How to Create a Sticky Note on a Mac’s Dashboard

Adding a Sticky Note to your Mac's desktop makes it easy to find the notes you need, when you need them. We'll show you how to create desktop Sticky Notes, as well as how to add Sticky Notes to the Dashboard in older versions of macOS.

Creating a Dashboard Sticky Note

Re-enable the Dashboard if you’re using El Capitan (10.12).

In El Capitan, the Dashboard has been disabled by default. This likely indicates that it will be retired soon, but you can still enable it for now and use the sticky note widget.

  • Click the Apple menu and select “System Preferences.”
  • Select “Mission Control” from the menu.
  • Click the “Dashboard” menu and select “As Space” or “As Overlay,” whichever you prefer. This will re-enable the Dashboard.

Open the Dashboard.

Once the Dashboard has been enabled, you can open it using your keyboard or trackpad.

  • Swipe right with three fingers on your trackpad to open the Dashboard. This will only work if it is set to open as a Space.
  • Press the Dashboard key on your keyboard. This will typically be , and the icon looks like six small squares arranged in two rows. Older keyboards may have an icon that looks like a speedometer.
  • Press on your keyboard. The key is usually located in the bottom-left corner of the keyboard.
  • You can also open the Dashboard from the Dock or Applications folder.

Click the “+” in the lower-left corner.

This will open the New Widget menu.

Select the “Stickies” option.

This will create a new sticky note on the Dashboard.

  • The Dashboard’s sticky note widget is separate from the Sticky Notes desktop app. Dashboard notes are more limited in formatting and content options. See the next section for instructions on creating desktop sticky notes.

Enter the note text.

You can start typing in your new note immediately. Enter anything that you want to save in a quick note format.

Change the note color.

You can select from several different colors to help organize your notes.

  • Click the i button in the bottom-left corner of the note.
  • Select the “Paper Color” that you want to use for that note.

Change note font.

You can change the font of the note if you don’t like the default one.

  • Click the i button in the bottom-left corner of the note.
  • Select the font and size from the menus that appear.

Creating a Desktop Sticky Note

Press .

⌘ Command+⇧ Shift+Y One of the most useful features of the Stickies desktop app is the ability to create a new sticky note from any highlighted text. This is great for creating a note from a website, email, calendar entry, or any other piece of text. This shortcut will create a new sticky note on your desktop from the text that you have selected. You can also select images and links, and these will be copied to the sticky note as well.

  • If this doesn’t work, click the Apple menu and select System Preferences. Open the Keyboard section and click the Shortcuts tab. Select the Services category and then find “Make New Sticky Note.” Check the box to enable this keyboard shortcut.
  • Note that desktop sticky notes are separate from the Dashboard sticky notes.

Create a sticky note by opening the Stickies app.

You don’t have to use the keyboard shortcut to create sticky notes. Opening the Stickies app in your Applications folder will allow you to create new notes and adjust your sticky note properties.

Press .

⌘ Command+⌥ Option+F With the sticky note highlighted, this shortcut will force the sticky note to stay in front of your other windows. You can also enable this from the Note menu.

Press .

⌘ Command+⌥ Option+T This will let you see anything that is underneath the note, and is useful when used with the previous shortcut. You can also enable this from the Note menu.

Resize a note by dragging the corner.

You can resize desktop sticky notes to be any size. If the text in the note doesn’t fit inside, you can use the arrow keys to scroll through it.

Add movies and other media files to your sticky note.

Sticky notes don’t need to be just text. You can drag media files into the sticky note, and they will appear with playback controls. This includes video and audio files. You can also add PDF files to sticky notes.

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