Microsoft’s pen-first notetaking app Journal graduates from a Garage project into a fully supported app

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Microsoft has elevated its Garage project Journal, a notetaking app designed for styluses and pens, into a full-fledged product now called Microsoft Journal, the company announced Tuesday.

The app offers “a delightful freeform personal notetaking experience that lets you take notes and reason through ink,” Microsoft’s Renee Malone said in a blog post. The app lets you write and draw like many other notetaking apps, but it also supports gestures like scratching out words to erase them and circling words or phrases to select them. You can use the app to mark up PDFs, which is a popular thing to do, according to Malone; a pie chart in her post says that 59 percent of all page types in Journal were PDFs.

A screenshot from the Microsoft Journal app. On the left, there is a list of notes with a couple drawings. On the right, there is a collection of other documents.

A screenshot from Microsoft Journal.
Image: Microsoft

Garage is Microsoft’s brand for its more experimental products. As a fully supported product, the company “has plans to address the most common requests and a backlog of new features,” Oz Solomon, principal engineering manager of the Journal team, said in the blog post.

If you want to get an idea of what you can expect from Microsoft Journal, check out this video from when the app was first announced in February of 2021. If you want to try the app yourself, you can download it for free from the Microsoft Store. It’s compatible with both Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices.

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