How to use Sticky Notes in Windows 10

The Sticky Notes app has been present in Windows for a long time. In Windows 10, Microsoft decided to ditch the old desktop version of Sticky Notes and recreate it as a new, modern, universal app. The new Sticky Notes looks and works pretty much the same as the old one. However, it also supports integration with Cortana, which is something the old Sticky Notes could not do. Also, the most exciting new feature is the ability to sync notes across devices. Here is how to use the Sticky Notes app in Windows 10:

How to open Sticky Notes in Windows 10

One of the easiest ways in which you can open Sticky Notes in Windows 10 is to click or tap on its shortcut from the Start Menu.

The Sticky Notes shortcut from the Start Menu

However, there are other ways to launch Sticky Notes too, and you can find them all described in this article: 10 ways to start Sticky Notes in Windows (all versions).

How to create a new note in Sticky Notes for Windows 10

When you open Sticky Notes, you get the "All notes" management window that you see below on the left, and it automatically creates a new blank note.

Running Sticky Notes for the first time

If you want to create new notes, click or tap the + (plus) button on the top-left corner of any note already found on your desktop. The note must be active, to see the + button, which means that you need to select it with a click or tap inside the note. The same applies to the "All notes" window with the exception that the + (plus) button is active all the time.

Creating a new note with Sticky Notes

Keep in mind that the newly created note uses the same color as the note where you pressed the + button. However, you can change its color later.

How to search for notes in Sticky Notes

The "All notes" window allows you to search through your notes. The window displays all your notes that have content. In the example below, we have only two of the notes showing because the third one is still empty:

All notes window in Sticky Notes

To search through your notes, click or tap inside the Search field in the All notes window. Then, type your keyword(s) and press ENTER or tap the magnifying glass search button. The "All notes" window displays only the notes that contain the keyword that you entered, highlighting where in the note the text was found:

Search in Sticky Notes

How to synchronize your notes in Sticky Notes

One of the best improvements in the latest version of Sticky Notes is the ability to synchronize your notes in the cloud using your Microsoft account. The synchronization is activated by default if you have the latest version installed on your Windows 10 system and it is done by Sticky Notes at regular intervals. The synchronization means that your notes load automatically in any other Windows 10 system where you log in with the same Microsoft account. If you use a desktop at home or at work and you continue working on the go on your laptop, you get all your notes updated automatically on all your Windows 10 devices.

If you want to ensure the synchronization is done, you can make a manual sync from the Sticky Notes Settings. Open the Settings page in the "All notes" window by pressing the gear icon.

Open Settings in Sticky Notes

In the Settings page press the "Sync now" button:

Sync now in Sticky Notes

The button changes to "Syncing…" for a few moments and then it changes back to "Sync now" when it is done. Please note that Sticky Notes syncs only the notes where you have entered content and not the empty ones.

How to reopen the All notes window in Sticky Notes for Windows 10

You can access a few features in Sticky Notes only through the "All notes" window. Since you can close this window in the same way as the notes, by pressing the X button from the top-right corner, you may want to open it again. There are a couple of ways to do this.

The first way is to click or tap the three dots menu of any open note and select "All notes" from the menu.

Open All notes in Sticky Notes

The second way is to right-click or long press the Sticky Notes icon on the taskbar and choose "All notes" in the menu that open.

Open All notes from the taskbar

How to change the color of a note in Sticky Notes for Windows 10

Sticky Notes can use different colors for the notes you create. It makes it easier to organize things on your desktop, as well as make notes more pleasing if you prefer other colors than yellow, which is the default color. To change the color of a note, click or tap inside the note, and then the menu button, which looks like three suspension dots.

The Sticky Notes menu button

Choose the color that you prefer for that note, by clicking or tapping on it.

Changing the color of a note

The notes created with Sticky Notes can be yellow, green, pink, purple, blue, grey or charcoal.

Colors available in Sticky Notes

How to format text in Sticky Notes for Windows 10

The Sticky Notes app from Windows 10 lets you format the text inside your notes. However, you should know that the formatting options available are fewer than in the old Sticky Notes app for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. To format the text inside Sticky Notes for Windows 10, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Bold: Ctrl + B
  • Underline: Ctrl + U
  • Italics: Ctrl + I
  • Strikethrough: Ctrl + T
  • Bullet list: Ctrl + Shift + L

The same formatting of the text is available through five buttons in a toolbar at the bottom of the note.

