Get Windows Style Sticky Notes for Ubuntu Linux With These Tools

Looking for a sticky note app to quickly take notes or make to-do list and display them on the desktop? Here are your options.
Warp Terminal

If you ever used Windows, you may have used the cool yellow colored sticky note apps which allows you to create small notes, that “sticks” on the desktop and helps you remember stuffs just like a real sticky note.

Linux has plenty of note-taking applications, but sometimes, all you need is a sticky note for your temporary to-do list.

yellow sticky notes on white wall
Photo by Paper Textures / Unsplash

If you are looking for Sticky notes for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, here are various solutions that allow you to use quick sticky notes on your Linux desktop. Check them out and see which one fits your requirements.

1. Indicator Stickynotes

Indicator Stickynotes is a simple lightweight indicator applet for Ubuntu (and other distributions) that can be used for scribbling some small tasks, and can be “pasted” on the desktop to be reminded about it.

Some of the main features of Indicator Stickynotes are:

  • Create quick sticky notes, as many as you like
  • Group sticky notes into categories
  • Color code the categories
  • Lock sticky notes for accidental editing
  • Resize the notes as per your preference
  • Hide or show all sticky notes at once from global settings
  • Import and export your notes
  • Supports keyboard shortcut
  • Free and open-source software licensed under GPL v3

Installing Indicator Sticky Notes

Indicator Stickynotes PPA is available only up to Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish.

Indicator Stickynotes can be installed by using its official PPA. Use the following commands in the terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:umang/indicator-stickynotes
sudo apt update
sudo apt install indicator-stickynotes

Once installed, you can start using it straight away. No need for a restart or anything like that. Simply search for in the application menu and start it.

Using Indicator Stickynotes is very simple and self-explanatory. This picture will help you use most of its features at one glance:

Indicator Sticky Notes with several notes placed on the desktop. This is an annotated image of the function of various buttons on a typical Indicator Stickynote. Also, access further settings by right-clicking on its tray icon.
Indicator Stickynotes

You can pin these sticky notes to the desktop or hide all of them using the option from the top panel.

If you are a keyboard shortcut fan, you can also use the following keyboard shortcuts for handling sticky notes:

  • Ctrl + W : Delete note
  • Ctrl + L : Lock note
  • Ctrl + N : New note

2. Xpad

Xpad is a simple sticky note app for desktop, that comes with tray icon support. A usual Xpad session contains notes, that are automatically saved.

Apart from simple jotting of notes, Xpad also supports basic note formatting, such as bold, italics, and underline.

When you first open the app, it will display a neat help page, that describes everything Xpad can do. Here, you should take care that, to move the notes around the desktop, use CTRL+Left click and then drag. Normal click and drag won't work here.

Xpad app's Help Page. Xpad app, when first opened, will show this help page. This can be accessed later by right-clicking on the tray icon and selecting Help.
Xpad Help

There is one more reason you should read the help page thoroughly if you are using it. Because there are many features available in this nice software, that are otherwise hidden for you.

Some of the features Xpad provides are:

  • Colored Notes, with customizable foreground and background.
  • Text Formatting with bold, italics, underline, and strike though text.
  • Use custom fonts inside notes.
  • Show notes on all workspaces.
Xpad Sticky notes are displayed on the desktop. Also, the controls available on the bottom of each note is also annotated.
Xpad Sticky Notes

Install Xpad in Ubuntu

Xpad is available in the official repositories of Ubuntu and many other distributions. If you are in Ubuntu or other Debian-based distributions, open a terminal and run:

sudo apt install xpad

Once installed, open Xpad by searching on the GNOME dash.

3. Sticky Notes (for GNOME)

Not using Ubuntu? Or in any other distribution? Don't worry, GNOME Sticky Notes is a cool app, that is available as a Flatpak package so that you can use in any Linux distribution, that has Flatpak support enabled.

Sticky Notes is an App, focussed on GNOME desktop. Interestingly, it allows basic note formatting like bold/italics text, underline, and strikeout text.

Some other features include:

  • Notes are restored if they were open when the application was closed
  • Changing color of notes
  • Dark theme support
Sticky Notes main app and several sticky notes are opened on the desktop. Also, the formatting option available under each note is annotated.
Sticky Notes Application

Installing Sticky Notes

To install Sticky Notes, first make sure your system has Flatpak support enabled. Now, install it using your Software Store or run the command:

flatpak install flathub com.vixalien.sticky

That's it. You can now create an unlimited number of formatted sticky notes!

