Make Your Own Sticky Notes with Notepad (Windows)

Saikat Basu 24-11-2008

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’.

make your own sticky notes

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.

make sticky notes

(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.

make your own stickers

(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.

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

(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.

your own sticky notes

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

Related topics: Note-Taking Apps, Notepad, To-Do List.

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  1. Pat Anablak
    April 15, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    In Windows 10 Explorer I did not find Tools Tab or Folder Options Tab to create sticky notes with Notepad.

  2. Pat Anablak
    April 15, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    How do you do all this in Windows 10? In Windows Explorer there is no Tools Tab or Folder Options Tab.

  3. Torrie
    October 9, 2009 at 10:27 am

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

    • Saikat
      October 9, 2009 at 11:09 pm

      No, it cannot be done with WordPad unfortunately.

  4. dave rice
    August 6, 2009 at 11:20 am

    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.

    • Saikat
      August 6, 2009 at 10:56 pm

      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:)

  5. Saikat
    July 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

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

  6. berlo
    July 21, 2009 at 2:06 am

    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.

  7. Deepak
    July 3, 2009 at 7:03 am

    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....

    • Saikat
      July 12, 2009 at 1:07 am

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

  8. Tana
    June 3, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    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.

  9. Miah
    March 6, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    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?

  10. VJ
    January 29, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    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?

    • Saikat
      February 2, 2009 at 11:01 pm

      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.

  11. Shrihari
    December 7, 2008 at 2:38 am

    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 ?

    • Saikat
      December 7, 2008 at 9:26 am

      Hi Shri,

      To both your queries...

      1. YES
      2. YES :)

      • Shrihari
        December 7, 2008 at 11:10 am

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

  12. kchichester
    December 3, 2008 at 1:24 pm

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

    • Saikat
      December 3, 2008 at 10:08 pm

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

  13. Earle
    November 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm

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

  14. Michael Harding
    November 26, 2008 at 12:40 am

    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.

  15. Blik
    November 25, 2008 at 9:14 am

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

    • Saikat
      November 25, 2008 at 10:15 am

      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.

  16. ABar
    November 24, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    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.

    • Saikat
      November 25, 2008 at 12:33 am

      Open as many simultaneous 'stickies' as you want. No problems!

  17. ABar
    November 24, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    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?

    • Earle
      November 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm

      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

  18. Kedar
    November 24, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    This was kinda lame.

  19. Timbo Huey
    November 24, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    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!

  20. Ajay
    November 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    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.

    • Saikat
      November 24, 2008 at 6:16 pm

      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.

  21. mike
    November 24, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    How is this different from using normal text files?

    • Someone
      July 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm

      It isn't.

  22. Earle
    November 24, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    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 ].