At work, I have made a habit of entering notes during phone calls into RedNotebook. When needed, I could transfer those notes into our Help Desk ticketing system.
I recently switched to a similar application called CherryTree. It is similar to RedNotebook in that I can press the F8 key to create or display a notes window for today. It uses a Year / Month / Day hierarchy when creating notes. I can then do a Find for any text in all notes. An example is below.
In particular, I found two freeware programs that are quite interesting. They are called PNotes and Stickies. Both programs are very similar in function. The idea of having lots of Notes onscreen never was the most appealing to me, BUT, (yes capital letters are justified) these sticky notes can be pinned to a program, to a webpage or to a document. This makes them incredibly easier to work with and much more powerful.
By pinning (PNotes) or attaching (Stickies) a note, it will only appear when that program, webpage or document is active. In one simple stroke of genius, managing dozens of sticky notes is simple and they don't clutter valuable screen space. Now, I can make notes for any document I'm working on, any user's ticket I have in my work queue, etc. I can save status info or a To Do list for each thing I am working with.
PNotes comes in two versions: 1) a lighter, older version that hasn't been updated in three and a half years and 2) an updated version that requires .NET Framework. Well, yuck, .NET is a very capable Microsoft software library, but, it is also quite bloated for use with sticky notes. So, I checked PNotes, the older version, and found it also let's users create Diary notes by pressing Ctrl-Alt-D. This either creates a new Diary note for today or displays it. It also groups together Diary notes automatically. See below.
Now, once again, my major complaint with this program is having to have .NET 4 installed. Several times a year, Microsoft pushes out security updates for .NET and they are large. So, in order to try and avoid .NET, I moved on to trying Stickies 9.0c by Zhorn Software.
Stickies is very small at less than 2 megabytes with no .NET required. Whereas PNotes has a notes Control Panel, Stickies has a Manage stickies window as shown below.
- Desktop - notes which are always displayed.
- Attached - notes which are displayed whenever the program or document they are attached to is visible (same as Pinned in PNotes).
- Sleeping - notes that will be visible after their sleep timer hits zero.
- Recurring - notes that displayed or recreated at periodic intervals.
- Closed - notes that were recently hidden and will eventually be deleted automatically.
- Stored - notes that are permanently stored for future reference.
- Alarms - you can also set any note to alarm at a specific time and sleep until the alarm goes off.
Attaching a note is very easy and allows it to be displayed whenever a certain program or document is being worked on. For example, when my page on Freeware Files is visible in my browser, the corresponding sticky note is displayed.
Stickies has another strong feature, Skins, which allow for toolbars inside individual notes. The note below left is the default skin, the other two notes use different skins. As you can see they have toolbars for formatting text and other common functions which is very handy indeed.
- Allows attaching notes to not only specific webpages or documents, but, also to any application using wildcards.
- Has additional skins which are quite functional for formatting notes.
- Has a Manager that allows for quick searching on all notes.
- Is small and doesn't require .NET to run.
- Has a daily Diary function like PNotes, CherryTree and RedNotebook. OOPS, it doesn't have this one feature.
What to do, just use Stickies to attach notes to documents to help track my work and also use CherryTree for everything else or what?
Having been writing small scripts and a couple of large applications in AutoHotkey, over the course of a year or so, I thought I would see if I could add this functionality to Stickies.
Another minor complaint with Stickies is that it could use more hotkeys for displaying notes and managing them. After much finagling, I managed to create hotstrings or short commands that will create a Diary sticky for today, add another entry to it, search other stickies, etc. The commands that are available in what I call Stickies Diary Assistant are below. They may be typed into most applications without bothering what you are working on or you can use the program's right-click menu. You can also right-click on the program icon to add an entry to today's Diary sticky. The program will load Stickies for you if it is not running. If you haven't installed Stickies then click on the earlier link for it. AutoHotkey is not required to run Stickies Diary Assistant. Options are below:
Even if you don't need a Diary feature, you should try out these stickies applications for yourself. They are simply a great way to keep tabs on documents, websites and tasks you have to work on.