Best Free Sticky Notes Utility

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Do you need a few brightly coloured reminders right in your face to keep you on task, or stop urgent matters from disappearing into the deepest reaches of  your note management software?  Here are some options.

Stickies Screen Shot

Stickies has been around for a long time and remains  a top choice. The notes take the form of resizable windows with a control bar. Basic colour changes and text formatting are easily done, notes can be made transparent, pinned on top, rolled up, or hidden. There is also a note manager for searching and organising your notes.

Stickies has some advanced features that are particularly useful. Some of these features include recurring reminders, alarms, multiple monitor support ,user definable styles, network sharing, and you can email your note. A particularly nice feature allows a note to be attached to any window so when you reopen that window the note will pop up. This means you can add notes to text files, web pages, or whatever you're working on. Next time you open the text file or visit the same web page the sticky note will pop up. Just make sure you set your sticky note to sit on top of the window, otherwise you will have to move your window to find it. You can also create your own skins or download one ready-made. The right skin can provide you with convenient tool bars to speed and gussy up your memo-writing.

Stickies also allows you to use images and draw (or doodle) in your memo. You cannot, however, add an image to, or draw in a  text memo. You must first set your memo to "image", add your image or drawing, and then you may add text to your memo. It's a little fiddly but at least image-based memos with a comment or two are possible. Although Stickies will permit you to drop only one image into a single note, it seems to handle large bit maps and jpgs very well. 

PNotes.NET comes a very close second to Stickies. It manages sticky notes well and offers all the options that Stickies does.  PNotes.Net is also a standalone and portable program . Unlike Stickies, you can easily paste a picture in with your text memo. You are best to stick with relatively small images though. When the image is too large, you simply cannot paste it. The program does not freeze, slow down horribly or do anything else annoying.

 PNotes.Net also has some additional features. You can, for example, install plugins so that you can post your notes on social media, and conversely download your posts to your notes. I tested this with Facebook and it was quite straighforward. Backing up to Dropbox was also quick and simple.

Until you add a skin, the PNotes.Net memos are readily resizeable. As skins are not especially necessary, it is a minor flaw that  that the use of skins reduces functionality in this way. A much more significant flaw for me was the trouble I had creating a new note. Stickies installed with the hot key combination 'Ctrl+N', and this has proved a very convenient, intuitive way to create a  new note that works. So naturally I opened the hot key definition manager in PNotes.Net and added the same hot key combination. Then I opened Firefox and used 'Ctrl+N', expecting this combination to open a new browsing window, as usual. Instead, I got a new sticky memo. I found this incredibly annoying. 

7 Sticky Notes comes third in this category with all the basics, and an advanced feature set that is comparable to Stickies. It is not, however, quite as robust as Stickies and PNotes.Net. In particular, I ran into problems when adding images to my notes. Like PNotes.Net, pasting in images with your text is a simple matter. Unsurprisingly, large, high resolution images are a mistake.  I experienced a significant slow down when I pasted a 2 MB bit map.  A 50 KB jpg dropped in nicely, until I added a further 316 KB jpg into the same note. The program froze for an extended period, and froze again when I tried to delete the offending note.

7 Sticky Notes only lets you create one new unused note at a time, while Stickiesand Pnotes.Net allow you to make as many as you want. I find the ability to generate multiple new notes far more convenient.

Unlike Stickies and PNotes_Net, you cannot attach a note to any window you choose. But 7 Sticky Notes offers two other options for linking your note to a file. You can hyperlink to the original file or embed a copy of the file.

If you wish to network or access your notes from other computers, 7 Sticky Notes has an online synchronisation feature allowing you to make use of cloud computing services like Dropbox and Google Drive.

Overall, 7 Sticky Notes is a promisingly useful utility, but I still rate Stickies and PNotes.NET higher for ease of use.

If you want  an application with appealing interfaces in a portable version that can easily be installed, and  you don't mind a limited feature set, StickyPad may suit you.  Missing features  include the ability to search your notes, and reminders for recurring events.

For 3M loyalists there is always Post-it Software Notes Lite, it is no longer officially provided at the 3M web site but I have provided an alternative download link to this classic.

If you want to access your notes from a web browser, there is an extension for Firefox called Internote.  The latest version (3.0.1) was issued in January 2011. I found that it worked with no problems with Firefox 16.0.2. It does not yet work with Firefox 20 but a fix appears to be in the pipeline. Diigo and its little brother Diigolet are also browser-based options that combine social bookmarking, highlights and sticky notes.

