Whether you’re on Windows 7 or Windows 8, Post-its on your desktop or Start Screen can be extremely helpful for remembering small but important amounts of information. Stop cluttering up your desk and go digital with these fantastic sticky note apps.
First up, for the desktop-inclined, we’ll cover those options before moving onto some modern Windows 8 options.
Desktop Sticky Notes
These solutions are perfect if you’re either running Windows 7 still, or if you’re on Windows 8 but prefer the desktop over the Start Screen.
An honorable mention should also go out to Stickies, which some would argue is the best sticky note app for Windows, but it would not install on my Windows 8 machine, so I was unable to review it.
This full-featured solution, offers plenty of options for formatting your notes and the text within them.
After the installation, an icon will appear in your notification tray (the area in the bottom right corner of your desktop). Right clicking on this icon will give you the option to open a new note.
Each note has a title and text body, as shown above. When you open a new note, the Note Configuration Window will appear beside it, shown below. This allows you to change the color of the note, the font, font size, font color, etc.
There’s also an option to set alarms. You can set certain notes to shake when you wake up your computer, to play a noise at a certain time, or to open a certain program at a given time. It seems like a good way to ensure that these notes get your attention.
When you’re done configuring all the options for any given note, you can click the green arrow to save your changes or the red X to discard them. If you ever need to reopen the Note Configuration Window, double click on the header of the note.
Notes can be dragged around by grabbing it by the dotted top left corner, and resized by grabbing the triangle in the lower right. The note below is an example of a semi-transparent red note with white text. Eye-grabbing enough that you won’t forget it, but not quite so obnoxious as to ruin your desktop.
Right-clicking on any note gives you the abundance of options shown below. If you’re juggling a bunch of notes on your desktop, these can be extremely helpful because you can arrange them alphabetically, roll them up (so only the header shows), or choose which notes display in front and back.
If you right click on the icon in your notification tray, one of the options is Notes Manager. This view will give you an organizable overview of all your notes, which could be super helpful if your desktop is flooded with them.
All in all, 7 Sticky Notes gets the job done and then some, allowing for so much customization. For an even more in-depth look, check out our full review of 7 Sticky Notes. It is definitely a solid choice for desktop-based notes, but let’s take a look at what the other competition has to offer.
This is probably the best all-around sticky note app for the desktop. It’s simpler to set up than 7 Sticky Notes, offering funny commentary as you do so (see below).
It also has these global hot keys that allow you to start a note from anywhere, and it allows you to customize what double clicking the icon in the notification tray will do. That’s a small tweak, but super helpful.
Once it’s all set up, the layout is similar to 7 Sticky Notes, with a small editing box that appears next to each note when you want to customize it. Similarly, you can edit the font, the color of the note, and set an alarm. Not as full-featured as 7 Sticky Notes, but presented in a less cluttered way.
My only complaint was with the list form of notes, which requires the user to click “Create New Item” for every list item, rather than hitting enter or tab after. If you plan on using the list function, this could get annoying.
The button in the notification tray allows you to access everything you would need, and it isn’t as overwhelming as 7 Sticky Notes.
In the end, it might not have all of the advanced features of 7 Sticky Notes, but it is a bit nicer looking and easier to use. For a solid balance of features and style, Hott Notes is the way to go.
If you use Evernote for your note-taking, then this might be the sticky note app for you. It also has options for syncing with Google Drive and Dropbox, but both of those options are still in Beta.
The activation method of setting up Evernote is quick and simple by following the instructions, but you can use it without an Evernote account if you don’t have one — it just won’t back up or sync your notes then. Once that’s set up, you can configure the settings by right-clicking on the icon in your notification tray.
One of my annoyances with this app, however, is that for it to be running, there has to be an active icon in the taskbar (the bar running along the bottom of your desktop). 7 Sticky Notes was able to run in the background with only an icon in the notification tray, but if you close Evernote Sticky Note’s taskbar icon, the whole thing closes and your notes disappear.
The notes themselves don’t have a lot of room for customization. They’ll expand to fit more text, and you can adjust the font and itssize in the settings, but you’re stuck with that color scheme and there’s no option for transparency. Don’t expect a lot of a features here aside from the Evernote-syncing.
Still, it’s a viable contender if you’re looking for a simple solution that syncs with Evernote. It doesn’t have all the frills of the other options, but for many people that could be a plus.
Modern Sticky Notes
Do you want reminders on your Start Screen instead of the desktop? These apps all have a modern interface, can be downloaded right from the Windows Store, and can pin notes directly to the Start Screen. They’re not quite like the floating sticky notes apps for Android, but they get the job done.
One of the most popular options, Sticky Notes 8 should be your first stop. You can choose between a few colors of notes, but there’s nowhere near the customizability as some of the desktop apps for font size, color, etc. For some reason, all the modern apps lag behind the desktop apps in terms of features.
Ads are displayed within this free app (that is what the grey note above is), but they can be removed for $1.50. Since ads can be moved out of the way and you can even place other notes over top of them, they’re not such a big deal.
The Live Tiles that display a given note come in three sizes: small, medium, and wide. The wide view is shown below, while the medium is about half that and really can’t show much text. The small view is even worse, not displaying any text at all. You’ll definitely want to go for the wide, and even then, keep your notes brief.
The biggest standout feature here is built-in syncing with OneDrive (which is a fantastic app for backing up everything on Windows 8). If you want to be sure that your notes are backed up, this is the solution for you.
Don’t let the incredibly similar name fool you, Sticky Tiles (with an “s”) is a much better app than Sticky Tile (without an “s”), a bare bones app that will only leave you frustrated. Sticky Tiles doesn’t have any interface for viewing all your notes, and is instead focused entirely on the Live Tile.
When you open the app, you’re immediately prompted to give a title and information for the Live Tile, choose the color, choose the style, and then pin it. It has the same three sizes as the others — small, medium, and wide — and you’ll run into the same problem of limited space for text here.
Tapping on the Live Tile will open the note up for editing, without allowing you to create additional notes or view multiple at a time.
It’s not great for those who want to juggle dozens of notes, but for keeping a single pertinent note on your Start Screen, it’s probably your best bet.
Anything We Missed?
The desktop applications are clearly more evolved here, and I would recommend Hott Notes to anyone who wants an easy to use, yet customizable sticky note app. If you’re determined to put notes on the Start Screen, Sticky Notes 8 offers the best way to handle multiple notes there.
Linux users, be sure to check out these 5 sticky note options for you. And don’t forget that the default Windows 10 Sticky Notes app is pretty good, either.