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Notezilla desktop notesSticky notes for your computer are a wonderful idea. These digital alternatives to Post-It Notes save paper, won’t come unstuck, prompt you with audible and visual reminders, and are a lifesaver for anyone whose memory is not one hundred percent. (Include me in!)

For over a decade, I used a sticky notes program from 3M called Post-It Software Notes. It was easily the best program of its type, with neat, colourful, resizable notes; excellent organisation via memoboards; a great search facility; reminders/alarms; network note sharing; and printing and email support. The only things it lacked were password protection for private notes and a way to export notes to other programs.

Several years back, 3M introduced an “upgrade” which essentially destroyed an almost-perfect product. The update replaced the neat little notes with bukly windows, reduced the flexibility of the program, slowed performance, and failed to remedy the lack of password protection and export capability. Not since Lotus hobbled the wondrous Lotus Organizer has any company so successfully sabotaged its own product.

I junked the update and kept with the old version of the program. Unfortunately, that old version couldn’t handle the move to Vista and Windows 7. So I embarked on a hunt for a decent replacement and eventually, after trying almost a dozen competitors, I stumbled upon Notezilla from Conceptworld.

Notezilla

Notezilla has all the features I loved in Post-It Software Notes plus password protection and very flexible support for exporting and importing notes. It lets you place notes directly on your desktop, attach them to a particular document, program or website, or organise them neatly in memoboards you can view and manage through a Notes Browser.

The Notezilla browser makes it easy to manage your notes and keep your desktop clearHere are some of the other things you can do with Notezilla:

  • Attach files and insert images into the notes.
  • Insert clickable links to files and websites.
  • Create Checklist notes, with each line preceded by a checkbox.
  • Lock (password protect) individual notes or entire memoboards.
  • Create large notes with basic formatting such as numbered lists. This makes Notezilla a quick alternative to using Notepad.
  • Tag and star notes, and then use the filters pane in the Notes Browser to show only those notes matching your search criteria.
  • Designate a “note zone” on your desktop, where newly created notes are corraled.
  • Send notes via email or to another computer on your network.
  • Pin notes on top of other windows.
  • Skin and colour notes.
  • Hide or display all notes.
  • Roll notes up, sort them and have them laid out automatically.
  • Count words and characters in a note (right-click the note and choose Statistics from the context menu).

Notezilla costs $US29.95 and it’s worth every cent. It’s the sort of program you’ll use repeatedly every day you spend on your computer. If you don’t need all the advanced features in Notezilla, Conceptworld creates a simpler offering called Quick Notes Plus, which costs ten bucks less. Check out the feature comparison between the two. If you’re using Windows 98 or Windows Me, you won’t be able to run Notezilla, so Quick Notes Plus is the way to go.

Alternatives for cheapskates and Mac users 🙂

On the other hand, if you don’t need all the advanced features of Notezilla, rather than forking out money for Quick Notes Plus, you might want to give Stickies a try. It’s a freeware program offering good, basic sticky notes for Windows (including Windows 7).

And for Mac users, there is, of course, a Stickies program built into the Mac operating system. If you haven’t come across it, type Stickies into the Spotlight box and a couple of Stickies with instructions will appear on your desktop. Explore the Stickies menus to discover other things you can do with Stickies (such as capturing a portion of your screen and storing it on a sticky).

Tip: To render a Stickies note translucent on the Mac, click the note and then press Command+Option+T.

Stickies on the Mac lacks Notezilla’s ability to organise your notes and hide most of them from view while leaving just the most urgent open on your desktop. This is a big drawback for Stickies, because those notes quickly start to chew up your screen real estate. You can ameliorate this problem somewhat by installing Stick ‘Em Up. It lets you categorise your notes and then display only those notes from a single category. This is a big improvement over Stickies, but still nowhere near as useful as Notezilla’s approach.

Another alternative is Tomboy. Tomboy runs on Linux, Unix, Mac OS X and Windows. It’s an open source, freeware program. It’s more advanced than Stickies, but still lacks much of the power of Notezilla.