Try out Journal – a trial app from Microsoft

If you like scribbling or notetaking with a digital pen, you can try out Journal, a new trial app from Microsoft.

Journal is a Microsoft Garage project, meaning it’s an early trial of an app or technologies.  A Garage app might go mainstream later or, more likely, the new technologies are included with existing products.  Journal looks to us like a tester for digital pen extras that could be added to OneNote or Word.

Past Garage projects have been used to trial speech-to-text and translation technologies that are now part of Office 365 for everyone. Others stay as useful apps, like Mouse without Borders.

Install Journal

Journal is for Windows 10 only.  Get it from here to open the Microsoft Store.

It’s worth going through the Tip and Tricks starter journal because it explains some of the nifty features they are trying in Journal.  For example, underlining some text turns it into a heading.

Journal appears to be trialing digital ink features that don’t require a change of mode between ink and commands.  With Journal you can draw actions on the screen which the app interprets as having special meaning.  Office already has some options like erasing by ‘scribbling’ over text but Journal goes much further.

Drawing a star automatically converts into a Flag that can be searched for later.

Quick Headings

Make a Heading by underlining some text.  Headings then appear in the Card or summary view:


There are little selectors (Microsoft calls them Cues) left of the page, making selection a lot easier.

@mentions are possible by drawing an @ then the name of the person.

Tapping on a word will select it.  Drawing a circle around some text or drawing will select it all – like the lasso in Word’s Draw but without needing to switch modes.

Erasing can be done by drawing a wavy line over the words or there’s an Eraser on the ink toolbar.   According to the Journal team, 98% of erasing is done using the ‘scratch out’ action.

The toolbar has ink, highlight, pencil and eraser options.  The Plus icon lets you insert a PDF or image.   Undo and Redo finish up the toolbar lineup.

A digital pen with a selection button can use it to switch between pen, pencil and highlighter.

Print and Export

Journal pages can be printed (including Print to PDF, naturally) or exported to OneNote.

If you like using digital ink for notetaking, give Journal a try.  Give the Journal team feedback on what you like or dislike.  Use the Feedback Hub, give details so the team can understand and please be polite (real people will read your messages)

One mouse & keyboard with many machines – Mouse without Borders