Almost like the Google Keep, the notes will be available on the main Sticky Notes apps, so that when you need them, you can open it as a sticky note on your desktop. It also allows you to search among your notes.

Sticky Notes main applications, that will show all of the notes you have created. When you clicked on one note, that is opened in a small sticky note window.
Sticky Notes Main App with Notes

4. Sticky Notes for Kubuntu and other KDE Plasma Desktops

The above sticky notes, except the Xpad, are GNOME focussed. So, if you are a Kubuntu user or any KDE Plasma-based system user, there are some neat sticky notes options for you.

Panel Sticky Notes

There is a sticky note widget for KDE Plasma desktop and panel. First, right-click on the desktop and select enter edit mode.

Right-click on an empty space on the desktop and select "Add Widgets" option from the context menu.
Click on Add Widgets

A side panel will be opened. On it, search for “Sticky Note”.

Search for "sticky note" on the available widgets page.
Search for Sticky Notes

Now, just drag and drop the “Sticky Note” widget to anywhere on your Plasma panel.

Sticky note in KDE Plasma panel
Sticky note in KDE Plasma panel

You can configure it for a different font size or different color. Just right-click on the panel sticky note button and choose the according to requirement.

Or, you can just enter the edit mode, by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting “Enter the Edit Mode”.

Enter to the Edit mode in KDE Plasma Desktop
Enter Edit Mode

And now, click on “Add Widgets”.

Click on Add Widgets Button on the Edit Mode
Click on the Add Widgets Button in the Edit Mode

Drag and drop some sticky notes to the screen. Keep the numbers low so that it won't affect the system performance.

Multiple Sticky Note WIdget present in the KDE Plasma Desktop
Multiple Sticky Note Widgets
I prefer the adding the sticky note to the panel, so that, it won't fill the monitor with multiple widgets, yet the sticky note is available right from the panel. Also, rearranging notes added like this needs to go to the edit mode every time.


KNotes is ideal, if you would rather not use widgets on screen, yet use Sticky Notes in KDE Plasma.

In KNotes, the notes are saved automatically when you exit the program. When you open the program, they are displayed again.

KNotes offers many other features like:

  • Selection of font and background color
  • Use drag and drop to email your notes
  • Can be dragged into Calendar to book a time-slot
  • Notes can be printed

Install KNotes

On my Kubuntu system, when I installed KNotes, it also installed 100+ additional packages. But that's just KDE being KDE I guess.

Since KNotes is an official KDE Plasma project, it is available on the repos of distro, that support KDE Plasma. In Ubuntu and other Debian-based systems, install KNotes using the command:

sudo apt install knotes

Once installed, open it. It will prompt you to select a location. Go with the default locations, by clicking on it and clicking on OK.

Approve the default location by selecting it and clicking OK
Select the Default Location

On the next page, click on “Show Collections”.

Click on Show Collections button
Click on the Show Collections button

That's it. Note will be opened. You can right-click on the panel KNotes button and select new note to start a new note.

Right-click on Knotes panel button to get options
KNotes Panel Button

This will ask you to select the location for notes, go with the default as mentioned in the previous step.

Multiple Sticky Notes are placed using Knotes
Multiple KNotes Sticky Notes

Wrapping Up

Hope you enjoyed the various Sticky Notes options available for Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. Did you use Sticky Notes often? Which one was your favorite? Comment your opinions.

If you are interested in knowing what Note-taking applications are available for Linux, here is a list.

Top 17 Best Note Taking Apps For Linux [2024]
Plenty of amazing note-taking apps for Linux. Here’s what we recommend you to check out.

Knowledge management apps are gaining traction among developers and many Linux users. Here are some open-source knowledge management apps, that can act as your second brain!

8 Open Source Second Brain Knowledge Base Tools
Want a powerful note-taking experience? Try these knowledge-base focused second brain apps.

💬 I hope you find your favorite tool for sticky note on Linux. If you have questions or suggestions, do let me know.

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventures. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie detective mysteries 🕵️‍♂️

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