3 Free Desktop Note apps for Windows

by Ross McKillop on November 7, 2006

Windows

I was recently asked if there was a Windows equivalent to Apple’s Stickies. There are lots of them, but here are my favorite three – A Note, Stickies and Stickies for Windows.

Each of these is free, and certainly worthy of a donation if you find them useful. A Note and Stickies both go above and beyond being “just notes”, and share similar features. Stickies for Windows has fewer features, but uses the least system resources. You decide which one is right for you :)


A Note

Homepage: http://a-note.sourceforge.net/

Features:

  • Synchronize
  • Alarm
  • Print
  • Email
  • Font
  • Note color
  • Autosave
  • Translucency
  • Stay on top (or not)
  • Dockable
  • Title
  • Import / Export
  • Translations to other languages (version 1.2)
  • Comments:

    A Note is the only of these three desktop note programs to be released under the GNU Public License, which in my mind makes it worthy of a donation if you use it.

    With 4 notes open (one with an alarm, transparency turned on for all 3), A Note used about 3MB of memory. Though synchronization isn’t something I tested, it seems very straight forward.

    Screenshots:

    example a note   example a note alarm
    click to enlarge
         
    right click a note system tray icon   dock your notes
         
    a note options
    click to enlarge
      a note options 2
    click to enlarge

         
    a note options 3
    click to enlarge

    a note options 4
    click to enlarge

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    Stickies

    Homepage: http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/stickies/index.html

    Features:

  • Once on screen, stickies will remain where placed until closed, even through reboots
  • Stickies appearance can be customized; fonts, colours and buttons may be changed, and styles saved. Stickies can be resized.
  • Stickies can snap to each others edges to keep them lined up
  • Stickies can be transferred from one machine to another either over a TCP/IP network connection, or by using an SMTP mail server or MAPI client:
    1. Hierarchical friends list, which may be automatically transferred from other friends
    2. Play a sound file on receive
    3. Signature for transmitted or emailed stickies
    4. Favourite friends, and custom lists can be made
  • Stickies can be hidden for a certain period, until a specified date and time, or to wake every day, week or month, to act as reminders.
  • Stickies can have alarms set to ensure you notice them at a point you choose
  • Stickies can be transferred to and from your Palm or PPC PDA.
  • International language support
  • Stickies is small and simple, it writes to a single text file, and does not touch the registry
  • Comments:

    Talk about feature rich. What can’t this desktop note app do? The entire thing is customizable, and it even has Pocket PC and Palm synching. The transparency fade is nice eye candy. Stickies used about 4MB of memory while in use (3 notes, transparency turned on for all of them, one with an alarm). note: Stickies and Stickies for Windows with both install to C:\Program Files\Stickies\ by default. If you install both, make sure to change the installation location for one of them.

    Screenshots:

    example stickies note   add an alarm
         
    right click the note   right click the stickies system icon
         
    stickies options
    click to enlarge
      stickies options 2
    click to enlarge
         
    stickies options 3
    click to enlarge
      stickies options 4
    click to enlarge
         

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    Stickies for Windows

    Homepage: http://finiteloop.org/~btaylor/software/stickies/

    Features:

  • Customizable: Every aspect of the user interface is customizable, from the note colors and fonts to the icon in the system tray. You can customize every note on your desktop or change notes individually. You can even make your sticky notes semi-transparent!
  • Easy To Use: Your notes and settings are saved between sessions, so your sticky notes will remain on your desktop if you restart your computer or restart the program.
  • Sharable: You can save sticky notes to files and email notes to friends. The notes will show up in the same place on your friend’s desktop with the same colors and fonts.
  • Intuitive: You can move notes by clicking and dragging anywhere on the note rather than clicking on the titlebar. You can double-click on the note to edit it. If you don’t like this behavior, you can easily turn it off in your preferences.
  • Convenient: You can make sticky notes behave like normal windows, or you can make them remain “floating” above all of the windows on your desktop so they are always visible.
  • Standards Compliant: Stickies conforms to Windows XP standards. This means that Stickies uses the proper file and registry locations to save settings, so it should work for any number of users in most any modern Windows environment.
  • Comments:

    As the author notes, Stickies for Windows is purposely simple. Though it has fewer features than the other two desktop note apps, it also uses the fewest system resources. The .Net framework is required, but you probably have it installed already. If you don’t require features like alarms and synching, Stickies for Windows is a great choice. note: Stickies and Stickies for Windows with both install to C:\Program Files\Stickies\ by default. If you install both, make sure to change the installation location for one of them.

    Screenshots:

    example of stickes for windows right click the desktop icon
         
    stickes for windows options
    click to enlarge
    stickes for windows options 2
    click to enlarge
     
         

    lots of stickies

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    • Mark

      No way I was just asked the same thing last week! I suggested Desktop Notes (http://www.intelore.com/desktop_notes.php) but it costs money. And no I’m not affiliated with them :)

    • steve

      i use memento– its fine for me
      http://www.guyswithtowels.com

    • http://www.simplehelp.net Ross

      Steve – Memento actually seems really cool – I’m going to give it a closer look when I’m back near Windows (MacBook @ the coffee shop right now).

    • Mare

      Help!

      For the last three days I’ve been trying to find out the name of the application I used some time ago. Maybe you could be of help.

      The application was used to store notes. It was docked to the screen (usually bottom right corner). It could be activated on mouse-over. User should just click on it and write a note. Note would be automatically saved and sorted with the other notes by date/time (when it was saved). Notes were editable.

      Application was shareware – you could use it for free, but could not export the notes (or was it – could not export the notes as xml, but could export them as plain text.. something like that).

      It was a great and totally useful application. I lost it during re-installation of Windows, and didn’t have the need for it until few days ago…

      Do you, by any chance, recognize the application I’m talking about?