• The app works on Windows 10 and 11 devices and will be rolled out to the users from April 5 through April 8.
  • The app is also available in Microsoft Store for direct download.

One of the largest tech companies, Microsoft, announced the launch of its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based note-taking app as a Windows app. The new app will allow users to capture their thoughts and create drawings with the help of a digital pen on Windows tablets, 2-in-1, and other pen-capable devices.

Earlier introduced as a digital note-taking app called Journal, released little more than a year ago, it is now taking a step forward from being an experimental project in Microsoft’s internal incubator, the Microsoft Garage, to a full-fledged Microsoft Windows application.

The Journal was initially introduced to provide users with an alternative to picking a pen and paper to jot down any inspirational ideas while allowing them to express themselves through writing. The company was very much familiar with the concept. It had already launched an ink-focused application called Journal back on its Tablet PC back in 2002. Henceforth, the company continued to release ‘ink’ capabilities across apps like OneNote, PowerPoint, Whiteboard, etc.

However, Journal wanted to take one step further by integrating digital ink input with AI technologies.

The team, hence, trained the app’s AI to automatically identify and categorize the things users wish to write, including headings, keywords, starred items, and even drawings. The app also places cues on the side of the page for some of the drawings and headings so that users can click to select the content and then perform other actions such as ‘move’ or ‘copy.’

AI also played a major role in improving the app’s search capabilities so that users could easily retrieve old notes, lists, sketches, and more, based on its understanding of inked notes and content. Users can also perform new moves like scratch out, and instant lasso – tools that are easily moveable without mode switches; all of this was possible with the help of AI.

Apart from AI capabilities, the Journal also features drag-and-drop support for moving content to another page or different applications. It also possesses the ability to markup PDFs, Microsoft 365 integration for meeting notes, keyword search with filters, and usage of touch to scroll through pages or tap ink to select the text, etc.

“We’re entering the era of computer-assisted reasoning, where AI speeds up the tasks people do and makes us all more productive,” said Stevie Bathiche, Technical fellow and Head of Applied Sciences at Microsoft, which talks about the app’s release from the Garage. “The Journal shows how powerful an experience is when the software anticipates your intentions. This is just the beginning. ”

While building the Garage project, the team realized that users have individual preferences regarding how they interact with content using touch and a digital pen, but they could not get clarity on the most preferred methodology. They also discovered that annotating documents was one of the biggest use cases of the Journal, where PDF imports accounted for more than half of the pages produced in the app.

The Journal app has been updated to give a look and feel like Windows 11 and it incorporates new vibrant colors and materials. The team now aims to address user feedback and the backlog of the new feature in the future.

The launch of the app is scheduled between April 5 to April 8. It can also be downloaded directly from the Microsoft Store and is compatible with Windows 10 and 11 devices.