Make Your Own Sticky Notes with Notepad (Windows)

Someone had once remarked that simplicity is making the journey of life with just baggage enough. Sometimes, I try to apply the same axiom to my “˜soft aware’ life too. And that involves squeezing the maximum juice out of what’s available in my computer.

One thing that has always been available since the last 20 years from the birth of Windows has been the “˜un-noteworthy’ Notepad.  Life with Notepad couldn’t be any simpler. It strips all formatting and keeps data in its plain format. It doesn’t ask for any special Windows resources, comes up in a blink of an eye and doesn’t nag you with any dialog boxes or prompts.

We all use Notepad to store our scraps of data as text files. But with a little bit of tip and tuck it can be made into an effective sticky note.  Here I am going to show you how to make your own sticky notes with just the Notepad and any version of Windows.

(1) The first step – Creating a new file type

  • Open any explorer window.
  • Click on “˜Tools’.
  • Select “˜Folder Options’ in the drop down and select the “˜File Types’ tab.
  • Click on the “˜New’ button and create own file extension by typing it in the “˜New Extension Window’. I called mine ““ stky (for “˜sticky’)
  • Click “˜Enter’.

1 filetype   Make Your Own Sticky Notes with Notepad (Windows)

The “˜File Type’ box gives us the power to create our own file types. A different file type for our version of sticky note gives us control over the way we handle it. So”¦

(2) Create an action and an application

With the new file type highlighted, click the “˜Advanced’ button. The “˜Edit File Type’ box opens. Click its “˜New’ button and you get to enter a new “˜Action’ and “˜Application Used’ dialog box. Type in “˜open’ and “˜notepad.exe’ respectively in the two fields. Close this box and move on to the “˜Edit File Type’ box.

2 actionandapplication   Make Your Own Sticky Notes with Notepad (Windows)

(3) Assign an icon

In the still open “˜Edit File Type’ box, click on “˜Change Icon’ and choose any available icon or any of your own. Give a nice and apt name to the icon. I gave mine an unimaginative “˜Sticky Note’. Close all open boxes.

3 choose icon   Make Your Own Sticky Notes with Notepad (Windows)

(4) Create a new registry value

No, this is not as scary as it sounds. Just a simple two step process.

  • Go to Start ““ Run, and type in regedit, which takes you to the registry editor.
  • Expand “˜HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT’ on the left pane.
  • Scroll down to your file type. (Mine was .stky)
  • Right click on the file type. Select New>Key and input “˜ShellNew’.
  • With “˜ShellNew’ selected, move over to the right pane, right click on an empty area and select New>String Value and enter “˜NullFile’.
  • Exit the registry editor.

4 regedit   Make Your Own Sticky Notes with Notepad (Windows)

(5) Just reboot.

After a reboot, right clicking brings up the context menu with your sticky note file type under “˜New’.

(6) Using it”¦finally.

After all the hard work, it’s time for the fruits. Want to list down a to-do list? Just right click anywhere on the desktop and choose the “˜Sticky Note’ file type under the right click “˜New’ menu. Type in the task under file name and then open the file to write something more descriptive. Create as many “˜Sticky Notes’ as you want and arrange them on the desktop.

5 desktop   Make Your Own Sticky Notes with Notepad (Windows)

Thanks to the versatility of the Notepad, ten minutes of mouse work just saved you the bother of installing another piece of software.

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good GAWD ! WHY do you make this SO technical. create a notepad “sticky”,leave it in Documents. download/install something like Webkey [ hotkey creator ],I use Winkey but that’s not available anymore [ thank GOD I have it burned to my download cd ]. use your f keys and other keyboard keys to create hotkeys to your fooling around in dangerous territory [ registry ].


How is this different from using normal text files?


It isn’t.


Same question as Mike. Why not just a normal text file?

Also, in case of associating, you can just create the something.stky file and double click on it and then select Notepad as the default option.

Step 2 gets really simplified then.


The objective is to
– not install a third party software.
– use a ‘different’ file type with a distinguishing icon on the whole and in the right click context menu.
Just creating an unassociated .stky file and using ‘Open With>Notepad’ defeats and prolongs the whole purpose.

