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Mac Computer - Jotting Down Notes

Written by Wallace Wang - 2008, No Starch Press. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with Permission.
This article is an excerpt from the following book: My New Mac: 52 Simple Projects to Get You Started.

Many times you need to jot down a tidbit of information, such as a telephone number, address, or name that you need to store temporarily. You could jot down the information on a sticky note and slap it on the side of your monitor. However, paper sticky notes can fall off and get lost. Your Macintosh provides two better ways to jot down and store notes where you can easily find them again. Project goal: Learn two ways to type and store notes for saving information.

Storing Notes in the Stickies Program
You'll find the Stickies program most useful for creating and storing multiple notes that you can arrange and view on your screen. To reference your notes, the Stickies program also lets you keep notes on the screen at all times while you use another program. To start the Stickies program, double-click the Stickies icon in the Applications folder. To close the Stickies program, select Stickies 4 Quit Stickies.

Creating Notes
To create and store a note in the Stickies program, do this: 1. Start the Stickies program. (Double-click the Stickies icon in the Applications folder.) The Stickies menu bar and Stickies note windows appear.
2. Select File 4 New Note. A new (blank) note appears.
3. Type any text.

Instead of typing text, you can copy and paste text and/or graphics from another program, such as from a web page or word processor document. To copy text:
1. Select the text or graphic image you want to paste in a Stickies note.
2. Select Edit 4 Copy.
3. Click in the Stickies note where you want to paste the text or graphics. You may need to move the cursor to a specific location.
4. Select Edit 4 Paste.

Color Coding Notes
To help organize your Stickies notes, you can use different colors. Normally a Stickies note displays a yellow background, but you can change to other colors such as green, blue, or gray. Colors can help you identify different types of notes at a glance, where the color of a Stickies note is associated with some particular meaning. For example, you can identify notes containing financial information in green and notes containing vacation information in blue.

Here's how to change the color of a Stickies note:
1. In the Stickies program, click the note that you want to color code.
2. Select Color, and then choose a color from the pull-down menu, such as Blue or Gray. The selected note appears in a different color.

Keeping Notes Floating Around
Stickies notes appear when the Stickies program is running. The moment you click another program window, such as Safari or Mail, however, all your Stickies notes may get covered up by the other program window. To view them again, you can click the Stickies note icon on the Dock.

If you want to refer to your notes while using another program, you can turn a Stickies note into a floating window. Since a floating window always stays visible on the screen, you can see all the information stored in your Stickies note even while you're using another program.

To turn a Stickies note into a floating window, do the following:
1. In the Stickies program, click the Stickies note you want to keep on the screen at all times.
2. Select Note 4 Floating Window. Your selected Stickies note now appears as a floating window.
3. (Optional) Select Note 4 Translucent Window. Your selected Stickies note now appears as a translucent window; you can see through this window to the screen below.
4. Start or switch to any program, and your floating Stickies note window always stays on the screen.
* NOTE: You can turn off the floating window or translucent window effect by choosing Note 4 Floating Window or Note 4 Translucent Window again.

Deleting a Note
To avoid cluttering up your screen with too many notes, you can delete the notes you no longer need. Here's how to delete a Stickies note:
1. In the Stickies program, click the close button on the Stickies note youwant to delete. A dialog appears, asking if you really want to discard the Stickies note.
2. Click Don't Save. (Or, if you click Save, you can save the contents of theStickies note as a file on your hard disk.)

Storing Notes in the Stickies Dashboard Widget
As an alternative to storing notes in the Stickies program, your Macintosh gives you the option of storing notes in a Stickies widget that appears when you run the Dashboard program. The advantage of using the Stickies widget is that you can pop it up on the screen quickly and then make it disappear again every time you open or close the Dashboard program. However, unlike notes in the Stickies program, the Stickies Dashboard widget can hold only text, not graphics.

Creating a Blank Stickies Widget in Dashboard
Before you can store text in the Stickies Dashboard widget, you must add the Stickies widget to the Dashboard screen by doing this:
1. Press F12 (or click the Dashboard icon on the Dock) to display the Dashboard widgets on your screen.
2. Click the plus button in the bottom-right corner of the screen. The Dash﷓ board widget library appears at the bottom of the screen.
3. Click the Stickies widget. (You may have to click the left or right arrows to find the Stickies widget.) A blank Stickies widget appears on the screen. (If you repeat this step, you can create several blank Stickies widgets.)
4. Drag the Stickies widget anywhere on the screen.
5. Click the close button in the lower-left corner of the screen.
6. Click the Stickies widget and type any text. (If the note already contains text,you can edit that text.)
7. Press F12 to hide all Dashboard widgets.

Color Coding a Stickies Widget
You can color code a Stickies widget to identify the type of information stored on the note, which can be especially useful if you have two or more notes displayed. To color code a Stickies widget, do the following:
1. Press F12 (or click the Dashboard icon onthe Dock) to display all loaded Dashboard widgets.
2. Move the pointer over the Stickies widget youwant to color code. An i button appears in the lower-right corner of the Stickies widget.
3. Click the i button. The Stickies widget flips around to display a variety of colors.
4. Click a color and then click Done. The Stickieswidget appears in your chosen color.
5. Press F12 to hide all Dashboard widgets.

Deleting a Stickies Widget
You can delete all the text inside a Stickies note widget by highlighting the text inside the note and pressing the DELETE key. This lets you reuse that note to store new information. However, you may want to delete the Stickies note widget altogether. Here's how:
1. Press F12 (or click the Dashboard icon on the Dock) to display all Dashboard widgets.
2. Move the pointer over the Stickies widget you want to delete.
3. Press the OPTION key. A close button appears in the upper-left corner of the Stickies widget.
4. Click the close button. Your Stickies widget, along with any text stored inside, disappears.
5. Press F12 to hide all Dashboard widgets.
* NOTE: When you delete a Stickies widget, you also delete any text stored inside that Stickies widget.

Additional Ideas for Jotting Down Notes
Both the Stickies program and the Stickies Dashboard widget let you store information, but each program offers its own advantages and disadvantages, so try them both and see which one you prefer.

The Stickies Dashboard widget gives you a place to type text in an instant (after pressing F12), but you must create at least one Stickies widget in Dashboard ahead of time. If you need to jot down a phone number or directions in a hurry, just pop up the Stickies Dashboard widget, type away, and then tuck the Stickies widget out of sight again.

If you need to store more than a handful of information on a long-term basis, such as storing research notes or interesting recipes, you may prefer to use the Stickies program instead. Not only can the Stickies program hold both text and graphics, but it also offers the ability to keep a Stickies note window visible as a floating window so you can see it at all times.

Whichever program you prefer, both programs give you a place to jot down information and retrieve it quickly and easily. Instead of scribbling incomprehensible notes on a scrap of paper that you'll probably lose, you can type and store incomprehensible text in your Macintosh instead. Now you'll never have an excuse for losing information unless you forget to store it in the Stickies program or Stickies Dashboard widget in the first place. For more information, see My New Mac: 52 Simple Projects to Get You Started.


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