Best Free Sticky Notes Utility

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Introduction
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.
 
Discussion

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

Stickies
5
 
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.
7.1e
1.052 MB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows 98, 98SE, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8

To make this product portable, see instructions at http://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=264

PNotes.Net
4
 
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
1.4
3.4 MB
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
StickyPad
3
 
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.
2.3.53
47 KB
Unrestricted freeware
Windows Vista/XP/2000/Server 2003/ 95/98/ME /NT 4.0 SP6
7 Sticky Notes
3
 
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.
http://www.7stickynotes.com/
1.9
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
2.5
 
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.
http://www.post-it.com/
3.0
2.39 MB
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98 / NT / 2k / Me / XP

 
Editor

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

 
Tags
best, top, free, sticky, notes, note, software, digital, computer, utility, tools

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Comments

by MrWednesday7 on 22. October 2014 - 20:03  (119295)

Addition using the execrable win 8.1

by MrWednesday7 on 22. October 2014 - 20:01  (119294)

I need a sticky notes program that will work on the taskbar and does not have adverts.

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 -

http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/5821/wsq2.jpg

http://img855.imageshack.us/img855/9942/qv8w.jpg

and the download page -

http://jmsoftware.webs.com/

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+
http://globonote.info/

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.

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