3+ Stickies Shortcuts You Should Use [Mac]

Joshua Lockhart 01-02-2012

sticky notesBased on what I’ve seen, Stickies (the desktop version – not the dashboard Create a Really Useful Personal Information Dashboard Page With Google Sites Creating webpages used to be such a tedious process. Aside from the hassle with deciding where to publicly host the page, you needed to learn HTML and then figure out how to program the page... Read More ) is a built-in Mac How to Use Apple's Lesser Known Podcast Producer on Mac Podcasting has already proven to be an effective way to communicate or entertain, and thus for basic broadcasting needs, Mac users might want to try out a lesser-known application included in Mac OS X Lion,... Read More app that doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of love. However, in all truth, it’s actually an extremely useful tool whether you want to use it for a long-term project or something simply short term. As a virtual form of the standard office sticky note Stickies - The Best Way to Keep Sticky Notes On Your Windows PC The other day, I realized something that both shocked and delighted me. In the entire span of MakeUseOf’s existence, its authors seem to have missed one application which I deem absolutely essential to my day-to-day... Read More , it definitely packs a punch.


In order to better your experience with Stickies, I’ve put together some shortcuts that you may have not actually tried out. Granted, if you use Stickies extensively anyway, you may actually know of them already.

Nab Some Text

sticky notes

First off, you may be wondering how exactly Stickies can go beyond the basic function that it has. Rather than proselytize about how great it is to be writing text on electronic Post-It notes, I’ll inform you of this function that’s incredibly practical. Let’s say you’re in a hypothetical situation where you need to remember three long-form URLs. How can you make this a little easier?

In order to remember a URL, simply highlight it in your browser, and then press Command + Shift + Y. After that, a sticky with all of the URL will automatically pop up on your screen. Do this a few more times, and you’re golden. In fact, this function works for any bit of highlighted text across all apps, and that’s pretty great.


stickies for mac


So how many of you actually slap physical sticky notes on your screen while working on your Mac? It seems like it can get kind of cluttered How To Design Your Own Awesome Workstation I work in a tiny apartment, and use two 24” monitors. I needed a workstation that fits into a tiny niche, but can still accommodate me for many hours every day and let me work... Read More . In Stickies, you can mimic this real-world tool by simply pressing Command + Option + F. After this, Stickies will always appear over whatever application you happen to be using. However, you may be thinking that even this would clutter your desktop a little. Never fear, for you can simply press Command + Option + T, and the entire note will become translucent, allowing you to see what lies beneath.

This is ideal for working with major projects where you need to quickly jot down notes and refer to them. Perhaps you are working with code and want to copy and paste simple bits of it. Maybe you need to keep a checklist of a workflow Use Automator to Create Symbolic Links to Dropbox on Mac Read More . This is great for keeping that information in view while still working on your projects.

Incorporate Some Media

sticky notes

Albeit not being a keyboard shortcut, Stickies offers a drag-and-drop function that will allow you to pull all forms of media into any of your open notes. This means videos, pictures, music… anything. My suggestion for this ability is that you use it when working on projects that require you to look over video or pictures.


Granted, this applies mainly to an educational setting, but I’m sure those of you out of school could make use of it as well. Say that you are having to provide an analysis over a news clip or any other video. Simply pop it into Stickies, use the floating function, and you can write while you watch – simple as that.

Other Shortcuts

  • Option + Tab: Create a list on your sticky
  • Command + M: Collapse the sticky
  • Command + W: Closes the sticky, but first allows you to save it in text form
  • Command + ~: Simple, but useful. Allows you to rotate between stickies


Stickies is a relatively simple but powerful tool, and even if you don’t use the shortcuts provided, you should at least take a look at it. Besides, you never know when you’ll be bringing your Mac to the grocery store and need a list, right? (That’s a bit of a stretch.)

What other shortcuts do you know of on Stickies? Do you have any other tips or tricks that you could share with us?

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  1. Anonymous
    February 10, 2012 at 12:56 am

    It's good that you reminded people of this simple, useful app that Apple originally bought from a third party developer.
    However, a couple of those items are not stickies only- they are part of the Cocoa text engine so any apps that use that get the feature as well.
    For example: Option +Tab to enter the List mode works fine in TextEdit
    Other things you mentioned are system wide: Command-~ has rotated focus between the open windows of an app for many versions of OSX, not just Stickies.
    Command-W has been the default for closing an open document for the same time I believe.
    If any readers are interested in the transparency aspect, a number of third party utilities can add this to (almost) any window. Afloat is free, I'm also trying Deskovery which does a number of other features, but Afloat gives you control over the level of transparency.

    • J. Lockhart
      February 10, 2012 at 5:20 am

      Good insight and info, connectionfailure. Thanks. I'll take a look at Afloat and Deskovery.