Use OneNote to access Windows Sticky Notes on a phone

Do you use Sticky Notes on a 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.

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 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 or Office website.

Sometimes OneNote is just too big and complicated when all you want is to save some text. 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 creating a note is just too much effort for something trivial. OneNote is good for large and complex projects, and for gathering rich media, but it 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, like Standard Notes – see Encrypt notes on Android, PC and Mac: Turtl vs Standardnotes.

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 for Android or iOS 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 are slight differences between OneNote for Android and iPhone, and the iOS app lags behind the Android app when it comes to design updates. In the OneNote app on the iPhone 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 colorful and looks great. Any notes you create here in the Sticky Notes section of OneNote on the iPhone automatically appear in Sticky Notes on a Windows PC.

Access sticky notes on a phone

OneNote for Android does things differently and the iOS app will probably adopt the same interface sooner or later. Let’s take a look at Sticky Notes on Android phones.

1: The OneNote notes feed

The Microsoft OneNote home screen showing the notes feed on an Android phone
The OneNote notes feed

The current version of OneNote on Android (and probably iOS soon) home screen shows a notes feed, which is a list of notes sorted by title date, or some other attribute. We will look at the sort order later. If you recently created sticky notes, they will appear in this notes feed.

Go to the bottom right corner of the screen and press the three dots button.

2: Create a sticky note

OneNote home screen notes feed and Sticky Notes menu on an Android phone
Create a note

An option appears at the bottom of the screen to create a new sticky note. Press it.

3: Enter a sticky note in OneNote

Typing a sticky note in OneNote on an Android phone

Just start typing to create a new note. A toolbar with simple formatting options is displayed just above the keyboard and it has bold, italic, underline and strikethrough. It also has a button to create a bulleted list, take or insert a photograph, or insert an audio recording.

Tap the three dots at the top of the screen to show extra options.

4: Set the sticky note color

Select a color for a sticky note in OneNote on an Android phone
Select a note color

One of the great features of sticky notes is that you can select a color for them. This helps them to stand out in your OneNote notes home feed. You could use a specific color to indicate a type of note, such as a project, work, personal, or whatever suits you.

Also on this screen is an option to share the note or to delete it. Select Share and the usual sharing options in Android or iOS are displayed, so you could email it, send it in a messaging app, share it on social media and so on.

5: Sticky notes in OneNote notes feed

OneNote for Android home screen notes feed

You may or may not see the sticky note you just created when you return to the OneNote home screen. The notes are sorted, but not necessarily chronologically. Press the settings button in the toolbar at the top to customize the home screen view.

6: Customize the notes list

Customize the OneNote home feed on an Android phone
Set the OneNote view and sort order

Select a sort option in the Sort By list. If you want to see notes in chronological order, select Modified Date or Created Date. Tap the button on the right to sort by increasing or decreasing values. The selection in the screenshot puts the newest notes at the top.

The Filter By section enables you to choose to show All notes, only OneNote pages or only Sticky Notes. Select Sticky Notes and then press Apply at the bottom.

7: View all sticky notes

Sticky notes in the OneNote notes feed in the Android phone app
Sticky notes feed in OneNote

Now you have a OneNote notes feed that shows only sticky notes. This can be useful. To return to the normal OneNote notes feed, press the cross icon on the Sticky notes filter at the top.

Now you know how to list sticky notes on your phone, how do you search for them? Just press the search icon in the top right corner of the home screen and enter a word or phrase. There is no option to search only sticky notes, but search results are divided into sticky notes and regular OneNote notes. Sticky notes are listed first in the search results.

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 using the OneNote app, so it is time you took another look at it.

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

The main window on the desktop shows a list of sticky notes, the same ones that appear in the OneNote app on your phone. Notes are synced between desktop and mobile app automatically provided you are logged into the same Microsoft account. Syncing works with both free and paid accounts.

All the same functionality is there and you can create notes by clicking the plus button in the top left corner of the window. Double click a note to open it in its own window on the desktop. Create a new note and it automatically appears in the OneNote app on your phone.

Windows Sticky Notes on the PC desktop
Open sticky notes on the PC desktop

PC sticky notes shows an almost identical view to what you see on the phone – same notes, same colors, same order, same features. 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.

Sticky Notes app on the Windows desktop
Choose a color for a sticky note

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.

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

Try this: Open a sticky note on the Windows desktop on your PC and then open the same sticky note on your phone in the OneNote app. As you type into the note, the note on the other device is updated simultaneously and it almost live.

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 way to use the Microsoft OneNote app on mobile and Sticky Notes on the Windows desktop.

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