DeskNotes: excellent desktop sticky notes program that can sync to Outlook


If you’re looking for a good, free desktop sticky-notes type program then give DeskNotes a try.

I’ve been using this program for several weeks now, and while it doesn’t exactly introduce any new functionality or spin on the general desktop sticky notes program concept, it manages to be a highly usable and reliable program all the same.

If you happen to use Outlook you may be pleased to learn that DeskNotes can sync notes with it. But even if you don’t you will probably like DeskNotes anyway.

Its list of features include: full rich text formatting for notes, archiving of notes into a (searchable) hierarchical structure, emailing of notes, timed reminders, the ability to hide notes into the system tray menu and unhide them again for desktop display, and the ability to make a note “switchable” i.e. visible in the taskbar and to Windows’ Alt+Tab switching.

There are many good free desktop sticky notes programs, and I first started looking into this one with the thought of writing up a post that compares the best free desktop notes apps. That posting may or may not materialize some time in the future; but what I do know now, after using DeskNotes for a while, is that it is a damn fine piece of software that deserves being written up.

Here are some notes on this program:

  • DeskNotes Hierarchical ArchiveArchiving: notes that you want to keep as reference can be archived in a hierarchical structure. The program also offers a search function for archived notes, which can be very useful (see screenshot to the right).
  • Outlook synching: you can sync your sticky note to Outlook (or alternately sync all notes to Outlook at once via the system tray icon). I didn’t try this one myself as I recently removed the desktop version of Outlook from my system in favor of the web version.
  • Moving your notes on the desktop: is performed via dragging while pressing the ’Ctrl’ key. Works quite well.
  • Memory footprint: is a mere 10 megs in memory. Very efficient.
  • DeskNotes NotificationDesktop Reminders: if you need to you can set a reminder that will flash on screen (see screenshot to the right).
  • Colors: offers a variety of background colors for notes, as well as the ability to edit the default background color for new notes.
  • Text formatting: provides excellent text-editing options, including bullet points and indenting. Font size can be manipulated via Ctrl’ and ’+’, Ctrl and ’-’.
  • DeskNotes Alt Tab“Switchable” notes: a feature whereby any single note can be made to reside on the taskbar and browsed/switched to using Alt+Tab.
  • Hiding/Unhiding notes: very handy if you feel like having a normal, sticky-notes-free desktop temporarily. Yes you can have your cake and eat it too (i.e. have notes on the desktop only when you want them).

Wish list (or how this program can be even better)

  • Hide-all notes keyboard shortcut: although there are quite a few keyboard shortcuts that perform all manner of functions, I would have liked (a) a keyboard shortcut to hide and unhide notes collectivley all at once, and (b) the ability to edit the keys used for shortcuts.
  • I also always wished there would be a sticky notes program where the notes would minimize as tabs to the top or right hand side of the screen. But I digress.

The verdict: what I like about this program is that you can keep a ’clear’, notes free desktop if you want and use it for notes that can be displayed only when you need them (or decided to keep these visible at all times, your choice). I also like that it is light on memory and doesn’t weigh down my system.

DeskNotes doesn’t do anything flashy: it’s just a good, reliable, desktop sticky notes program that does what it does well. It lacks some of the more esoteric functions that are out there, such as messaging notes to other users, but I never cared much for that anyway. Overall highly recommended.

For other sticky notes programs, check out Stickies, Shock Sticker, and the unusual Sticky Sorter.

Version Tested: 2.2.1

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. Requires MS .NET Framework 2.0.

Go tp the program home page to download the latest version (approx 2 megs).