Related Products and Links
Quick Selection Guide

Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Stickies is robust, does all the basics well and provides a range of useful advanced features.
You cannot add images to a text memo although you may add text to an image memo.
1.052 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 98, 98SE, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8

To make this product portable, see instructions at

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Images can be readily pasted into memos. A full range of advanced features, including online synchronisation/back up services services including Drop Box and Google Drive. Notes can also be posted to social media and social media posts downloaded to notes.
Use of skins reduces functionality. Creating a new note is not as straightforward as it should be. Defining the usual hot key combo for this funtion (Ctrl+N) is likely to cause you problems when using other programs
3.4 MB
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Elegant interface. No special installation instructions for portable install.
Simple function set, limited alarm and reminder functions.
47 KB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows Vista/XP/2000/Server 2003/ 95/98/ME /NT 4.0 SP6
7 Sticky Notes
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Good range of useful advanced features, including online synchronisation with cloud services
Inserting large and/or multiple images into notes results in significant slow-down,and other problems.You can only create one new note at a time.
5.86 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7
Post-it Software Notes Lite
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Classic Post-it look, Simple interface.
No longer supported by the developer, limited functionality.
2.39 MB
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98 / NT / 2k / Me / XP


This software review is copy-edited by Glyn Burgess. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

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by qt3dot14 on 19. February 2014 - 19:29  (114562)

i cant believe no one has asked this question or hasnt needed this feature already, so here goes:

i need a sticky note that can attach to the OUTSIDE of a windows folder so that when i hover over the folder the note can tell me what's inside the folder without me having to open the folder.

i do a ton of copy-writing and advertising with a substantial amount of versions which are obviously similar in content, title and version number.

as it is now i have to open each folder to see exactly whats in the folder. once or twice a day this is no big deal. but to see inside the folders hundreds of time a day is a time killer to have to open and close folders all day long.

does anyone know of a sticky program that would allow me to attach a sticky to the outside of a folder and see the note when i hovered over the folder?

thanx for any suggestions.

by sicknero on 19. February 2014 - 21:33  (114567)

"FileNotes" by JMSoftware might be useful to you.

It's a bit basic and no-frills and hasn't been updated in years but it works fine in x86 Windows 7.

It doesn't operate on mouse-hover though, instead it adds a context menu item to folders and files that lets you open and edit a note specific to that folder or file.

A drawback is that the note window isn't resizable, so long names can get a bit untidy. Also it won't automatically show you what's in the folder ... you would have to generate such a list yourself to copy-paste into the note, but that's easily done and you can edit the folder note directly too.

A couple of screenies -

and the download page -

Alternatively you could use the native Windows ability to add comments to folders and files.

I can't think of anything else at the moment that would do what you want ... QTTabBar comes to mind (mouse-over pop-out submenus) but that only comes as part of an Explorer shell enhancement which contains a whole load of stuff that might be superfluous to your needs.

by DavidFB on 19. July 2013 - 1:22  (109397)

A recent product I saw recommended elsewhere is GloboNote. Its free and Java based so will run on any platform with Java 6+

by texastechy on 10. June 2013 - 19:40  (108446)

was using 7 sticky for a short time but found some bugs. like I could not put more than a few hyperlinks in a note before it started not recognizing the links. otherwise seemed to work well.

by pcl0ve (not verified) on 21. October 2012 - 0:56  (101123)

I'm recommedning 7 Sticky Notes

It's so much more customizable than all the rest and looks great.

by Aderu on 18. January 2013 - 4:19  (104604)

Thanks for the suggestion. I'm checking it out.

by Sam O'neal (not verified) on 15. October 2012 - 14:42  (100789)

by J.M (not verified) on 27. September 2012 - 19:08  (99867)

Absolutely Simple Sticky Notes. It's free.

by alexxx46 on 28. September 2012 - 11:00  (99905)

And virusfree too: Virustotal 0/43 :)

by David Gill (not verified) on 16. June 2012 - 8:56  (94940)

I don't understand the enthusiasm for Zhorn's Stickies!

I've been using them for a few years but I've had too many mishaps with them....most of those mishaps revolve around loosing can't figure out how to back them up, save them, create new ones or recover lost ones. Right now I'v e lost my task line link icon which was the way to get to the stickies I can't find either.

Honestly, I think this program was developed by some basically contrary person who psychologically can't simply use the well know functions typical of Windows programs. I don't see why it can't work more like Word with the exception of the post-it-note like qualities.

by irwanwr on 28. January 2012 - 23:59  (87960)

I wonder why PNotes still not reviewed here. It's been a while since people mention it.
As far as I know, PNotes has many things quite similar to Stickies rather than other mentioned on the review.

Anyway, good job.

by Mike C on 30. January 2012 - 2:56  (88003)

Wondering same thing here. One of the things I really prefer in PNotes is that it seems to hold its database intact better than Stickies. PNotes is very reliable.

by irwanwr on 28. December 2012 - 18:44  (104058)

Yes, I see that too. One can backup or even synchronize between intalled PNotes or the portable version.
But it was lack of the ability to stick onto window. Like webpages or application.
I see that PNotes has "pin" ability now. I've tried it once. But still didn't work well that time. It wont appear right after the window of application or webpage came up.

by Aderu on 18. January 2013 - 4:21  (104605)

Thanks for the info on PNotes. I'm checking it out.

by irwanwr on 25. January 2013 - 15:50  (104816)

You're welcome, Aderu.
I didn't notice that you are the subject editor now. Congratulation and thank you very much for your time and effort.

by Erik Impudicus (not verified) on 19. January 2012 - 6:29  (87386)

You list vers. 3.0 of 3M's Post-It Notes, hosted at ... fyi there is a version 4.3.6. at cnet.

