Over the last five weeks or so, Microsoft Engineering Manager for Sticky Notes, Reza Jooyandeh, has been mercilessly teasing Windows Insiders on Twitter about the upcoming release of Sticky Notes Version 3.0.

Through a series of tweets we have slowly been shown what the new interface of Sticky Notes in Windows 10 will look like and some of its functionality. You can see those teasers in the Twitter Moment I created to bring them all together.

Sticky Notes Version 3.0 has been released for Windows Insiders who are in the Skip Ahead ring for Windows 10 19H1. This is the feature update for Windows 10 that is expected in the Spring of 2019 and will be the seventh overall feature update for Windows 10. I expect that once some initial testing and feedback has been done with this release to Skip Ahead, then the app should start to show up on other versions of Windows 10 for continued testing. I am also confident that Microsoft will be putting an app out on iOS and Android at some point for cross platform functionality.

I have now spent a good chunk of time with Sticky Notes Version 3.0 between its release yesterday afternoon and beginning to put this article together this morning. Below you will find an extensive screenshot gallery that shows you just about every dialog box and screen I came across while using the app update.

According to the release notes for Sticky Notes Version 3.0, these are the highlighted new features for the app:

  • Sync (& backup) your notes across your Windows devices.
  • If you have a lot of notes, your desktop can get a bit crowded! We are introducing a new home for all your notes. You can choose which notes to stick to your desktop or tuck them away and find them again easily with search.
  • Before all the beautiful sunshine arrived, we channeled our dark energy into a dark themed note: Charcoal Note.
  • Crossing tasks off feel better than deleting them! Now you can style your note with the new formatting bar.
  • You may notice that Sticky Notes is performing a lot faster – that is completely on purpose.
  • We’ve applied so much polish that the app is starting to look like a shiny pony!
  • Drastic improvements on being more inclusive:Using assistive technologies and Narrator; Keyboard navigation;Using mouse, touch, and pen; High Contrast.

Now, I have used the original Sticky Notes app in Windows 10 in the past however, with its limitations of only being able to see notes created on that particular device it was not very useful. I use several devices and that was very limiting to the apps usefulness. As you can see above, Sticky Notes Version 3.0 addresses that right off the top by adding cross device syncing and updates.

Here are my observations so far:

  • Notes are now centralized into a container that can be opened and closed on your desktop. This container shows a summary of your sticky notes and you can quickly delete old notes from this listing or open them up for editing.
  • The sticky notes are synced across your devices and ordered in this container based on the last updated note. This is by design and allows you to see the most recently updated note right at the top of the listing on all your devices. I initially found this weird but after Reza explained the reasoning behind it – then it made a lot of sense.
  • There are seven color options for your sticky notes. By default the last color selected will be the color of the next new note you begin. That can of course be changed to your preference.
  • The desktop state of your sticky notes container and any open notes are retained between system restarts. That means if you opt to open a note and leave it on your desktop as a reminder, it will be on your desktop after a system restart.
  • The sticky notes container does not need to be open on the desktop to have individual notes open on the desktop. This helps a lot with clutter but I can also envision the sticky notes container being what I leave open on the desktop for quick access to all my notes.
  • The state of your sticky notes container or open notes does not sync across devices.
  • Search is fast and will annotate which of your notes contains that search phrase so you can quickly find a reference sticky note. This will be very helpful as your collection of sticky notes grows.
  • Syncing is quite fast across devices.
  • Sticky Notes Version 3.0 supports Inking on compatible devices and even if you sync to a device that does not support inking your inked notes will still appear just like the inked original.
  • Just to say it – closing a sticky note on your desktop does not delete it but just minimizes it to the sticky notes container. There is a drop down menu in each sticky note with an option to delete that individual note but the X itself just closes it like in other areas of Windows 10.
  • You can use several options for formatting the text in your sticky notes including Bold, Italic, Underline, Strikeout and Lists.
  • Your sticky notes sync with the Outlook desktop email client under the same Microsoft Account. That means updates you make in Outlook sync back to Sticky Notes and vice versa. Currently it does not appear that the inbox Mail and Calendar app supports this on Windows 10 nor does the web based version of Outlook.
  • Sticky Notes Version 3.0 is made for keyboard Jockeys as well and there is an extensive list of keyboard shortcuts in the Settings for the app.
  • There is a dark mode of sorts if you use the charcoal color for your sticky notes however, the sticky notes container retains a light mode style right now. I expect this will get updated to inherit the system wide setting plus have its own toggle between dark and light mode.

This is a significant and welcomed update to little old Sticky Notes as it was/is in Windows 10. I am really looking forward to this expanding onto other versions of Windows 10 and of course mobile devices for the cross platform experience.

As this update has been approaching, many have commented that you can basically get the same effect using OneNote since it syncs across devices and platforms. To a certain extent that is true however, with OneNote you can not have that quick immediate access on the desktop because you have to open the app to gain access to that content. Sticky Notes Version 3.0 eliminates that level of needing to drill down into OneNote by putting everything right on the desktop at your fingertips, mouse cursor or pen ink.

Let us know what you think of the app update in the comments below.

Sticky Notes Version 3.0 Screenshot Gallery