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How to Reduce the Clutter Stickies App Leaves in macOS Recent Items Menu

  • The article explains how to prevent Stickies app from adding .rtfd files to the Recent Items menu in macOS 11.4, using a script and Automator app.
  • The article provides step-by-step instructions on how to create and use the script, as well as how to change the icon of Stickies app to match the script.

If you are a fan of the Stickies app on your Mac, you might have noticed that it creates a lot of clutter in your Apple menu > Recent Items list. Every time you launch Stickies, it adds a .rtfd file for each individual sticky note to the list, making it hard to find other recent documents you might need.

This can be annoying and inefficient, especially if you have a lot of sticky notes on your desktop. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent Stickies from populating your Recent Items menu, without losing any functionality or data. In this article, we will show you how to do it in a few simple steps.

How to Reduce the Clutter Stickies App Leaves in macOS Recent Items Menu

Why Does Stickies App Create .rtfd Files?

The Stickies app is a built-in application on macOS that allows you to create and manage virtual sticky notes on your desktop. You can use them to jot down quick notes, reminders, lists, or anything else you want.

The Stickies app stores each sticky note as a .rtfd file in a hidden folder called ~/Library/StickiesDatabase. The .rtfd format stands for Rich Text Format Directory, which is a bundle of files that contains both text and media elements, such as images or sounds.

The reason why Stickies app creates .rtfd files is to preserve the formatting and content of each sticky note, such as font, color, size, position, and attachments. This way, you can customize your sticky notes to suit your preferences and needs.

However, the downside of this approach is that every time you launch Stickies, it opens all the .rtfd files in the background, and adds them to the Recent Items list in the Apple menu. This can quickly fill up the list with unwanted entries, making it harder to access other recent documents or applications.

How to Stop Stickies App from Cluttering Your Recent Items Menu

The solution to this problem is to change the way Stickies app opens the .rtfd files. Instead of opening them directly, we can use a script that opens them indirectly, using a command-line tool called open. This way, the .rtfd files will not appear in the Recent Items menu, but they will still be accessible by the Stickies app.

Here are the steps to implement this solution:

  1. Open the Automator app on your Mac. You can find it in the Applications folder or use Spotlight to search for it.
  2. In the Automator app, choose File > New from the menu bar.
  3. In the Choose a type for your document window, select Application and click Choose.
  4. In the Library pane on the left, search for Run Shell Script and drag it to the workflow area on the right.
  5. In the Run Shell Script action, change the Shell option from /bin/bash to /bin/zsh.
  6. In the same action, paste the following code:
    # Get all .rtfd files in ~/Library/StickiesDatabase
    # Loop through each file and open it indirectly using open command
    for file in $files; do
      open -g -a /System/Applications/ "$file"
  7. Save your Automator application as (or any name you like) in a convenient location, such as your Applications folder or Desktop.
  8. Quit Automator and locate your file.
  9. Right-click on the file and choose Get Info from the context menu.
  10. In the Info window, click on the icon at the top left corner and press Command + C to copy it.
  11. Go to /System/Applications and find
  12. Right-click on and choose Get Info from the context menu.
  13. In the Info window, click on the icon at the top left corner and press Command + V to paste the icon from This will change the icon of to match
  14. Close both Info windows and drag to your Dock or Launchpad for easy access.

That’s it! You have successfully created a script that opens all your sticky notes without cluttering your Recent Items menu. From now on, whenever you want to use Stickies app, just launch instead of You will see all your sticky notes on your desktop as usual, but they will not appear in your Recent Items list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers related to this topic:

Question: Will this solution affect my existing sticky notes or data?

Answer: No, this solution will not affect your existing sticky notes or data in any way. It only changes the way Stickies app opens the .rtfd files, but it does not modify or delete them. You can still edit, delete, or create new sticky notes as you normally would.

Question: Will this solution work on older versions of macOS?

Answer: This solution should work on any version of macOS that supports the Stickies app and the Automator app. However, the path to the Stickies app may vary depending on your macOS version. For example, on macOS Catalina or earlier, the path is /Applications/ instead of /System/Applications/ You may need to adjust the code and the icon accordingly.

Question: How can I undo this solution if I want to revert to the original behavior?

Answer: If you want to undo this solution and restore the original behavior of Stickies app, you can follow these steps:

  1. Delete from your Dock or Launchpad.
  2. Go to /System/Applications and find
  3. Right-click on and choose Get Info from the context menu.
  4. In the Info window, click on the icon at the top left corner and press Delete to remove the custom icon.
  5. Close the Info window and drag to your Dock or Launchpad for easy access.


We hope this article helped you learn how to reduce the clutter Stickies app leaves in your macOS 11.4 Apple menu > Recent Items list. By using a simple script and Automator app, you can open all your sticky notes without adding them to the Recent Items menu, making it easier to find other recent documents or applications.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues who might benefit from it. Also, feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or feedback. Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. The author and the publisher are not affiliated with Apple Inc. or any of its products or services. The author and the publisher are not responsible for any errors, omissions, damages, or losses that may result from the use of the information or solutions provided in this article. The user is solely responsible for verifying the accuracy and suitability of the information and solutions before applying them to their own situation. The user should always backup their data before making any changes to their system. The user should also consult the official documentation and support resources from Apple Inc. before attempting any modifications or troubleshooting.

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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