remains? The instructions clutters up the desk top. Its underused, but really a great idea for simply jotting down a note while working on safari, mail or with any app. poject.

    1 year ago

    edward: Those sample stickies are just like any other. Click the close button at the top left to close it.

    12 months ago

    Can stickies be dropped/moved into folders?

    12 months ago

    david: There’s no organizational structure or anything like that, If you want that, use the Notes app.

    Lauri Kunzman
    11 months ago

    Hey Gary – I found this App called “AirSync for Apple Stickies”. It works! syncs my Stickies notes on my MAC to my iPad and iPhone. Takes a few minutes for it to sync (you get a dull thud and think it isn’t working) but now I have the same Stickies on all my devices. cool.

Comments Closed.