Text formats and the keyboard shortcuts available in Sticky Notes

How to close a note in Sticky Notes in Windows 10

The notes in Sticky Notes can be closed. In previous versions, closing a note meant deleting it. Now you may decide that you want to keep a note, but not necessarily stick it to your desktop all the time. If you start collecting a lot of notes, this can become distracting. The new version puts in the top-right corner of each note an X button that shows up when you click or tap inside the note.

The Exit button to close a note in Sticky Notes

After you click on X, the note remains visible in the "All notes" window but disappears from the desktop.

Closed notes continue to show in the All notes window

The closed notes are displayed in the "All notes" window, in the regular list as well as in the search results. They can be displayed again by double-clicking or double tapping on them.

How to delete a note from Sticky Notes in Windows 10

To delete a note from Sticky Notes, first click or tap inside the note, and then push the three dots button on the top-right corner of the note menu.

The menu button on a Sticky Note

In the menu, press the "Delete note" option.

Deleting a note

When Sticky Notes asks you to confirm your choice, press Delete and the note is gone, and unrecoverable.

Confirm the deletion of a note in Sticky Notes

Before pressing Delete you have the option to turn off the confirmation prompt by checking "Don't ask me again."

How to move notes created with Sticky Notes in Windows 10

To move a note created with Sticky Notes in Windows 10, click or tap inside the note, and then drag its title bar (the darker area at the top of the note) anywhere you want to place it on your desktop.

Moving a note

How to resize notes created with Sticky Notes in Windows 10

If you want to resize a note created with Sticky Notes in Windows 10, move the mouse cursor to its bottom-right corner. When the cursor changes its appearance to a two-headed arrow, drag the mouse cursor to adjust the note's size.

Resizing a note

How to enable and use Cortana's Insights in Sticky Notes for Windows 10

The Sticky Notes app from Windows 10 is integrated with Cortana and can work together. This feature is called Insights and, if enabled, it can automatically identify specific types of information you write in a note created with Sticky Notes and take appropriate actions.

Before we show what information Insights can detect in your notes, let's first make sure that you have it enabled. To do that, open the Sticky Notes Settings. Click or tap the gear button inside the "All notes" window.

The Sticky Notes Settings button

This action opens a small window where you see two switches, including one for Enable insights. Make sure that this switch is turned on.

The switch to Enable insights in Sticky Notes

When it is on, the Insights feature can, for example, automatically detect when you enter a time or date inside a note. When it sees this information, Sticky Notes highlights it, and you can click or tap on it and then on the "Add reminder" button.

Cortana insight for setting a reminder in Sticky Notes

Cortana activates and, in its window, you can create a Cortana reminder.

Cortana reminder created in Sticky Notes

Other examples of information that Sticky Notes' Insights can automatically detect in your notes include:

  • Addresses - if you click on an address, Sticky Notes opens the Maps app.
  • Emails - if you click or tap on an email address, Sticky Notes opens the Mail app.
  • Phone numbers - if you click or tap on a phone number, Sticky Notes opens Skype.
  • Flight number - if you enter the number of a flight inside a note, clicking or tapping on on it shows you details about it, based on the Bing search engine.
  • Stocks - if you enter a stock symbol with a $ sign in the beginning, clicking or tapping on it shows you details about that stock, based on data from the Bing search engine.

Some people might find the Insights useful. However, if you are not one of them, you can disable this integration with Cortana by turning off the Insights switch from Sticky Notes' Settings.

Disabling the insights in Sticky Notes

Do you like the new Sticky Notes app from Windows 10?

We have been avid users of Sticky Notes ever since its first days, and we still are. Although we like the way the new Sticky Notes from Windows 10 has changed, we are not pleased by the lack of advanced text formatting options that we used to have in Sticky Notes for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Do you feel the same? What would you add to the new Sticky Notes app to make it better? Share your opinion in the comments section and let's discuss.