Sticky Notes for Mac: Freeware & Shareware
Mac Stickies are My Favorite Free Desktop Tool
Mac Sticky Notes are one of the most useful free widgets on the Mac dashboard. They let you jot down notes and keep useful bits of information at your fingertips at all times.
Macs have had Stickies going back to the 90s. Even the original Mac OS back in 1984 had the Notepad "Desk Accessory", which was replaced by Stickies.
Read on for a few tips on how to use and enhance Mac Stickies, plus find out about my favorite bit of Mac shareware for when you need to jot down and sort more info than fits on Sticky Notes.
How I Use Stickies
• jot down ideas/keywords for future projects
• note confirmation numbers / order #s / reservation #s
• reminders to myself
• store HTML codes I use a lot
• emergency phone #s
• list of five goals
• hints to jog my memory about passwords (NOT the passwords)
How to Use Mac Stickies
It's Easy -- But There's So Much Stuff on Macs You Could Miss Them
Mac Stickies were introduced with the Dashboard in OSX.4. In X.4, show/hide the Dashboard with the F12 key. In X.5+, show/hide the Dashboard with the F4 key. You may also click the Dashboard in the Dock or set up a "hot corner" for it in System Preferences with Exposé.
On the Dashboard, click the plus sign at the bottom left and scroll until you see "Stickies". Click it to get a fresh Sticky Note. (I'll show you a quicker way to get Stickies in a moment.)
So here's a Mac Sticky Note. Edit, copy and paste text as usual.
If you hover your cursor over a Sticky, the little i button shows up in the lower right-hand corner. Click it to flip the Sticky over and change its font, color, or font size. Leave Size on Auto, and it'll scale the text larger or smaller so it fits on the Sticky.
If you hold down the OPTION key while hovering over a Sticky (or any other widget), you get the circled X in the upper left-hand corner. Click the X to make the Sticky shrink and vanish.
"Sticky Spawn" Freeware Widget
This Makes Stickies Much Easier to Use
Take a close look at my Dashboard:
Apple should've included a widget like this with Mac Stickies. It makes it much quicker to use them!
Beyond Mac Stickies: Download Pads X
My Favorite Mac Shareware
Before the Dashboard, even before Mac OSX, there was a lovely bit of Shareware called Pads. It came in when the old Mac Notepad disappeared, and it's still a fabulously useful little app.
You can only have so many Stickies, and there's not much room on each one. PadsX takes up the slack. Features include:
- Tear-Off Sticky Notes
- Copy/Save/Paste Images
- Set any Sticky color or font
- Scrolling notes can be any length
- Categories work like Web 2.0 tags: file notes under multiple Categories
- Search Notes for text
- "Mark" notes for quick recall; you call tell it to Mark notes with specific text
- Sort by date or category
- Open/Save multiple Notepads
- Optional password protection lets you save more sensitive information.
I believe all features are available with the free version of Pads. It's one of the few shareware apps I've ever registered -- for $15 -- but I don't recall it nagging me before I registered it.
Link at left is to the PadsX website, which has lots of support.
Yet Another Mac Stickies Freeware App
Mac SketchBox Free Stickies
Another great third party application is Sketchbox. it's a little newer than PadsX.
While Pads is really a descendant of the old Notepad, and is presented as a booklet of mini text documents, Sketchbox is basically Mac Stickies Deluxe: a bunch of Sticky Notes on a pane which you can sort and organize.
Screenshot of SketchBox for Mac:
Sketchbox enhances basic Stickies in several ways. The two most important ways are:
- It lets you DRAW on Stickies! So...doodle time.
- It lets you set an ALARM on a Sticky, so it doubles as a reminder.
I haven't used Sketchbox myself, as PadsX and built-in Dashboard Stickies are all I need. But this Mac app has good user reviews, and it's free!
Mac Users - Do You Use Stickies? - And If So, Which?
Which kind of Sticky Notes do you use?
© 2011 Ellen Brundige