Stickies vs (Quick) Notes

Whenever I have a need to jot something down, I create a note in DEVONthink using the Sorter as I can bring it up with a quick key combination. My notes can be created in various forms including Markdown, and as long or as short as I need them to be. I haven’t yet upgraded to MacOS 12 (Monterey) which has Quick Notes, which may ultimately be something that I use as well. But in thinking about Quick Notes, I remember that MacOS has Stickies! Remember those!? I used to love them, and use them frequently, and then I didn’t, and I don’t remember why.

Do you still use Stickies? What do you love about them, and why not use (Quick) Notes instead?

We’ve got yellow paper stickies scattered around our home, especially on the refrigerator. I do use them on my Mac desk; they remind me what I need to do before I turn it on. I’ve got so much stuff on my Home Screen that I should open immediately that I haven’t used the Mac version of stickies in years.

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Ditto. I used Stickies but stopped in favor of Notes. They just seemed more organized. I use Reminders for more random stuff - plus both those apps sync to my phone.

I think I have managed to open my old backed up Stickies and there is some interesting stuff in there!


I use Stickies instead of sticking Post-it notes on the monitor. Unlike Notes, Stickies are always open and they are right there on the screen every time I look at it. Notes are OK but you have to remember to open them to view them.

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Stickies was modeled after a cool DOS program called Info Select. (It used to be called Tornado Notes.) The coolest thing about it was the way you could search:
type ‘g’ to search
type ‘a’ (it displays only notes with ‘a’ in them)
type 'p" (narrows what’s shown down to only notes with ‘ap’)
By the time you’ve typed ‘apple’ it’s narrowed it down to just a few windows on the screen.

This is called incremental search.

Mac apps like this are nvAlt and nimblenote.

There used to be a hack to let you do that in TextEdit, but it hasn’t worked for a long time.

I had forgotten about Stickies. I do use NOTE and REMINDERS. I like Reminders for the category part. I also use ALARMS on my iphone too! So many places… Yet I am really, really good at forgeting non the less.
I am guilty of using the paper stickies on my monitor with something that is Urgent. If only I could replace the chip in my brain to remember…

I use Stickies, Notes, Reminders, and Calendar and each has its different purpose.
What I have found is that Stickies does not index information in Spotlight. So therefore a Spotlight search won’t reveal text that is in Stickies.
There is a search option in Stickies … ⌘ + F (with extra keyboard shortcuts for find next etc) and one can search just one individual Note or All Notes.
Also, if you have more than one computer (and/or iOS device/s) then Stickies does not propagate across the other devices (via iCloud etc). This can be a plus or a minus, depending on your requirements. :grinning:
However, when deciding to use Stickies, I ask myself … do I need this searchable on all devices? If the answer is “yes”, I will then use the instead.
Probably the best use for me is to use it as a “poor man’s” Multiple Clipboard assistant, as it can place text and images etc. Also useful for the Paste & Match Style option to strip formatted text.
I’ve often wondered why Stickies (and TextEdit) has not changed since (seemingly) the first iteration of Mac OSX.

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Regarding Notes and search, there is currently a minor issue with search (searching for substrings that do not begin a word) across both MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS. See