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.

float notes macos
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.

How to Float a Note in macOS

  1. Launch the Notes app, located in your Mac's Applications folder.

  2. Click the Create a Note button, or click an existing note in the list on the left-hand panel.

  3. In the Notes menu bar, select Window -> Float Selected Note.

float a note macos notes
The note will be automatically given its own window, which will remain above other open application windows. To turn off the floating behavior but retain the note's separate window, simply click inside the note's window and again select Window -> Float Selected Note to untick the option in the menu bar.

You can have as many note windows open as you want – just double-click each note in your Notes list and they'll pop up separately on the screen. If you've selected several in the list by holding down the Command key, simply double-click one to open them all at once. You can then position them on the screen and control which ones float using the same menu bar option outlined above.

If you close Apple Notes, the number and position of your open note windows will be remembered the next time you launch the app, as well as which ones you've opted to float on top of other open windows. Just remember that your floating notes can't share the same screen as another app that's in fullscreen mode.

Tag: Notes

Top Rated Comments

penguintheft Avatar
49 months ago
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."
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
plexdk Avatar
49 months ago
Floating notes was a feature available even in Windows 98!
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..
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tch999 Avatar
49 months ago
A double click on the note in the menu also makes it pop out of the main window.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
timmyh Avatar
49 months ago
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.



For anyone with the patience, I found this neat guide to getting Afloat working again in macOS (although I can't vouch for it): http://www.perfectlyrandom.org/2016/10/23/always-on-top-in-macos-sierra/

Attachment Image
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Osamede Avatar
49 months ago
Very useful tip in this article - thanks!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
49 months ago
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).
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
top stories 2022jan22

Top Stories: Spring Apple Event Rumors, Apple Opposes Sideloading, and More

Saturday January 22, 2022 6:00 am PST by
As we roll into the latter half of January, we're starting to hear more about a potential spring Apple event, which is likely to take place in March or April. There are a number of potential announcements on deck, so an event would be a good opportunity for Apple to get them all out there. We've also been going back and forth on some iPhone 14 rumors, and we've taken a look at a number of...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
peloton tv workout cardio

Apple Floated as Potential Buyer of Peloton

Friday January 21, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Following months of bleak news about Peloton's "precarious state," including the revelation that it has halted production of its bikes and treadmills, Apple is being floated as a potential buyer of Peloton's troubled fitness business. Yesterday, CNBC reported that Peloton will temporarily stop production of its connected fitness products due to a "significant reduction" in consumer demand, a ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...