Quickly Make a Stickies Note from a Selection in Mac OS X

Jul 9, 2014 - 21 Comments

note-made-from-text-mac

Stickies is an app that creates floating notes that can sit on your Mac desktop, it’s been around on the Mac for ages and tends to sit quietly forgotten in the Applications folder of OS X. Often the lack of Stickies usage is either due to not knowing the app exists, or just not knowing how useful it can be, and that’s why this little trick is so great; you can instantly generate a note from just about anything.


The ability to make a Stickies note out of a highlighted text or media selection is generally available to most Mac apps thanks to it being a system Service, if you don’t see the feature yourself, you may need to enable it within the preference panel as discussed in this article. For the purpose of this walkthrough, we’ll make a new sticky note from a webpage in Safari.

Quickly Making a Stickies Note from a Text Selection

  1. Use the cursor to highlight and select text and/or images
  2. Right-click within the text selection and go to the “Services” menu
  3. Choose the “Make New Sticky Note” option to immediately launch the Stickies app and generate a new note with the highlighted text and images

make-new-sticky-note-from-text-mac

Because Stickies is a lightweight app, it opens almost immediately. The note generated from the text selection contains the same formatting, as well as all the words, images, and media that is within the highlighted block.

sticky-note-from-text-selection-mac

If you’re selecting the text block to make a note from a web page, any selected links will also be preserved, allowing you to click through to them from the floating Stickies note.

As mentioned above, if you don’t find the “Make New Sticky Note” option available to you in the Services contextual menu you probably just need to enable it first.

Enabling the Make Sticky Note Service

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and open System Preferences
  2. Choose the “Keyboards” panel and then go to the ‘Shortcuts’ tab
  3. Select “Services” from the left-hand side and locate “Make New Sticky Note”, selecting the checkbox next to it to enable the system service

Note: if you don’t see the “Make Sticky Note Service” but find it already checked in this Services menu, simply uncheck it, then check it again to make the item appear in the Services menu. This works to display it when it’s not visible, and is probably a bug.

make-new-sticky-note-service

You’ll also notice the “Make New Sticky Note” service has an accompanying keyboard shortcut to generate a new note, another useful variation of this trick.

Stickies can be quit or closed if you don’t want to see them anymore or are finished using the block of text contained within them.

There really isn’t much downside to using Stickies, except that it can’t make iCloud synced notes like what can be done from the Notes app, which span between iOS and OS X, as well as across Macs, through the separate Notes application.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

21 Comments

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  1. Robert D. says:

    OK, everything is set up in System Preferences but I do not get the Services choice when I right click in the selected text.
    (How do I show a screen shot?)

  2. Steve B says:

    I don’t see any such item on the right-click menu, but it does appear on the services menu under Safari when something is selected. OS X Mavericks 10.9.3

  3. luca says:

    I have it working on one of my Macs with OS X Mavericks, but it didn’t show up on the other one until I disabled it in Services menu, then re-enabled it, and then logged out and back in. Weird.

    • Robert D. says:

      That worked for me as well: deselected the “Make Sticky” item and then reselected it.

      • Paul says:

        Ran through this on another Mac, and yes simply unselecting and reselecting the service does seem to cause the “Make New Sticky Note” item appear in Services contextual menu if it’s not visible already.

  4. Philip N says:

    I have it activated, but does not show up in services. Used the shift-command-Y hotkey, and it makes a sticky, but no images are copied. Using mavericks 10.9.4

  5. Wayne says:

    Total BS. I’m using OS X 10.9.3. It’s activated. I highlight text and right click and nothing about making a sticky note shows up. Why do you publish this crap?

    • Robert D. says:

      Blame Apple not OSX Daily. Try deselecting and reselecting as described above. It works.

    • Paul says:

      Please read the instructions Wayne, it states exactly how to get this working. Also, as noted in the article and as several commenters have mentioned, if yours is not showing up in the Services menu, you need to enable it manually (or in some cases, uncheck and recheck it).

  6. Chris Cheng says:

    Definitely works but is OS X is buggy and had to follow Luca trick above to get it working. Works great now!

  7. Frank says:

    Hi, thanks for the tip BUT no “services” available. I tried without success the above trick…

  8. MikeF says:

    Works in Safari, but not in Firefox, as FF doesn’t implement the OS X Services menu on right-click – you have to select Firefox > Services from the menu bar (or use the keyboard shortcut).

  9. Sue Dunham says:

    Humph! Very hit & miss. I don’t see it in TextEdit or Chrome. But an easier way is to just highlight text, and drag it to the desktop.
    Boom! There it is.

  10. James Ludtke says:

    I could not enable “Make New Sticky” because it was not shown in the shortcut list.

    I had to launch Stickies, and keep it open. Then “Make New Sticky” showed, and could be enabled. Now works OK.

  11. Nikki says:

    OSX 10.9.4
    Had to select Create Service under Development (System Preferences-Keyboard-Shortcuts) to get “Make New Sticky Note” to appear at right-click. Make New Sticky must be selected under Services.

  12. Rich says:

    Keep in mind that you may not see the word “Services” as a menu item if only four or fewer services are available as options. If that case, when you right-click, the shorter list of services will be the last items displayed directly at the end of the contextual menu. (Verified in Snow Leopard.)

    I didn’t see “Services” or “Make New Sticky Note” at first, but the System Preferences trick worked.

  13. Nestor says:

    So I did what you listed and all is fine except that images don’t show up using either shift command Y or using the services “Make New Sticky Note” option in Chrome.

    Works showing images in Safari, but the images are so small as to be useless.

    Here’s a link to a screenshot from Safari. The images are basically unreadable.

    http://postimg.org/image/9f82vvru3/

    So the obvious…. what can I do, what is wrong?

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