55 replies on How to Create Basic Notes & Drawings with Windows Journal

  1. kzinti1 says:

    A very nice, long article.
    Now, what’s “Windows Journal” used for? Since there are so many things you have to go through to use it, I assume there is actually a reason for doing so?

    • Marte says:

      You don’t really have to go through “so many things” to use it. 🙂 I illustrated every step, so it may look like a lot at first glance. In fact, as I mentioned, when you open up Windows Journal it’s ready to go.

      It’s just a nice, built-in way to take advantage of the kinds of devices that let you hand-write instead of type (tablet computer, touchscreen computer, tablet/pen input device). That’s a small percentage of the market right now, but those devices are becoming more popular as time goes on, and more available. When I sold computers years ago, tablets were bulky, horrendously expensive and were only used for high-end graphics work. Now you can buy a good one for less than $100 and you can use it for a lot more than graphics. In fact, I use the Wacom tablet I recently purchased as my everyday input device, replacing the trackball that stressed out my arm.

  2. kzinti1 says:

    Thank you. I am waiting for the ASUS Transformer (silly name but it appears to be the best tablet to buy) to become available later this month or early May.
    I never knew what Windows Journal actually did. Every time MicroSoft, or anyone else, mentions a program it’s immediately taken as read that everyone is completely familiar with what it is, what it’s for and why it should be used.
    I never thought of using a handwriting recognition program. Besides despising having to sign my name on a handwriting device, such as with various delivery services and even the VA Pharmacy, I certainly never considered using anything like this. It never crossed my mind that such a thing was built into my OS.
    I would much rather type something than write it. Except shopping lists and such that would have no use on even a portable computer.
    If I thought so much of myself that I thought that I needed to write a “Journal” for other people to read I would definitely type it so my extremely self-important thoughts could never be misinterpreted by anyone, whatsoever. Fortunately, I don’t have such an overblown ego and much prefer typing since even I sometimes misread my own scribbles. I never thought much of my cursive writing and developed a combined cursive/printing style of handwriting more than half a century ago. I could read, write and correctly perform math by the time I was four. I started school in the Third Grade when I was five. Developed what turned out to be algebraic formulae at six years, before I had ever heard of Algebra, and graduated High School when I was fifteen.
    This is an example of what trash, even though completely true, that some egotist would write in some “Journal.” I’ll stick to the keyboard thank you.

    • MIke Wood says:

      Its obvious you are here to see the words you type. You add nothing to the usefulness of this page.
      I wish you good things.

  3. Marte says:

    I’m glad I was able to explain what Windows Journal does. As time goes on, I’m sure it will become ever more useful, just like other Microsoft software.

    And I know what you mean about typing. I learned to touch type back in 1967 and if I want to get something written, I almost always type even though my handwriting is still legible.

    I hope you get your Asus tablet and enjoy using it!

  4. Beverly Howard says:

    fwiw, there is a journal scenario that everyone should be aware of.

    I attempted to “print” a google map to a journal file and it failed.

    Subsequently, I was unable to open journal… got a “Journal is not Working” error message every time it was opened, and it would shut down.

    Finally, I went to the “notes” folder and deleted the maps printout journal file… that was it… if a journal file is corrupt and it is the last file attempted to open by journal, journal fails with an
    error message that indicates that journal itself has a problem.

    Also, there was an old (from xp tablet edition) command line fix;

    journal.exe /repairnotewriter

    important to remember as it has been necessary to use it on the older xpTablet Edition Journal and I assume it still works. It also re-installs the journal print driver.

    Hope that this information is of value.
    Beverly Howard

  5. Beverly Howard says:

    Question… does anyone know if there is any way to import “writing” into journal… for example, taking handwritten notes on an iPhone or other pda and importing them as journal writing rather than a static image?

    Beverly Howard

  6. Nathaniel M Eubanks says:

    I am running Windows 7 Ultimate on a HP Pavilion dv6; I have a Bamboo Pen writing pad with drivers installed, but cannot find Windows Journal on my computer. Searching for Journal only finds the Journal Viewer. My last laptop was a tablet PC & I used Journal extensively. I want to be able to use it here. Any suggestions on how to get Journal on my new computer? Everything I read says it should already be on it. I run 7 Pro at work & have it there (albeit without any kind of tablet pad). Very frustrating.

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      Use this guide: http://www.digitalcitizen.life/how-add-or-remove-unwanted-windows-features-programs-or-apps

      and add the Tablet PC Components feature. Once installed, Windows Journal should be available.

      • Nathaniel M Eubanks says:

        Thank you so much!!! I’ve searched MS for HOURS & found nothing! This is so simple too, just had to be shown the door…

    • Nathaniel M. Eubanks says:

      One of my instructors used a large Bamboo tablet (22″ I think) and it only worked in duplicate mode, never worked in extend mode. I think it’s a Windows issue – not programmed/intended to use only one screen as a tablet/writing screen. My best guess.

