How to Use Sticky Notes in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

Put important reminders right on your desktop

When Microsoft added "Sticky Notes" to Windows Vista, the company was only catching up to what users had been using third-party programs to do for years. Just like physical sticky notes, the Windows version provides a useful way to jot down reminders or quick facts quickly.

As of January 2020, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 7 and Windows Vista.

Woman placing sticky note on laptop screen
Dorothe / pxhere

Windows 7

If you're using Windows 7 here's how to find Sticky Notes.

  1. Select Start

  2. At the bottom of the screen will be a window that says Search programs and files. Place your cursor into that window and type Sticky Notes.

    Screenshot of Sticky Notes in Start Search in Windows 7
  3. The Sticky Notes program appears at the top of the search results. Select the name of the program to open it.

Windows Vista

If you're still using Windows Vista, you'll find sticky notes as a gadget in the Windows sidebar.

  1. Open the sidebar by going to Start > All programs.

  2. Select Accessories and choose Windows Sidebar

  3. Once the sidebar is open, right-click and select Add Gadgets.

  4. Select Notes. Now you're ready to go with "sticky notes" in Vista. You can either keep them in the sidebar or drag notes onto the regular desktop. 

Once open, a sticky note appears on your screen. At that point, you can start typing. To add a new note, select the + (plus sign) in the top left corner; it will add a new note, without deleting or overwriting the previous note. To delete a note, click the X in the top right corner.

For those with Windows 7 tablet PCs (ones on which you can draw with a stylus), Sticky Notes are even better. You can jot down your information just by writing with your stylus.

Sticky Notes also last over reboots. So if you type out a note to yourself, such as, "Buy donuts for the afternoon staff meeting," that note will still be there when you power up your computer the next day.

If you find yourself using Sticky Notes a lot, you might want to add it to the taskbar for easy access. The taskbar is the bar at the very bottom of your screen and contains the Start button and other frequently-accessed applications.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Right-click the Sticky Notes icon.

    The Sticky Notes icon.
  2. Select Pin this program to taskbar.

    Screenshot of Pin this program to taskbar

This will add the Sticky Notes icon to the taskbar, giving you instant access to your notes anytime.

If yellow isn't your color, you can also change the note color by hovering your mouse over a note, right-clicking it, and selecting a different color from the context menu. Windows 7 offers six different colors, including blue, green, pink, purple, white, and yellow, as mentioned above.