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Plumbago is Microsoft's new Windows 10 app that aims to replace paper notebooks

Microsoft's latest in-house app for Windows 10 from its Garage division is called Plumbago, and the company hopes it might take the place of paper notebooks. The app has been designed specifically for people who love handwriting and drawing, with technology that smooths out the strokes when using a stylus like the Surface Pen on a Surface tablet.

Microsoft says:

Plumbago, which is Latin for graphite – all pencils have graphite in them – makes writing more consistent digitally, based on your previous strokes, as you write in the notebook. While it won't instantly transform your handwriting, it will look more consistent across a notebook. This technology is called handwriting beautification, a technology which involves efficient stroke matching across the thousands of strokes written by a user. If matching strokes can be found, the strokes can be averaged to produce more consistent and easier-to-read handwriting.

The app allows users to switch between pen, pencil and highlighter modes for the stylus. It also offers different types of digital "paper" styles, including grids and music sheets. A movable radial menu gives users access to their handwriting options, including different colors and eraser tools.

Download Plumbago for Windows 10 (opens in new tab)

Source: Microsoft (opens in new tab)

63 Comments
  • Amazing! Not for iOS or Android!
  • I think they will first test on Windows...later make it perfect by update and then release on android OS and ios
  • "They should release for windows first!!!" says a windows central reader. "They only released first on windwos to test with us" says another windows central reader. Complain, complain, complain is the typical windows user.
  • I agree with you but it's kind of hard not to be grim these days.
  • You got balmer to thank for that. Next time he picks a fight with apple and google, have something better than a Microsoft Kin with which to fight. And I don't mean a Kin II.
  • MS has 15 or so billion dollar businesses that did not start with Satya you know! Now Apple has only one real hit: iPhone! Perhaps Google has more than that, but then again you are right that at mobile, MS has been losing the fight!
  • What about W10M?
  • Soon
  • Android doesn't have proper pen support, and presumably there are more Windows tablets with pens than iPad Pros. This just proves that Microsoft Garage goes where the market share is.
  • Ever use a Samsumg Note? Pen support in my Note 8 works great. This is only Android I have and it's really good. A little disappointed by pen support in SP2, and none in my 920 or 640. My HTC Diamond Pro on WinMobile 6.5 was last phone to have pen support.
  • why not integrate it into OneNote?
  • That's exactly what I was thinking...
  • That was my first thought, but this is from MS Garage so I guess they'll move some of the ideas/tech across to there... It seems more for informal use than for work, so makes sense to not have it as part of Office? Dunno!
  • It's a garage app...they probably want to test the waters before taking a serious call on the direction of the app...
  • Was thinking the same here.
  • They could, but I think they want to present this as more of an artsy tool, where OneNote is more business/practical.
  • It will be integrated, they use garage to test the waters for new ideas and algorithms. Tossup (another garage app) is already being used to improve outlook for example.
  • Courier?
  • That was my first thought too when I saw the screenshots.
  • Courier - I'd love a book like device with pen!
  • Wow..nice..
  • Will give this a spin on my SP3 and see what output it has and if it can work with OneNote in any way. OK it looks like they are ahead of us, when you look at the app page in the store it says it can work with both Word and OneNote ;-)
  • Actually, it's not a Windows 10 app but a Windows 8.1 app.
  • Sounds pretty cool! Now if they could just bring back some of the touch guestures from 8 into 10.
  • Why not just roll this into One Note instead of creating a whole new app to do the same thing.? Keep a notebook. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is what they should be doing. Develop for Windows 10 first. If that idea, concept is successful port to other platforms. Not the other way round. Hope they send this memo to all their garage teams. 
  • Except that this one has not even been developed for Windows 10 but for Windows 8
  • Yep, because there are many more Windows computers with proper pens than iPad Pros, and Android doesn't have any yet. Microsoft Garage goes where the most market share for their particular idea is, agnostic to platform preferences.
  • So basically......one note