Of course, the whole thing becomes redundant if a third part sticky is installed, but hey! we are looking at a way to use the utility of the Notepad for this.

Timbo Huey

Notepad+Registry= What the hell?
Just make several text files!
Or you could just download some frickin’ freeware that gives you the actual look of sticky notes.
Don’t get scared now!


This was kinda lame.


Interesting, but I would not mess around with the registry.
I use hottnotes, which allows me to open multiple notes at the same time.
I could give up the fancy features of hottnotes, such as different colors, etc.
I don’t want to give up multiple notes..
Notepad can display only one note at a time. Is there a way to make notepad display several notes at one time?


i have 20 notepad “notes” that i open from the keyboard using [ no longer available ] Winkey. webkey is a good replacement. associates keyboard numbers/letters [ includes f keys ] with individual notes. in MY case,Windows key plus:
f2 f3 f4 f5 f6 f7 f8 f9 f10 f12 q,w,i,o,p,s,g,h,k,z
so yes,notepad WILL display multiple notes


Is there a way to make notepad show several stickies on the desktop at the same time?
This is a deal maker/breaker for me.


Open as many simultaneous ‘stickies’ as you want. No problems!


Not working on Vista.. there is no file types dialog.(


In Vista it is easier actually…Their is no need to manually register a new file type.
1. Create a New File, through Right Click Menu. Give it the extension you want (e.g. stky), associate it with Notepad. Done!

In Vista, file type associations can be found under ‘Default Programs’ – [Associate a file type or protocol with a specific program]
2. You only have to enter the registry if you want to associate a new icon with the new file type.Google the process, it’s a simple two step one.

*But always back-up your registry before making any changes.

Michael Harding

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to apply to Vista as there is no File Types tab there under Folder Options. If that is the case, perhaps it would be more helpful to identify the article as being relevant to XP et al only.


btw,i have Vista installed as o.s. clarifying


I tired this. It was simple enough, but the new icon doesn’t show in the context menu. Did I forget something?


You forgot the “Create a new registry value” part, which adds the shell icon.


Now Saikat, i need you to confirm me two thing..

1) If i create some 4 stickes, do they each occupy a separate button on the taskbar ?
2) Do they all show up again automatically when i restart Windows ?


Hi Shri,

To both your queries…

1. YES
2. YES :)


Is there a way to hide the taskbar buttons for our “.stky” extension ?


In regular notepad, you can save a bitmap (screenshot). In the stky file you can’t. Is there a reason for that? – Better yet, is there a fix for that?


Hi VJ…sorry for the late reply. Can you save a bitmap in NotePad? I don’t really think so…but do correct me if I am wrong.


I did this in XP. I get the sticky to show up in the menu, but when I make a sticky note, only two lines of it show up, really small. It isn’t a giant old sticky. How do I solve this?


Interesting tip! I will try it. I have tried a couple of sticky notes apps but actually I continue to write my stuff in .txt files.


Hi Saikat,

How read all the sticky notes through a general application that will not be windows dependent. an one thing more that i want to know is that wt is the stranded extension used by windows for sticky notes….


Deepak, we create the extension…thus their is no standard extension.


Is there a way to disable the [x] (close notepad) icon for these .stickies? I am my own worst enemy when it comes to things like closing emptying recycle bins and closing open idle apps neurotically even if I don’t mean to, and I’d probably wind up doing that to something that’s supposed to stick around to remind me persistently.


There’s no problem if you close it. Just open it again.

dave rice

Even though slighlty long winded with the new ext and registry stuff. I actually prefer this method from downloading some freeware and installing it. nothing is ever free anymore and those pesky freeware software will have popups and reminders to pee you off all the time.


That was my intention when I found this solution. Ha, ha..I use an Excel sheet as a planner and a GTD tool. And it’s pretty effective. Keeping things simple as possible – The Art of Uncluttering:)


This is a nice little idea. Can this be done using Wordpad as well? If so, how?


No, it cannot be done with WordPad unfortunately.