How to change the default notes app in Windows 10

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.

If you have a Windows computer, you will know very well that notepads are those documents that we can easily create and do not need any other software to read them, .txt files that open automatically with the Windows notepad. But you don’t necessarily have to use this but you can change Windows 10 default notes app if you have an alternative that you like more or that is more comfortable or more complete than the one that already comes.

The first thing to keep in mind is that we are talking about the .txt files that we see on our computer and not, in general, about any document that we have saved. It will depend on the extension whether it is PDF or .doc, for example, or .docx. In the case of .txt that we have in Windows 10, they always open automatically with Microsoft’s notepad but we can change it.

Change the default program

It is very easy to change the default notebook when it comes to opening .txt format documents. It’s fast and will only take a few seconds.

There are two options to do it:

  • Create a text document on your computer desktop
  • Right click on it
  • Click on Open with …
  • Choose the application you want to use to open the .txt document
  • Tap on “Always use this app to open the .txt files “
  • Confirm the process with OK in the pop-up window

Default notes app

You can also follow another route from the settings and configuration of Windows.

  • Open the section Windows Settings from the Start menu
  • Tap on Applications
  • Go to the menu that we will find on the left side of the screen
    • Applications and Features
    • Default apps
    • Offline maps
    • Website applications
    • Video playback
    • Start
  • Choose “Default applications” in that menu
  • Tap on the option “Choose default applications by file type”
  • You will see all file types in the left column
  • You will see the different applications in the column on the right
  • Scroll for several seconds until you find .txt
  • Tap on “Notepad”
  • A pop-up window will open with some alternatives
  • Choose the default application you want to replace it with

windows notes

This will automatically become the default application for reading notes.

Alternatives to notepad

You can use alternatives to notepad to take notes on your computer without resorting to the default application. There are some interesting options that you can download for free on your computer.

Sticky notes

As alternatives to the Windows notepad we have the Sticky Notes, a native Windows 10 app that allows us to paste notes anywhere on the desktop to always have them visible without having to open a document. It’s like sticking the classic yellow post-its on your wall but on the screen. They have no option to edit practically anything or synchronization, it is simply to have an always visible note that you want to remember during the day or always at hand. The difference with the Windows notepad you will not have to open the notepad to read what is there but it will always be visible. You can cross out tasks already done, highlight in bold or change the color of the stickers or sticky notes you have to differentiate them.

windows notes

To open the sticky notes, just go to the Windows start menu and put “Sticky notes”. The app will appear automatically and you may need to log in. Once it is ready, just click the “+” to create a note, choose the color and write what you want. You can move it around the desktop to have it always visible and you can change the colors.

It is one of the best alternatives to the notepad because it is free, you can always have it at hand and it comes installed by default so you do not have to download anything else. In addition, you will see the notes arranged in a menu if you need not to have them stuck everywhere. You can use the search engine to find the one you want.


Evernote is one of the best options if you are looking for alternatives to the notepad because you can synchronize Windows notes with your mobile phone or with your tablet or even consult them online if you want to always have them at hand. Although not as popular as a few years ago, Evernote is compatible with almost any operating system and has a web version. By default, for free you can make to-do lists or synchronize it with several devices (two in their basic version, although if you pay with unlimited multi-device registration), it also allows you to share notebooks with one or more people or you can give permission to edit notes or notebooks if you need to do something collaborative, for example. In the free option we have a monthly upload limit of 60 MB and with maximum note sizes of 25 GB. You can also access without an Internet connection from the computer client.

It is a highly recommended option in which you can add your notes without having to create a notepad. You can organize them by folders and notebooks, upload photos or make lists, for example. It also allows you to add articles to read later or save audio recordings so it is an option.

Google Keep

Google Keep is similar to simple notes or Windows Sticky Notes but via the Internet and with the possibility of always having them in the cloud. It is a free tool that you can access as long as you have a Google account and from any device. It works in a similar way to Windows sticky notes and you can organize them by tags for Inspiration, Personal, Work … Or edit the labels to organize them according to your interest if they are from school, work, university, leisure, dating or even the shopping list if necessary. You can add text but you can also upload voice notes or upload images. In addition, you can make them colored to be able to have them visually ordered.

Google Keep

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is part of the Office park that you may have installed on your computer and is another of the best options if you want to have a comfortable and versatile notepad in Windows beyond the classic default notes. It’s free and you can get it from the Microsoft store if you don’t already have it installed. You can create sections as you need and pages within each section.

For example, organize trips in a section and within it you can put “What to see” or “What to take with you” with perfectly ordered lists. You can insert objects or images, draw on the notes. In addition, it has the option to use grid lines or rulers to draw and write being more precise and it is useful in case of making plans, diagrams or any other work. It also has cloud syncing.