How to Get Started with macOS Notes App

Get Started Notes Mac Share Featured

Among all of the tools Apple has provided as default apps on its iOS and macOS platforms, Notes is one of the most liked. While the note-taking space is wildly competitive, there is something about the Notes app that makes it a must-use for all macOS owners. Whether you want to create a to-do list, write down some random thoughts or upload an attachment, the Notes app is more than capable. Read on to learn some tips and tricks to mastering macOS notes app.

Starting a New Note

1. Launch the Notes app from your Dock or from the application menu inside Finder.

Get Started Notes Mac Dock

2. Click on the “New Note” button located on the top row of the app. The icon looks like a square with a pencil sticking out. Alternatively, you can go to “File -> New Note.”

Get Started Notes Mac New Note

3. Write your note. All notes save as you write, so there are no additional steps required to save your progress.

Get Started Notes Mac Test Note

Edit a Note

1. In the Notes app, click on any note in the notes list or double-click a note in the gallery.

2. Once you are in the note text, place your mouse cursor anywhere you want to edit or click where you want to add text. Proceed with any changes.

Get Started Notes Mac Edit Note

Make a Checklist

1. On a new Note, click on the “Checklist” button, which looks like a circle with a checkmark in the middle.

Get Started Notes Mac Checklist

2. Write in your first item.

Get Started Notes Mac Checklist Item

3. Press the Enter key on your keyboard and a new checklist item will appear.

Get Started Notes Mac Checklist List

4. Continue until you have added all your items.

Format Your Notes

1. Launch the Notes app and add a new note.

2. Look to the toolbar and locate the icon that looks like “Aa.” Click on it to see a drop-down menu.

Get Started Notes Mac Toolbar Aa

3. Inside this menu you have a variety of functions available including bulleted and numbered lists, title/heading/subheading text sizing and more.

Get Started Notes Mac Formatting

4. Click on any of the format options you would like to use, and they will automatically be entered into the note.

5. In addition to this, you also have a “Format” option in the Mac menu bar. You will find the same set of options as the “Aa” button as well as options to change font size, the type of font, create a table, indent text and more.

Get Started Notes Mac Menu Bar Format

Create a Folder

1. In the Notes app, you can create a folder in one of two ways.

2. At the bottom of the left side of the app, there is an option for “+ New Folder.” You can also go to “File -> New Folder.”

Get Started Notes Mac Full Shot Arrow

3. A folder will automatically appear with the option to name it. You can choose any name you want. If you want to rename the folder later, right-click on it and select “Rename folder.”

Get Started Notes Mac New Folder

4. To move notes into the new folder, select them and drag them into the new folder.

Pin a Note

1. To pin a note so it appears at the very top of your Notes list, right-click on an individual note and select “Pin Note.”

Get Started Notes Mac Pin Note

2. Alternatively, you can also click “File -> Pin Note.” Once you a pin a note, it is pinned on all of your devices including iOS and

Get Started Notes Mac File Pin

Lock a Note

1. Prior to locking a Note, you have to establish a password. Make sure to write this password down somewhere, as there is no recovery option. However, there is a hint option to help you remember. You can change the password later if you go to “Notes -> Preferences” and click on “Change Password.”

Get Started Notes Mac Change Password

2. Go to “Notes -> Preferences” and then click on “Set Password.”

3. With the password set, you can now lock notes. As is the case with the pinned notes, you can right-click on any note and lock it.

Get Started Notes Mac Lock Notes

4. Note that you cannot lock any note that is shared among multiple people or has an attachment.

Add an Attachment to Notes

1. Launch the Notes app.

2. From the desktop: drag a file into a note.

Get Started Notes Mac Drag File

3. From your Photos Library or anywhere photos are stored in Finder: drag any photo directly into a note. You can also click the Media button, select the photos you want to add to a note and then drag them into the note.

Get Started Notes Mac Drag Photos

4. From other apps (Safari, Maps, Photos): click on the Share button (square with an arrow pointing out) and then choose Notes.

Get Started Notes Mac Maps Share

5. You can also select text and images by control-clicking and then choosing “Share -> Notes.”

Get Started Notes Mac Text Share Browser

6. To see all of the Notes with attachments, click on the Attachments button from the Notes toolbar. It looks like a square with a paper click sticking out of it. Your view will then change to any Notes with an attachment.

Get Started Notes Mac All Attachments

Import Text Files into Notes

1. Importing text files into the Notes app is a great way to combine all of your loose notes and documents into one central location. The app can import any file in TXT, RTF, RTFD, HDML or Evernote XML format.

2. In the Notes app, click on “File -> Import.”

Get Started Notes Mac File Import

3. Select the files you want to import. You have the option to “Preserve the folder structure on import” so notes stay properly organized.

Get Started Notes Mac Import File

4. Click import, and all of your imported notes will appear on the left side in a newly-created Imported Notes folder.

Get Started Notes Mac File Imported Text

5. You can now rename the folder, move the imported files or add additional folders and organize the imported files to your liking.

Add Notes with Siri

1. On your Mac, say “Hey Siri, take a note.”

Get Started Notes Mac Siri Add Note

2. When Siri opens, dictate your Note, and then Siri will add it to your Notes app.

Get Started Notes Mac Siri Note Added

Add Notes to Reminders

1. Choose the Note you want to convert to a reminder.

2. Click on the Share button in the Notes toolbar. You can also click on “File -> Share.”

Get Started Notes Mac Share Button

3. Pick which note you want to add to the Reminders app.

Get Started Notes Mac Notes Reminders

4. A pop-up window will appear allowing you to edit the name or the content as well as choose which Reminders list you’d like to add the note to.

Get Started Notes Mac Share Final

5. Click on “Add” when you have finished editing, and the Note will appear in the Reminders app within a few seconds.

Get Started Notes Mac Share Final

As is the case with Apple’s default apps like Reminders and Calendar, the macOS Notes app is an easy way to stay organized. The minimal learning curve makes it simple to dive in and get going to add notes, passwords, import files and more. Did you know you can also use it for scanning documents?

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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