      I wish I could offer better assistance, but I only used a Bamboo writing pad, not an extended screen. Good luck figuring out the problem.

  7. Beverly Howard says:


    control panel
    programs and features
    turn windows features on/off
    check “tablet PC Components”

    Beverly Howard

  8. Beverly Howard says:

    Expression of appreciation is what keeps us coming back.

    Glad you got the need addressed,
    Beverly Howard

  9. Pamela says:

    What kind of grahics pen works or tablet works with windows journal? it may be here but I didn’t see it readily. Thanks

    • Marte Brengle says:

      I didn’t go into specifics on devices. As far as I know, any graphics pen or tablet that works with Windows will work with Windows Journal. I use a Wacom Bamboo tablet and stylus.

  10. Beverly Howard says:

    Any stylus input tablet (such as the bamboo) that allows using a stylus as a mouse will work.

    As for stylus, you have to have a windows device that has touchscreen input for a stylus on screen to work, and the stylus must be compatible with the specific screen type.

    You can see how journal input works by using your mouse to draw or write on a journal page.

    Beverly Howard

  11. Lionel Raymon says:

    I just purchased a Lenovo x230 tablet with Windows 7 professional and 64-bit system. Today was my first use of it in a classroom. I have been using Journal since 2006 first on two different Gateways, and then on Fujitsu T900 series. But always on a 32 bit system. I would like to know if anyone has experienced two issues: first when extending your screen to another, I find that the pen input is perfect for writing but has lost its calibration for erasing or for selecting! (When you select the eraser, what is erased is over an inch away from where you are pointing, while the pen still writes normally). I must tell you that when I plug the Fujitsu in, the problem does not occur and seems to be associated with the 64-bit platform.
    The second issue occurred today in class, 4 times in a 6 hour period. The program stopped responding to pen inputs. It freezes as if crashing. Yet, I can use the mouse input to close or select, just not the pen. I had to reboot the computer to regain access to the pen. Is this associated with the 64-bit platform? I have not experienced this with the previous computers and a quick internet search brought me to this site.
    Thanks for helping me!
    Lionel Raymon

    • Marte Brengle says:

      I’m sorry that I have not personally used a 64 bit system yet (although that will change sometime in the not too distant future) so I can’t offer any advice on this. I hope some of our other readers will have thoughts on the question.

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      This is does not sound like a problem related to the 64-bit version of Windows 7. It works just as well as the 32-bit and most times it works better.

      It sounds like you are having some issues with drivers.

  12. ga says:

    Hello, What should be used as pen or input device? With mouse it is difficult to write.
    Also is such thing available for android, plz give details.

    • Marte Brengle says:

      The best thing to use is something like a Wacom tablet. It is possible to do it with a mouse, but as you noticed, it’s not easy. And not all the features are available if there is no pen device present. I do not know what’s out there for Android; you might browse the app store for “handwriting input.”

  13. Beverly Howard says:

    Check the computer surplus stores for inexpensive pen input tablets… as mentioned, wacom is best but they are pricy.

    Most of the Android “Handwriting” apps do not recognize handwriting. Search for “Handwriting Recognition” …I found only two… and suspect that the Phat app will be better but it’s $10.

    Evernote has handwriting recognition, but it may be limited to the “pro” version as well… they don’t say much about it which probably has meaning.

    Not sure what your android input needs are, but I recommend using the google voice input if that is an option… excellent recognition at the moment although it does not have things such as commands.

    Hope that this information is of value.
    Beverly Howard

  14. april says:

    Can I just type in the Windows journal or do I have to pen it?

  15. john says:

    how can i import a picture of my handwritten notes into window journal ?

  16. Anon says:

    I accidentally clicked “No” when I was asked to install the printer drive. Now what?

  17. Beverly Howard says:

    >> install the printer drive

  18. Beverly Howard says:

    In Journal, Tools/Install…

  19. Sissy says:

    I put a background picture in my notes, but when I print them I just get a white background. Same if I just change the page color – it still prints white. Do you know how to make it print the background?
    (FWIW, I tried exporting as a tif – it looked awful, all B/W and blurry.)

    • Nathaniel M. Eubanks says:

      It’s been a while since I’ve done this but you have to set the desired image as the page background.

    • Marte Brengle says:

      One other thing to check is if you have the most recent driver for your printer. If your driver is out of date it can sometimes cause problems.

      • Sissy says:

        Thanks for the ideas. I did check the drivers and I’ve tried it on 3 different printers — one physical and 2 PDF printers. None of them will print the background image.
        I should add that I’m using Journal in XP.

        • Marte Brengle says:

          I’m sorry, I haven’t been able to find any way to do what you want. You might want to ask for help on the Microsoft site and see if they can find the answer for you.

