Microsoft Garage app Journal just received a big update to improve notetaking

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What you need to know

  • The Journal app from Microsoft Garage recently received several new features.
  • A recent update improves the instant lasso feature and ink-to-text recognition.
  • Journal is an ink-first app built for taking notes.

Journal, a Microsoft Garage project, received an update with several new features this week. The update improves the instant lasso feature and ink-to-text recognition. It also adds support for importing password-protected PDFs and writing in different languages. Journal now has a music staff page style as well. The team behind the Journal app shows off the app's new features in a blog post (opens in new tab).

Here's everything that's new for Journal:

  • New music staff page style
  • Improved instant lasso
  • Ability to save pen states from the Pen Settings menu
  • Ability to multi-select by holding the pen side button or Ctrl key while tapping
  • Support writing in different languages (change in the Page Menu or Settings)
  • Support for importing a copy of a password-protected PDF
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements

Microsoft Journal Music Staff Pages

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The lasso tool has been improved to identify the difference between circling an item to draw something and circling an item to select it. For example, if you're writing a bulleted list and circle each number, the app shouldn't select them. If you slow down your stroke, the app will realize that you're trying to select an item.

You can also multi-select content within the Journal app following its recent update. If you hold CTRL and tap an item, you can select multiple pieces from your notes.

The Journal team highlights that the app now uses Microsoft's latest ink-to-text technology. This should improve the accuracy of converting written notes into text.

In addition to its new features, the app includes some bug fixes:

  • Improved handling of opening and saving journals, especially on network drives
  • Headers and stars are detected more accurately
  • Improved performance of ink

You can grab the latest update for Journal through the Microsoft Store.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

5 Comments
  • I wish it worked on the Duo and synced. Would be perfect.
  • I second the motion!
  • When this app first came out I said it should have been integrated into Onenote's inking/pen mode. Duo would have had it then.
  • I'm glad MS is still serious about improving Journal, and inking in general. Some of this stuff is quite exciting. In the case of Journal, the AI stuff is particularly interesting. In OneNote, you can type "* ..." and it recognizes your intent to start a bulleted list. But doing that with ink is probably harder, a machine vision problem. I'm sure there are lots of pitfalls but as this develops digital inking can move way beyond real pen and ink.
  • This is good news. We need more coverage of Microsoft Garage apps.