  • One Note for artists. They're trying to appeal to a different crowd.
  • They better just be doing this for proof of concept. It directly competes with their own OneNote. Integrate it instead!!!
  • Exactly! They should just bring all those features to OneNote.
  • Catchy name.
  • They can integrate this with edge.
  • Looks promising. I'll test it later
  • my guess is this will be the app used to test the new pen tech that can sense colors....  
  • Sounds like a mythical creature designed to scare children, a la Babadook and Wendigo. The pen being mightier than the sword, the name works just fine.
  • Why are they not making universal apps them self, i know it wont make sence at xbox but they need to prove to the public (othet dev.) that it is the way to go. I assume a universal would work for win10m. Thereby my comment.
  • Would also like to see MS "dogfood" more often. I took a couple steps towards trying to answer the "why" and was surprised. I had assumed that inking was possible in OneNote for W10M but I'd never tried. It doesn't actually seem to exist, when I gave it a shot with just a finger (on Lumia1520). I recall the rumors that 950/XL were expected to ship with stylus, and (assuming that truly was a goal initially) I wonder now if that was dropped due to hardware or software challenges, or both.
    **Can readers share any current use case scenario for a stylus in Win10Mobile?**
  • Cool.
  • Just naming "Graphite" would be better. No further explanations would be necessary.
  • They can't because graphite is far too common word and therefore couldnt be trademarked as a product or company name later on. It'd be like trying to trademark simply the word "Oxygen" or "Rock" or "You're Fired"...you can't because those are ubiquitous words everyone uses. You'd need to make it more unique such as "Graphite: Digital Notbook" or "The Oxygen Yard" or "Rock Cookware". FYI I'm speaking from experience; I just went through the trademark approval process in Canada and the US last year.
  • Very good point, indeed.
  • Bloody hell Windows first , they must of made a mistake unless Google and Ios has stopped giving them a back hander
  • Can you name any Android tablets with real pen support?
  • Would love to see this integrated with one note and for mobile.
  • Why would the feature set here not be incorporated into OneNote? Instead of OneNote now you need TwoNote apps? Come on put it all into One Note...
  • It is a surprise that it is Windows First.
  • Are there any other platforms with real pen support that have a larger market share?
  • Would love if Garage apps included a developer vlog of some sort. Seems like it would be great way to showcase their dev tools and such, and the comments here always show that users really want to know what's involved. E.g., I'd really like to hear the devs explain what the challenges of bringing this to iOS right now are, or watch part of that process.
    I wouldn't expect this on mainstream MS apps b/c source code privacy, but Garage seems more likely.
    I'd think that sort of initiative could also help build engagement with the public in a way that would help attract new devs or even employees.
  • SKetchable is the best
  • A digital sketch book, very nice!
    Blend it into OneNote.
  • Looks similar to the Bamboo app
  • Like others have said this should be integrated in other apps but I hope it remains available in an app of it's own. I never liked OneNote which I find overly complicated and counter productive sometimes and this looks like a very good alternative. One thing that stroked right away though is how the paper type and number of pages is set when you create a notebook. I can see a need for more than 25 pages on some occasions, though this could be worked around by simply creating a 2nd book but I would rather start with just 1 page, add more as I need and, most importantly, be able to set a paper type by page and not just for the whole book
  • Not to be confused with lumbago which is lower back pain.
  • I'm hoping to see those early iPad Pro comparisons updated now that the Surface has a dedicated sketching app.
  • doesn't look like it's compatible with windows 10 - screen rotation is not working on my SP3  bravo microsoft, bravo!
  • Huh? Why not not just integrate this with OneNote for Windows 10? Pointless making 2 apps that serve the same purpose, or 1 serving a fraction of the purpose of another...
  • Cool not for iOS and android first for windows phone
  • Better simulated ink then OneNote 2016... Hopefully this garage project will bring something to the next version of Onenote..
  • They should be included by default in all windows devices replacing the old paint program and notepad maybe
  • Doesn't run at all, on the Surface 3 :/
  • It runs on my Surface 3 but taking notes is very laggy, not suitable, will stick with OneNote