Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

In the Notes app in macOS, it's possible to float individual notes over other windows so that they stay visible regardless of which application is active.


This makes for a convenient way to reference an existing note while writing an essay or report, for example. It also comes in useful if you want to take notes when researching something online. Keep reading to learn how it's done.

Click here to

Article Link: How to Float Notes Over Application Windows in macOS


macrumors member
Jan 17, 2008
Vienna, Austria
I used to use a fantastic little app called Afloat for system-wide floating windows, but it stopped working around the time of El Capitan.

View attachment 759611

For anyone with the patience, I found this neat guide to getting Afloat working again in macOS:
Holy crap! Thanks for that trip down Nostalgia Lane :)

I used Afloat intensively "back then" but at some point didn't bother anymore to get SIMBL running under the newer macOS versions. Plus: as far as I remember installing and using SIMBL plug-ins led to some weird behavior and unwanted CPU/RAM usage. But this might have been resolved...?


macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2014
Hehe yeah, and Stickies (floating notes) was part of Classic macOS, back in the mid 90s :p actually I didn’t know we have the feature in Notes..

Stickies is still around. I use it, but maybe now I will switch to Notes


Contributing Editor
Mar 18, 2016
Edinburgh, UK
This article is missing a step. After selecting "Float Selected Note," the note will not automatically stay on top of all other active windows, unless you click on "Window" again, and then select "Float on Top."

That's strange. The article steps work for me on High Sierra. I don't see the 'Float on Top' menu bar option you mention either. Could you reveal the version of macOS you're using? Thanks


macrumors 604
Oct 17, 2014
  • Like
Reactions: timmyh


macrumors 68040
Aug 20, 2015
Honestly, the HUD function of Dashboard is really perfect for little stuff like this -- provided you uncheck that "Dashboard as Space" nonsense so dashboard just flashes up on top of whatever you were doing and disappears just as easily. Basically zero disruption to your workflow, perfect for something you just need to refer to or check on really quickly and don't want eating up space on your screen at all times. You do need to reclaim the F4 button from Launchpad though, unless you have an older Mac keyboard with the Dashboard icon on it (FunctionFlip works for this). Sadly Dashboard is on life support these days and every widget is super dated, but most of them still work and you can still make web clippings in Safari which is a great way to snag part of a web page for a piece of information.

All that said, floating notes is a great little feature -- I rely on Notes more and more these days and find it a very worthy replacement for Evernote (for my purposes anyway).
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Konigi and timmyh


macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2009
Really wish this worked in full screen app mode. Can't float stickies on top of full screen apps either. Would be really useful
  • Like
Reactions: Konigi


macrumors 6502
Jan 24, 2017
Montréal, Québec
It's nice, I wasn't aware we could do that. Could be nice if it was possible with iMessages too, as I sometimes want to have conversations and surfing at the same time. (But indeed, we can't expect too much of iMessages on macOS...)


macrumors regular
Oct 14, 2011
This is not actually working for me the way the article describes it. I am able to detach the note, but it does not float above other application windows. My detached not moves behind the selected window just like a normal window does.

Edit: never mind, someone above posted out that the article is missing a step, and one must select "float on top" after detaching the note.
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.