Microsoft Journal, as it is currently known, is a note-taking and annotation tool optimized for use with a stylus.
What is Microsoft Journal?
Microsoft is always experimenting with new initiatives under the ‘Garage’ label (like to Google’s Area 120). Journal began as a Garage project last year and has now been promoted to a fully-supported product with a slew of new features and upgrades.
You can take notes using any Windows Ink-compatible device and stylus, or draw on top of existing PDF documents (similar to one of the initial selling features of Microsoft Edge). As with a few other note applications, it may conduct actions using gestures rather than switching tools for each operation — for instance, drawing over a phrase will delete it.
The primary difference between this edition and the previous Garage version is a completely new style that adheres to the contemporary Windows 11 design language. Microsoft Journal integrates seamlessly with the rest of Windows 11, but it also works on Windows 10 with the October 2020 Update (20H2, build 19042.xxx) or later.
Microsoft Journal is capable of organizing and storing notes on its own, but you can also export them to PDF, OneDrive, or a printer. If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, the app can also access your calendar for more efficient meeting notes. Additionally, the app utilizes on-device artificial intelligence to detect headlines, lists, and other common components and index them in a searchable fashion.
The program is available for free download from the Microsoft Store. To get the most out of Journal, you’ll need a PC or input device with pen compatibility; otherwise, you’re better off with OneNote, Evernote, or another typing-focused note program. While OneNote is not going away, Microsoft said last year that it intends to remove the UWP OneNote app after the regular desktop version gains the majority of its functionality.