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Microsoft Garage introduces a new Journal app to rethink inking

Grow and connect your ideas with M365 integration text with Journal and OneNote screenshots

Today, Microsoft is introducing a new Windows 10 app called Journal. It's a Microsoft Garage project, and if you're unfamiliar with Garage, it's a division inside of Microsoft that just sort of thinks outside of the box, trying out new things. The firm's early Android efforts were Garage projects; for example, Microsoft Launcher, which is used in the Surface Duo, was originally a Garage project called Arrow Launcher.

Journal is just what it sounds like, but what makes it different from regular note-taking apps is that it's meant to be ink-first, and it also sort of rethinks the inking experience. Indeed, the company even gives a shout-out to the very first ink-first application, also called Journal, which was released for Tablet PC way back in 2002. Obviously, we've come a long way since then.

Describing page-based canvas for Microsoft Journal

One key thing that's different about the inking experience here is that it's page-based, as opposed to the infinite scrolling that you'll get from an app like OneNote. The blog post said that this is a pain point, after it looked at the various ways that you can use the app. Content moves around a lot when you switch from portrait, to landscape, to windowed, and so on. Now, there's no more panning and zooming, as it's page-based.

Demonstration of marking up pages in Journal

And as Microsoft said, many times, this is an ink-first experience, so it's just designed from the ground up with pen usage in mind. That means that it should have natural gestures, such as crossing things out to erase. There are no mode switches in this app, so you don't have to switch between pens, or switch from a pen to an eraser, and so on. You can also select content by tapping it with your finger or by circling it, and then you can move it around.

Also, this is all powered by AI, so it's going to be automatically categorizing the things that you write in the app. That also means that it's searchable and you can apply filters.

The full name of the app is Journal, a Microsoft Garage project, and it's available from the Microsoft Store now. Interestingly, there's no mention of an iPadOS or Android version.

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