Use these hidden features in Windows Sticky Notes

How many Windows owners use Sticky Notes on their computer? I bet a lot of people don’t even know they have a Sticky Notes app. It tends to be forgotten, but it has some great features.

Sticky Notes has been around for a long time in Microsoft’s operating system and it is still in Windows 10, although it is often forgotten about by many people. Today’s app is different to the one you may have looked at years ago, if you ever did look at it. It has changed and while some features have been removed, it has gained new abilities that make it more useful.

Create Sticky Notes

Sticky notes used to be buried deep in the Start menu where it was hard to find. Where was it, under Windows Accessories or somewhere else? These days you just have to click the Start button, scroll down to S and there it is. Click it to open it. You can also click the Start button and type ‘sticky’ and open it that way.

It opens a small window on the desktop and it may contain a sample note or two if you have never used it before. You may see one window or several of them.

The main Sticky Notes window contains a list of notes and some extra features like settings and search. Click the plus button in the top left corner and a new sticky note window is created.

Sticky Notes on the desktop in Windows 10
Create notes and stick them to the desktop

You can place Sticky Notes on the desktop anywhere you like. You can write on the notes and then drag them to any position on the screen, such as out of the way at the side. There is a plus icon in the top left corner of each note and this is used to create more notes of the same color. The cross icon in the top right corner is used to delete a note.

In some ways it is an oddly behaved app and there is no obvious way to quit. Click the cross to close the main Sticky Notes window and it closes, but any notes stuck to the desktop remain open. The next time you start the computer and open Sticky Notes, those notes will be there in the same place. After all, they are sticky.

If you really want to quit Sticky Notes, close all windows.

Edit and format Sticky Notes

Some editing and formatting features are obvious, but some are hidden. Open a note in its own window and click the three dots in the top right corner. Choose one of seven colors for the note. A formatting toolbar at the bottom of a note window when it is selected enables you to make text bold, italic, underline or strikethrough.

Example of a Windows sticky Note with text and image
Pretty much all the features in one note

Use these hidden shortcuts If you prefer to keep your hands on the keyboard, select some text with Shift+arrow keys and press Ctrl+B to make it bold, Ctrl+I to make it italic, Ctrl+U for underline, Ctrl+T for strike through, and Ctrl+Shift+L for a bulleted list.

More hidden features: Click and drag the mouse over text to select it, double click a word to select it or triple click anywhere to select a whole paragraph. Right clicking shows a menu offering Cut, Copy and Paste, but it is quicker and easier to use the standard keyboard shortcuts, Ctrl+C to copy or Ctrl+X to cut the text. Position the text cursor elsewhere and press Ctrl+V to paste it in.

Sync Sticky Notes

The best feature of Sticky Notes is that notes are synced. This means that you can create notes on one computer and they appear on another, such as work and home computers. You do need to be logged in to your Microsoft account for syncing to occur of course. Make sure all the sync options are enabled in Windows Settings.

Syncing between computers is fine, but what if you are not at your computer? When you are out of the office or home, you can still access the sticky notes on your Windows PC’s desktop, even when it is turned off. It does not have to be running and this is a useful feature you may not be aware of.

Sticky Notes on the Windows desktop on your PC can be accessed on phones – Android and iOS. All you need is the OneNote app. At the bottom of the OneNote screen is a Sticky Notes tab. Select it and your Windows Sticky Notes are there. Add notes on the computer and they appear on the phone. It works the other way around as well and you can create notes on the phone and they appear on the computer.

Windows Sticky Notes synced to a phone
Sticky Notes on an Android phone

You can, of course, create OneNote notes and they will sync both ways too. However, you may prefer Sticky Notes to OneNote. The notes are quicker and easier to create, and you don’t have to bother with structures like notebooks, sections and pages. It depends on the notes and some may be better in OneNote, but when it is something short and simple, a Sticky Note is best.

I found syncing better on an Android phone than an iPhone, but this may be a temporary glitch and I would not expect them to be any different.

Related articles:

Leave a Reply