I’ve written previously about the sticky note application for KDE called KNotes. KNotes, despite having a very simple interface (it looks like a sticky note!), is actually very powerful. With the ability to set reminders, send emails, print and more, KNotes is more than just a simple sticky note utility. Sometimes, however, what you want is a simple solution. The sticky note is perfect for those times when you just want to slap a reminder up on the side of computer monitor so you don’t forget. And while it’s great that something powerful like KNotes exists, sometimes less is more. For those times, a solution already exists in KDE, called Plasma Notes.
Plasma Notes is a plasmoid, which is the KDE term for the large variety of widgets or gadgets that can be added to either the panel or desktop. Plasmoids can do many things, from check for new emails to reporting CPU statistics. The great thing about plasmoids is that they sit on your desktop, always in sight (except when they’re covered by other windows), can be moved around the desktop to wherever you want, and can be removed with a single click.
That sounds a little bit like the old-fashioned sticky note to me.
I gave the Plasma Notes plasmoid a quick going-over the other day, and liked what I saw. It’s simple, useful, configurable (but not too much), and is far easier to use than KNotes. It’s certainly less powerful than KNotes – a full-fledged application – but for those times you just need a single reminder to wash the car, mow the lawn or de-claw the cat, it’s fantastic.
To access the sticky notes plasmoid, first click the tiny tool box icon in the upper right of your screen. You may need to click it twice. The tool box, commonly known as the cashew, is where you access certain configuration options, as well as where you go to add new widgets to the desktop. After you’ve chosen to add a widget, a new bar will appear along the bottom of your screen. Perform a search for “notes” (or browse through until you find it). Once you have it, drag it to wherever you want the sticky note to appear on your screen.
Once there, click to close the Add widget bar, and begin using your new sticky note. It’s really simple. You have a few text formatting options: bold, italics, underline and strikethru, as well as the option to center your text, or to make it fully justified. On a per-note basis, you can also change the color of the sticky note. Besides the default yellow are eight other color choices: black, white, green, pink, red, orange, blue and transparent, which blends nicely against your desktop wallpaper.
If you go into the widget’s preferences, you’ll be able to change the text used, as well as if the note should be bold or italic by default. You can set a larger or smaller size for the font, and have two font color options (the color of the text, and the color of highlighted text), and can choose a default color for the sticky note itself. Finally, you can enable or disable automatic spell checking.
And that’s it. As I said at the top, the sticky note widget is very simple. It’s not meant to be a replacement for KNotes, nor could it be, except in the most basic uses. It’s kind of a throw-back, in a way. It makes sticky notes what they were originally, before technology made it possible to send emails whenever a sticky note – now more of a task or to-do list item – came due. The widget, on the other hand, is simple. It’s a sticky note, what more do you expect?