Microsoft's Journal app has a new name and a fresh look for Windows 11

Microsoft Journal
Microsoft Journal (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Journal, a Microsoft Garage project, is now called Microsoft Journal.
  • Microsoft Journal has graduated from the Microsoft Garage and is now a supported Microsoft application.
  • The app focuses on delivering a freeform experience for notetaking and annotation.

The Journal app has left the Microsoft Garage and is officially a supported Microsoft app. Along with its status change, the app has a new name and a refreshed look. Now known as Microsoft Journal, the notetaking application has a clear roadmap and will continue to be developed. Microsoft's Renee Malone announced the news.

Microsoft Journal has a page-based canvas for notetaking. It uses artificial intelligence to identify gestures and other inputs, such as underlining content to turn text into a heading. Notably, the AI runs on-device rather than having to go through the cloud.

In addition to its new name, Microsoft Journal has a revamped look that aligns with Windows 11. The new version of the app will roll out gradually between April 5 and April 8, 2022.

The Microsoft Garage allows developers to work out concepts for applications. Projects can be refined and workshopped based on user feedback, often providing insight about users. Some projects are retired. Others, such as Journal, graduate into full-fledged Microsoft apps.

Malone notes some of the lessons learned during the incubation period of Journal in the Microsoft Garage. The app allows users to swap between inking and selecting content, but the developers of Journal weren't sure which form of interaction people would prefer to switch between modes. The team found that using a tap, lasso, smart ink cue, and barrel button on a pen all proved popular. This insight helped shape Microsoft Journal.

It was also discovered that many people liked using the app to mark documents. Over half of all pages created in Journal were imported from PDFs.

Microsoft Journal is available for free through the Microsoft Store and works on both Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Microsoft Journal

Microsoft Journal

Microsoft Journal is a notetaking application that focuses on the inking experience. It uses artificial intelligence and connects to Microsoft 365.

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