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Perhaps you have a habit of pasting small yellow pieces of notes all over your table just to remind you to do a particular task. In this technological era, that is soon becoming obsolete. Mac OS X and Windows 7 both come with their own native sticky note applications that you can use to “paste” notes on your desktop. Let us take a look at some of the various choices of sticky notes for Linux.

1. Sticky Notes

Sticky notes is the default sticky note application for Gnome. It is an applet that you add on the panel and access it via a simple click on the panel icon.

sticky notes for linux

Sticky notes is a simple app and it is easy to use. You can configure the background color, font color and the default width and height. On the sticky note itself, you can also toggle the lock to prevent accidental deletion of the note content. While it is simple and short of features, it still can perform its task well, and one good thing is that it integrates well with the Gnome desktop and can access to the language library of the system. This gives you the capability to select the input method and the unicode characters.

2. KNotes

Knotes is the default sticky note app in Linux KDE desktop. It is highly configurable and comes with plenty of features not found in any other apps.


KNotes is actually part of the KDE PIM suite and an integrated component of Kontact, but it can be used independently as well. Being tightly integrated with the KDE framework, it give you functionality like drag and drop notes into emails, sending/receiving notes over a network and print note.

Features like editing the background color, font color, title font, text font, default width and height and the tab size are also available in KNotes. You can also paste note from the clipboard and perform a search to find that particular to-do list. You can add a title to each note for easy reference in the future. I found this nifty feature very useful and it is apparently missing from all other sticky notes apps.

On thing that I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t allow you to resize the sticky note on the fly.

Gnome users can also install KNotes from the repository, but must be prepared to install a whole bunch of KDE files.

3. Xpad

Xpad is a third party sticky note app (not to be confused with the xPad text editor and xPad sticky note for Mac) that is loved and used by many. It is lightweight, simple, yet extremely useful application.


Xpad is highly customizable. You can add basic styling (bold, italics, underline, etc) to the text, change the background color on the fly, resize the notes and even choose if you want to have scrollbar, window decoration on the notes itself. Each note comes with a toolbar that allows you to control all the note on an individual basis. You can even add or remove extra icons to the toolbar to make it more interactive.

Some of the Linux distros that are not using Gnome or KDE as the default desktop environment actually used Xpad as the default sticky note app in their distribution. If you are looking for a lightweight, yet highly configurable sticky app, this could be a great choice for you.

4. Pin ’em up

Pin ’em up is a Java-based sticky note application, which means it can run in whatever platforms that supports Java, including Mac, Windows and Linux.


Anyone who have used Java app on their system will know that it won’t run as fast (and look as nice) as the native app. This is also true for Pin ’em up. It does feel clumsy when you try to move the sticky note around. However, Pin ’em up does comes with some useful features that could worth a second look.

First of all, Pin ’em up allows you to sort your notes into categories. You can define your own categories and categorize your notes into their respective groups.

Secondly, it supports importing/exporting of your notes to your own server to sync them with other computers. This is useful if you are using different computers with different operating systems.

5. Tomboy Notes

Strictly speaking, Tomboy notes is not a sticky app, but it is an excellent and extremely powerful note-taking app that I think it worth a mention here.


Most people who have used Tomboy Notes will swear by it. Its ability to link notes together with a Wiki-like linking system makes it extremely easy to organize your thoughts and ideas. The best thing is, even if you rename/reorganize your notes, the links will still be intact.

Accessing the notes is often a mouse click away. Simply click on the panel applet icon and you will be able to access all your notes instantly. Tomboy integrates well with the Sticky Notes (in Gnome) and you can easily import your sticky notes into Tomboy. It comes preinstalled in Gnome desktop.

Are you aware of any other sticky notes for Linux? If they weren’t mentioned in this article, please introduce them to us in the comments!

Image credit: closedzero

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  1. tosim
    April 27, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Indicator Stickynotes-Am using with Mint18.1-MATE.

  2. tosim
    April 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Indicator Stickynotes is a nice little app. I use it with Mint18.1-MATE.

  3. Malcolm Bastien
    June 18, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Considering how good Tomboy is already and being included with Ubuntu (one of the best pre-included packages in my opinion) it's hard to convince people to use anything else but. Though I know that nobody is really using tomboy as effective as possible on their desktops.

  4. Vadim
    June 18, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Not necessarily a hater; GNote starts up faster and uses less memory for most people.

  5. Toshio
    June 18, 2009 at 5:14 am

    As an XFCE user, I have used both Gnote and XFCE's own note-taking panel applet and found them to be on equal footing as far as functionality.
    I like the desktop integration that the XFCE note-taking applet brings with it, but I'm amazed at how far Gnote has advanced from when it was initially announced (version 0.1 at the beginning of April I believe) to the present day (version 0.5 as of June 2009). There is some real competition between Gnote and Tomboy as far as number of features, and given 2-3 months, Gnote will have the upper hand.

  6. Jackson Chung
    June 18, 2009 at 4:57 am

    First, learn how to correctly spell "royally" then you may insult others. Secondly, like my colleagues have pointed out, it was just used as an example. I don't understand why you need to comment about a little thing like this.

  7. Aibek
    June 18, 2009 at 4:26 am

    @ Anonstrubator

    it's just an example, and if you you don't understand that you must be a real idiot.

  8. Damien Oh
    June 17, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    The screenshot is only for illustration purpose. Do you need to be so rude in your comment?

  9. FreeBooteR
    June 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I second Gnote.

  10. User
    June 17, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    While I only dislike Mono because of strictly technical issues, some people really hate Mono apps on their desktop. Tomboy is one such app that has received such criticism. I would like to point out that there is a C++ port of Tomboy (that works exactly the same, but faster and requires less RAM and disk spaced), GNote. It is a very good alternative to Tomboy.

    • opensas
      June 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm

      yes, User, I was about to make exactly the same observation...
      It would be very nice if the author of this article could include the monoless port of tomboy in this review...

    • Damien Oh
      June 17, 2009 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out. I left GNote out because it is essentially the same app as Tomboy. I guess I should make a note at the end of the article for mono-hater.

  11. Mekk
    June 17, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    As you finished with tomboy, let me mention zim. That's not a notes app, but a "desktop wiki", but in fact the difference is not that great, and I use it for the same purpose. One feature I like is that entering [] creates clickable checkbox, great for marking progress on ad hoc todo-lists.

    • AlanW
      September 28, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      Indeed- Zim seems like a brilliant app. I've been using Linux, and Knote, for years but I have no idea how I missed this little jem.

  12. TidusBlade
    June 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Nice to see xPad on a sticky notes list! Been using it for over a year and I've tried everything else on the list and yet I keep coming back to it, it's just simple and does the job well.

    Just wanted to add that if you're interested in organizing your thoughts and ideas while having too many of them to handle on sticky note programs, give MindRaider a quick peek. It's an absolutely brilliant program, would use it but it takes up way too much RAM, is clunky since it's Java but it just be my Java install... Anyways, just thought it would be interesting :)