Inspiration is a powerful and fleeting thing, and when it strikes, you want to make sure that you don’t lose your ideas. For many people, the best way to ensure that their ideas aren’t lost are to note them down somewhere.
Microsoft has reimagined Journal in attempt to become your new favorite app for note-taking.
For Those Who Write and Draw Their Notes
On Wednesday, Microsoft Garage announced the release of Journal, an AI-powered notes app that combines digital tools with the traditional note-taking experience. Microsoft says that its goal was to make inking more delightful and accessible through the exploration of what new AI is capable of.
Download: Journal for Windows (Free)
Journal was developed by Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group, and is the company’s most literal take on “digital ink” software solutions so far. The app provides infinitely scrolling pages for you to write and draw on.
What sets Journal apart from other note-taking apps that allow you to write and draw, is its Ink Gestures. They allow you to easily select and erase ink instead of having to swap between modes.
“These moments seem small, but we found [that they] take you out of flow when you’re inking,” the Garage team writes.
Journal’s other features include drag and drop capabilities (for moving content between pages or to other applications), filter search for keywords, and Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) integration if you’ve got a subscription.
Microsoft’s Other Digital Ink Solutions
For some, the Microsoft Surface devices are the company’s best contribution to the digital writing experience by far. The line of touchscreen-based personal computers and interactive whiteboards has since become a favorite especially amongst writers and illustrators.
Journal is actually a re-imagined version of Microsoft’s 2001 note-taking application of the same name. It allowed you to create and organize handwritten notes and drawings and save them as the program’s proprietary JNT files or as TIFF files.
But the summer 2016 “Anniversary Update” for Windows 10 removed Journal from Windows entirely. Microsoft found success in continuing support for OneNote instead, which had all of Journal’s functionalities and more.
PowerPoint, Word, and Excel were eventually updated with Ink Replay, a function added to the Draw tab that allowed you to replay ink strokes as they were drawn to show a thought process.
Your Writing Experience, Now Supported by AI
Microsoft Journal takes the best from its 2001 app and combines it with new functions best suited to today’s digital workspaces. At the same time, its scrolling nature makes it distinct from the infinite canvas approach of Microsoft Whiteboard.
As it is a Garage project, Microsoft writes that you may find bugs, gaps in features, or ink recognition problems. If you encounter any of issues, you can click Report a Problem in the settings.