  20. Rajiv says:

    I like the idea of keeping a handwritten digital diary, so I purchased a Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch. One problem I have when using Windows Journal is that while writing a context menu often pops up preventing me from completing what I was to write. Is this a setting problem or am I doing something wrong ? Second, are there better diary programs where a continuous record of day to day entries can be maintained using a digital pen. Thanks in anticipation.

    • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

      Try OneNote from Microsoft. It is free and it is designed for note taking, including with a digital pen. We use it regularly and it is awesome.

      • Rajiv says:

        Thanks Ciprian. I agree, OneNote is great. Perhaps I should open a tab or file (?) for diary entries. It would appear to be the best option.

        • Ciprian Adrian Rusen says:

          Use a notebook for your diary entries and organize them in tabs and pages as it is most logical/intuitive for you.

  21. Beverly Howard says:

    I don’t think the problem is with Journal, as it sounds like what is happening is that you are triggering the menu which will happen in any software.

    Need more info such as a screenshot of the menu to confirm…

    If it is the you could be accidentally pressing one of the other pen buttons.

    Another possibility is that you are leaving the tip on the screen at the same location when you pause or stop writing… I seem to remember that that is a rightclick option.

    Hope that this information helps… in any case, please respond when you find that it is right or wrong or when you find a solution.

    Beverly Howard
    Beverly Howard

    • Rajiv says:

      Beverly you are right, it’s my way of writing which I am striving to improve – to maintain the flow, and not cause an accidental click or right click. This issue understandably occurs in OneNote too. Both programs are good, though I shall be sticking to OneNote for it’s versatility. Thanks.

  22. Beverly Howard says:

    The interface has become too much of a pain to respond…

    Also, using carats in posts removes content and rewrites responses…

    “If it is the you could be accidentally pressing one of the other pen buttons.”

    was typed something similar to;

    “You could be accidentally activating the rightclick menu.”

    There is no way to edit the original post to make it a clear response.

    and captcha for advertising… how really disgusting that the _potential_ actions of malicious robo posters make it mandatory for legitimate posters to view advertisements, deal with flash issues… and otherwise waste time in order to try to help others.

    “No good deed goes unpunished”

    fwiw, I, for one won’t participate here any more.

    Very sincerely,
    Beverly Howard

  23. Elaine says:

    Can I view win.jnt on my iPad? I use my two tablet PCs to write the windows journal notes at work, but would like to view the notes that I have stored on the cloud on iPad.
    Love win.jnt. Have been using it since 2003.

  24. Beverly Howard says:

    I have never heard of any options for iPad or other mobile os.

    I think your only option will be to use “export as” and that’s a not very good “read only” option.

    Base on your question, I took a look at the “OneNote” app and it offered no option to open jnt files.

    Another option would be to print the jnt files to pdf files and access those.

    fwiw to whomever this page belongs to, this will be the last response I post on this site… forcing responders to click to read ads to validate their responses? captcha was bad, but this is unacceptable.

    Very sincerely,
    Beverly Howard

  25. D7000 says:

    I use windows journal everyday teaching algebra and geometry. All my lesson examples are set up so that I can project on a screen. I save at least 10-15 minutes a class period by having example problems set up ahead of time. Then I use the journal to write on while I write and explain the solutions of the problems to the class. I’m sure this has far reaching applications in the business world for any teaching that needs to be done with employees. There is no wasted time while the instructor writes…it’s all been done…..like a PowerPoint presentation but with far less work and more flexibility.

  26. Peter Steier says:

    The fact that Microsoft did not update Journal for a decade and that the files cannot be reused by other program (not even Microsoft OneNote) is an indication that Microsoft tries to let Journal die. It was just too good, without cloud and tiles.
    If you use Journal, you will probably no longer be able to access your notes in a few years.

  27. james mason says:

    Well done Microsoft – another piece of complete crap. Which brain removed idiot designed it so that it CANNOT be used with a keyboard?????

  28. hal barkow says:

    I have windows 7, Wacom Intuos, Lots of plug-ins for stylus, but can’t find “Journal”. an I make it work? I would like to write my emails instead of typing. Am disabled and vision goes all over the place when trying to read what I have typed–or any scrolling. thanks…hal

  29. msbek says:

    Hi, I want to put a three page template into journal, I save the document as a pdf then browse and save in templates however it will only replicate the first page of this document three times instead of using the three separate pages. Do you know a way to get around this, I have scoured the internet for answers but have found nothing.

  30. Maria says:

    We learn something from everyone who passes through our lives.. Some lessons are painful, some are painless.. but, all are priceless… keep inspiring people 🙂

  31. Nitin Chandar says:

    If I don’t have tablet can I use pen pad for Windows journal.if iam placing my pen on digi pad connected to my laptop when using Windows journal how can I can I keep my pen on first line.

  32. Iqbal says:

    Hey bro my you tell me how too custumize the pointer cause in journal the cursor is too small like just a dot please help me cause i use that for teach thanks in advance

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