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
45 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
45 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
45 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
45 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
45 months ago
Very useful tip in this article - thanks!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
45 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)

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
Top Stories 74 Thumbnail

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Nears Launch, Larger Apple Watch?, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Rumors

Saturday August 28, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
August is rapidly drawing to close, which means Apple's annual iPhone launch event is right around the corner. iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 rumors are continuing to circulate, and we're also hearing about Mac updates likely coming a bit later. Apple is also finishing up work on its upcoming software updates like iOS 15, with some late-addition features starting to go live in beta while ...
iPhone 13 Wi Fi 6E feature update

Wi-Fi 6E Explained: What It Could Mean for iPhone 13 and Beyond

Monday August 2, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 is widely expected to come with Wi-Fi 6E capabilities, and while it may seem rather nuanced to the average consumer, with only improved speeds and being "up to date" in the realm of Wi-Fi technology, it's actually a fairly significant improvement, laying the groundwork for much of what we know the future holds. To truly understand Wi-Fi 6E, MacRumors sat down for an exclusive...