[Mod: link to the commercial trial version removed]
We no longer recommend downloads from cnet. Details here:

by KAI (not verified) on 2. November 2011 - 10:12  (82571)

by schondie (not verified) on 16. August 2011 - 13:35  (77737)

I've got to agree with the fans of ATNotes. I was using it with XP but somehow forgot about its sheer usefulness after I installed a note widget with Rainmeter.

I've just reinstalled it on Win7 without any problems, the notes look good as ever. Changing the font, colours and setting alarms etc are a piece of cake.

I'd like to add that in the three or four years of using ATNotes I never lost a note or had any problems on the XP computer. I hope for the same with Win 7.

Thanks Thomas Asher (and the posters who reminded me of this great program). Low RAM usage and simplicity make this a winner.

by Mike C on 8. February 2011 - 2:20  (66011)

I've been using Stickies since last fall. I just went through a repeat occurrence where I lost all my notes. Even when I went to change the bak files to ini, the info was missing. As this was the third time. I've decided to go back to Kana Reminder. It's disappointing, particularly as I had created neat little graphics to pop up for med reminders, etc. But it's just too much trouble to reconstitute all sticky notes again. The forums say it may have something to do with an AV prog in use. Just a FYI note.

by vinieux (not verified) on 28. January 2011 - 9:06  (65354)

Nobody seems to talk about the most attractive feature of Stickies (to me at least).

I can set a note anywhere, not just on my desktop - inside a particular folder, inside a subfolder of the inbox in Outlook, on a specific tab in my browser, a specific worksheet in my Excel file, and it will pop into view only when I am in these said places.

All the others allow you only to clutter up your desktop with notes.

Is there any other Sticky utility that has this unique feature which only Stickies has?

by richoi (not verified) on 19. May 2011 - 20:35  (72359)

maybe gumnotes

by Kang (not verified) on 13. January 2011 - 7:27  (64423)

zhorn's Stickies can't group notes together. Otherwise it is so intuitive I can use it immediately.
pnotes being open source makes it actually more attractive. I like that way they allow grouping of notes as well. Then a whole group can be hidden or shown. Organizing on the desktop itself is convenient, when we use a standalone note as title for that area. Usability wise, it is quite intuitive as well, although the added functionalities do take some exploring to understand.

by jkfsan on 5. April 2011 - 7:13  (69491)

The "Scoop" accessory program for Stickies - at the author's site, allows notes to be tagged and handled as a group (show, hide, ontop, rollup, etc), or to create "smart tags" which selects notes for action by characteristics such as status, color, or content.

by Clair Culliford (not verified) on 25. October 2010 - 13:46  (60140)

Andrew Seward:

Thanks for your helpful suggestions.

Do you know if any Sticky Notes Utility (or something else) can be made to leave a note "permanently" on the desktop?

I use Stickies, which works well, except that every time I click the "Show Desktop" button, the note is minimized. I want the note to always be on the desktop, as an icon is.

Thanks very much.

Clair Culliford

by Anonymous12345 (not verified) on 8. February 2011 - 2:30  (66012)


TK8 StickyNotes allows you to do just that. It's not as full featured as the other programs mentioned here (it is a "lite" version of a commercial application, after all), but it does the job. It's pretty sleek too.

by Rob (not verified) on 8. January 2011 - 9:32  (64128)

I believe I want the same thing as you.
I would like a free portable (No install) that allows me to compose Notes.
Then I hit a button and it composes them into a image (could be a plain background color), and makes it my desktop wallpaper.
Being 'no install' I would create the folder that it runs from, so I can backup that folder anytime, knowing that the folder is self contained.

My second preference would be similar to the above, but no blending into the wallpaper.
Instead the Notes would be pinned to the desktop.
AKA 'bottom most'
Meaning they are only visible if I minimize all running programs.

by Internoter (not verified) on 21. July 2010 - 8:52  (54622)

Hi, good news! There's a new update on the internote firefox plugin, currently just an alpha but works great with FF 3.6, doesn't seem to be buggy at all.

by Anonymous on 27. February 2010 - 19:12  (44672)

The recent versions of Stickies now handle images.

by rikmayell (not verified) on 31. December 2009 - 15:58  (39913)

Stickies is one of my must have apps under Windows 7. It will work under Ubuntu 9.10 using Wine :)

Great article, thanks.

Rik Mayell - Category Editor, Best Free Windows 7 / Vista 64 bit Software

by Anonymous on 30. December 2009 - 12:33  (39813)

I don't like (generic) 'sticky' programs, because it is easier to back-up a wordpad document then a sticky document. However, I have Stickies ( installed on both my desktop and my laptop! I want Stickies on any computer I use. Go figure.

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