Moving Stickies widget information to a new user or Mac OS X system

Here is how to move your Dashboard Stickies widget information to a new user or a new Mac OS X system. All the text you wrote on the Stickies is contained in the /Users/[your_username]/Library/Preferences/ file.

First, you’ll need to copy that file someplace visible so you can transfer it to the other location.

You can to this using Finder, or by opening a Terminal window and typing this:

cp ~/Library/Preferences/ ~/Desktop

The ~ character is the UNIX shortcut to the current user’s home folder, that is /Users/[yourusername], and this command will copy the Stickies data file to your Desktop.

Note: Before you move the file to the new user / system, make sure you have at least one Sticky note active on your destination dashboard, as the file you are going to copy will get overwritten the moment you add the first note to the dashboard.

The next file you need to copy is the, the Dashboard’s global config file. Copy the plist to your Desktop as well:

cp ~/Library/Preferences/ ~/Desktop

Now move the files to the other computer, and put them back into the ~/Library/Preferences/ folder. Don’t rush to your Dashboard yet though, as the changes are not immediate and you need to reload the Dashboard, and the easiest way to do that is to restart the Dock.

Type the following in your Terminal window:

killall Dock

Now your Dashboard should load and show your old Stickies with your texts.


2 thoughts on “Moving Stickies widget information to a new user or Mac OS X system

  1. Hi Vahan,

    I have been trying to restore the info on my stickies widget from a backup. I can’t see the file (, also with hidden files shown, but your command works and I get the file on my desktop, even though I can’t see the blasted thing in finder. However from my backup (where my data is), I tried copying the exact path of the /library/preferences… with your command but it says no file found. How can I find this file on my backup, or copy it and get my data back?


    • Hi David,

      First, it’s not /library/preferences, it’s ~/Library/Preferences/

      Make sure you first create the same number of stickies on your new system’s dashboard that you had on the old one. Then copy over the plist, and restart the Dock.

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