Keeping notes is important. Finding them again is vital. Whether you scrawl your notes on a physical notepad or a desktop app, it’s not uncommon to find the reminder or to-do list has gone missing. This, of course, is why sticky notes apps are popular. Like their real-world counterparts, sticky notes can be positioned anywhere, awaiting your attention.
Most operating systems have a choice of sticky notes applications, and Linux is no different. If you’re looking for a stick notes app for your Linux desktop, consider these three examples.
The first app to try is Xpad, a tool that has been around longer than any of the others on this list. These yellow Post-It-style notes have three fields: a title bar, a text area, and the toolbar. Right-clicking on a note’s text area will reveal the context menu, where you’ll find the Preferences menu. Use the Startup tab to ensure Xpad loads automatically when you start Linux. The old notes will be restored, but note that once notes are closed, they’re gone.
You can install Xpad from default repositories. Install on Ubuntu with (make sure you use apt instead of apt-get)
sudo apt install xpad
(make sure you use apt instead of apt-get)
Note that if Xpad doesn’t appear in your apps menu, you’ll need to launch it manually from the command line.
Easy to use, and with formatting options for each note, you can change not only the text but the color of the note too. This can prove useful for task-based color-coding, for example.
Xpad is occasionally pre-installed with some Linux operating systems.
A cross-platform sticky notes tool that requires the Java virtual machine, GloboNote offers a wider range of note types. To-do lists, reminders, journals and other sticky notes can be created with this app and organized into groups. A search tool is also included to help you find old notes.
To install GloboNote, begin by installing Java runtime. Check first to ensure you don’t have Java installed:
Next, update your repository information:
sudo apt-get update
You can then install the latest version of Java with:
sudo apt install default-jre
Use the link above to download the GloboNote application, then unzip the contents. Browse to the GloboNote.jar file, right-click and select Properties. In the Permissions tab, check the Allow executing file as the program option, then click OK to close. Right-click GloboNote.jar again, this time selecting to open with Java Runtime.
The initial launch of GloboNote will ask you to specify a location for new notes to be saved, before minimizing to the system tray. Simply right-click the icon to create a new note. You’ll notice a whole bunch of menu items are available.
Each note also has its own preferences, which can be reached by right-clicking in the text area and clicking Preferences… Among the changes that can be made are note color and transparency, behavior, and alarms can even be set!
It is important to regularly update Java as it can become a security risk if ignored.
Another cross-platform, Java-based sticky notes app, Pin ‘Em Up has a particularly useful feature. Along with the usual note-taking and the ability to move notes around and color code them, Pin ‘Em Up has server support.
What this means is that notes can be imported from and exported to your personal server. This is useful if you wish to maintain backups of your notes, or if you’re accessing them from multiple devices.
Pin ‘Em Up can be installed by downloading the Java file from Sourceforge, via the link above. As with GloboNote, you’ll need the Java environment installed on your computer. Once running, a settings screen can be accessed from the system tray icon to adjust things like note size, font size, and note visibility.
While overall note formatting is limited, the organizational options and support for FTP and WebDAV make up for that shortcoming.
Perhaps the most polished sticky notes utility in this list, Indicator Stickynotes offers per-note formatting and settings. You can quickly create a note and set its category and formatting, while the resulting note is easy to reposition around your desktop.
You may find Indicator Stickynotes in your preferred package manager, but if not, it can be downloaded via the terminal. Begin by adding the repository:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:umang/indicator-stickynotes
Then, update your repositories:
sudo apt-get update
Finally, install the application:
sudo apt install indicator-stickynotes
(Note that PPA’s can be a security threat.) Further features are available. A lock feature enables you to protect notes from deletion, for example. Like Pin ‘Em Up, Indicator Stickynotes has an import/export feature. Use this to back up your notes to a remote server, either as an archive, or a shareable system that can be retrieved on another computer.
Intended for KDE desktops (but compatible with many others), KNotes has several features. Install via the command line with
sudo apt install knotes
Once installed, you can run KNotes from the Accessories menu (or equivalent). It will immediately launch with an icon in the system tray section of the desktop panel.
While KNotes lets you configure your own choice of font and background color, it also supports drag and drop. For instance, you can write a note, then email it by dropping into the body of an email. Or you might drag it into the KDE Calendar app to block out a timeslot.
Notes can also be printed.
Five Sticky Notes: What’s Your Favorite?
We’re aware of some other stick notes apps for Linux, but some of these are no longer maintained. Instead, we’ve provided you with five projects that seem to be under regular (or semi-regular) development.
Although the cross-platforms options might be the most useful if you’re already using them on a different operating system, we reckon KNotes is the most accomplished sticky notes app currently available.
If you want to further optimize your workflows, try out one of these automation apps for Linux: