Use OneNote to access Windows Sticky Notes on your phone

Sticky Notes in the OneNote app running on an Android phone

Do you use Sticky Notes on your Windows PC? You should because notes can now be accessed on your Android phone or iPhone in the OneNote app. Create and sync Windows Sticky Notes on mobile.

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OneNote is a great app for storing notes and one of its best features is that it is available everywhere – Windows PC, Apple Mac, Android phones and tablets, and iPhone and iPad. No matter where you create a note, it is synced through your Microsoft account to every computer and device you use. Notes can also be accessed on the web in a browser through the OneDrive website.

Sometimes OneNote is just too big and complicated. You might want to temporarily store a bit of information, like you might jot down an address, phone number, reminder or something else on a sticky note or bit of paper.

Loading a big app like OneNote, selecting a notebook, selecting a section and then selecting a note is just too much effort for something trivial. OneNote is good for large and complex projects, but is less useful for a quick note.

For this reason, you might also use another notes app, something a bit more lightweight and quicker and easier to access for those occasions when you just want to store a bit of text or create a reminder.

Now you can use the Sticky Notes app on a Windows PC and access those notes anywhere and on any computer, phone or tablet. It is all done through the OneNote mobile app, which, along with Sticky Notes, has gained new abilities and now syncs your PC’s notes along with OneNote notebooks.

Use Sticky Notes on your phone

To use Sticky Notes on a phone or tablet, first make sure that you have the latest version of the Microsoft OneNote app installed. You should be signed in to your Microsoft account – a free one will do and there is no need for an Office subscription or any payment.

There is nothing special that needs to be done on Android devices, which seem to be one step ahead of the iOS app. On an iPhone, tap your account picture in the the top left corner of the screen and then turn on the switch Enable Experimental Features.

Get started with Sticky Notes on an Android phone
The first time you access Sticky notes in OneNote

In the OneNote app on your phone is a Sticky Notes icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. Tap it and the first time it is used an introductory screen is shown. On subsequent visits, the Sticky Notes screen appears.

It is basically a simple way to create and store notes in a list. OneNote has a Quick Notes feature, but this is quicker and simpler. It is also very colourful and looks great.

Create a sticky note

Tap the plus button in the bottom right corner of the screen to create a new note and just start typing. A toolbar with simple formatting options is displayed just above the keyboard and it has bold, italic, underline and strikethrough.

At the far right is an option to create bullet-type lists. Press Enter twice to exit bullet list mode.

Create sticky notes in the OneNote app on an Android phone
Create colourful notes on your phone

Tap the three dots at the top of the screen to show extra options, such as the colour of the note, sharing and to delete a note. Select Share Note and the usual sharing options in Android or iOS are displayed, so you could post it on Facebook, send it in an email, and so on.

Sticky Notes in the OneNote Android app

Search Sticky Notes

  • Tap the Search button at the bottom of the OneNote screen
  • Select the Sticky Notes tab
  • Select a color to show only those notes in that color (on Android now, coming soon to iOS)
  • Begin typing in the search box

As you type, the list of notes is filtered and results begin to appear. You often don’t need to enter the full search term and the result can be seen below. Tap a note in the results to open the note and then tap in the note if you want to edit it.

Access Sticky Notes on Windows PC

A Sticky Notes app has been in Windows for years, but you may not have used it much, if at all. However, it is now synced with your phone and tablet notes, so it is time to take another look at it.

It is on the Start menu in Windows 10 and, predictably, under apps beginning with S. Go ahead and open it up.

All the old functionality is there and you can create coloured noted and stick them to the desktop in the usual way, but there is also a new notes list view that shows notes synced from mobile devices.

Sticky Notes on the Windows desktop

It shows an identical view to what you see on the phone – same notes, same colours, same order. Change something in a note and it is synced so the change appears on the phone or change a note on the phone and it is changed in the Windows app.

This is excellent and very useful. OneNote is still useful for big projects and large collections of notes, but this notes list is quick and easy.

  • Create a note by clicking the plus button at the top
  • Delete a note by moving the mouse over a note and clicking the trash icon.
  • Double click a note to open it

Opening a note opens it in a little note window that can be placed anywhere on the desktop. Closing the notes list does not close the app and it just hides the list, leaving the sticky note on the desktop.

Try this: Stick a note to the Windows desktop on your PC and then open the sticky note on your phone in the OneNote app. As you type into your phone the note on the Windows desktop is updated and it almost live. It seems to be syncing instantaneously.

If you want to view the notes list again, right click the Sticky Notes icon in the taskbar and select Notes List in the menu that is displayed.

Menu for the Sticky Notes menu on the Windows desktop
Right click the Sticky Notes icon on the taskbar

This is a great new way to use the Microsoft OneNote app on mobile and Sticky Notes on the Windows desktop.

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