Microsoft Releases Journal, Its “Ink-Targeted” Notes App

The new note-taking app from Microsoft promises a color experience that is superior to AI.

One of the promotional graphics for Microsoft Journal

Inspiration is a powerful and fleeting thing, and when it gets noticed you want to make sure you don't lose your ideas. For many people, the best way to make sure their ideas are not lost is to write them down somewhere.

Microsoft has reimagined Journal to become your new favorite note-taking app.

For those who write and draw their notes

On Wednesday, Microsoft Garage announced the release of Journal, an AI-powered note-taking app that combines digital tools with the traditional note-taking experience. Microsoft says its goal has been to make coloring easier and more accessible by researching the possibilities of the new AI.

Download: Journal for Windows (free)

The Journal was developed by the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group and is the most literal version of "digital ink" software solutions to date. The app offers an infinite number of scrolling pages for writing and drawing.

What sets Journal apart from other note-taking apps that let you write and draw is its Ink gestures. They allow you to easily select and erase ink instead of switching between modes.

"Those moments seem small, but we've found that when you are inking them, they get you out of hand," writes the Garage team.

Other functions of the journal include drag and drop functions (for moving content between pages or into other applications), filter search for keywords and the integration of Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) if you have a subscription.

Office 365 tools productivity

Other Microsoft digital ink solutions

For some, the Microsoft Surface devices are by far the company's best contribution to digital writing. The range of touchscreen-based PCs and interactive whiteboards has since become a favorite, especially with writers and illustrators.

A Microsoft Surface device and a pen

Journal is a revised version of Microsoft's note-taking application of the same name from 2001. You could create and organize handwritten notes and drawings, and save them as the program's proprietary JNT files or as TIFF files.

With the "Anniversary Update" for Windows 10 in summer 2016, however, Journal was completely removed from Windows. Microsoft has been successful in continuing to support OneNote, which has all of the features of Journal and more.

PowerPoint, Word and Excel were eventually updated with it Ink rendering, a feature added to the To draw Tab where you can play back strokes of ink as they are drawn to show a thought process.

Your writing experience, now powered by AI

Microsoft Journal takes the best of its 2001 app and combines it with new features best suited for today's digital workspaces. At the same time, its scrolling distinguishes it from Microsoft Whiteboard's infinite canvas approach.

Related topics: Getting started with Microsoft Whiteboard

Since this is a garage project, Microsoft writes that there may be errors, gaps in functionality, or problems with ink detection. If you encounter any of the problems, you can click To report a problem in the settings.

Best-Different-Notice-Apps-Features-Size changed

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About the author

Jessibelle Garcia
(68 articles published)

Most days, Jessibelle is curled up under a weighted blanket in a cozy Alberta apartment. She is a freelance writer who loves digital art, video games, and Gothic fashion.

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