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Onenote vs Windows Journal

Tom T

New Member
For taking handwritten notes I was playing around with Journal for the first time in quite a while. It is all about ink and is incredible for a tablet. I have OneNote as well, and it is indispensable to me, but as far as inking goes it seems it isn't quite the optimum solution. They have done an amazing job at allowing both text and ink, and about any other data or image, to be manipulated as one. I guess my interest here is if the dedicated inking app, the original killer app for tablets, Journal is still relevant.
 

hotphil

Member
I too love OneNote for all the integration with other Office apps and synchronization across devices and haven't given Journal a try. I will go and try it now, thanks.
 

Rallicat

New Member
For taking handwritten notes I was playing around with Journal for the first time in quite a while. It is all about ink and is incredible for a tablet. I have OneNote as well, and it is indispensable to me, but as far as inking goes it seems it isn't quite the optimum solution. They have done an amazing job at allowing both text and ink, and about any other data or image, to be manipulated as one. I guess my interest here is if the dedicated inking app, the original killer app for tablets, Journal is still relevant.
I guess it depends on your needs, and what you're using. If you're using an RT tablet, then you'll have the option to use either Onenote desktop, or Onenote 'Metro'. The desktop version has plenty of built in pen/ink features too (see the 'Draw' tab), and Onenote Metro was updated like -yesterday- to include more inking features. If you're using 'full' Windows 8, then you may not have the desktop version of Onenote available, depending on whether you've installed Office, and what version. The desktop version probably does still have more ink functionality compared to the Metro version, hopefully that will improve over time.

For me, the main power of Onenote is the combination of automatic syncing and 'access anywhere' approach. Being able to store and access information regardless of whether you're using desktop, metro, smartphone or web is fantastic. You could use Journal and then save the resulting files into a SkyDrive folder (assuming you have full Windows 8 and can install the SkyDrive desktop app) but you'd never be able to access those notes on phones, and you wouldn't be able to access them on the web without downloading them.

I guess if you only ever plan to use Journal as a standalone app, and don't need to sync then you'll be fine with that, however I'd really miss the 'access anywhere' capability.
 

tonyz3

New Member
I have mentioned more than once on here that Win Journal Inking is soo much better, smoother etc. Esp after you calibrate the pen, pressure sensitivity in WJ settings. Yes One note has many other advantages and is improving inking as they update and i do use it but most of the time i find myself hitting the TILE for WJ. After note taking in WJ I do usually hit file, print, send to One note. Now you can access it any where in one note ( with some limits- no search capabilities.)
 

jnjroach

Administrator
Staff member
OneNote uses Office's ink API and Journal uses Windows Native Ink API and has always been a better inking application. For pure inking Journal is great, the issue since Vista is that it doesn't handle large files effectively and tends to crash. Back during XP SP2, I was teaching full time and our courseware came as PDFs so I used to print them to Journal and did all of my Instructor Notes there. I needed to switch to PDF Annotator during Vista through Windows 7.

The Courseware we use now has the Instructor Guides as OneNote Notebooks so now I can use it, but I do miss the simplicity of Journal.
 

Arizona Willie

Active Member
I've tried the Journal using my Waco Intuos tablet for input and it doesn't work for beans. I will start writing something and it stops and I get the whirling circle that indicates it's busy and then it ERASES what I wrote. It takes several tries to get a word written. Journal on my Surface is a little bit better writing directly on the screen but I get a lot of auto erasing while I am writing. It is difficult to get it to take input and keep it.

Much as a like the idea of the Journal --- it just doesn't work very well for me ... too aggravating.

One Note is EVERYBODY'S friend :)

It seems to work as advertised without the hassle.
 

tonyz3

New Member
Journal on my Surface is a little bit better writing directly on the screen but I get a lot of auto erasing while I am writing. It is difficult to get it to take input and keep it. Much as a like the idea of the Journal --- it just doesn't work very well for me ... too aggravating.
Sounds like a setting is not rt. I would first check in tools menu and see under eraser if you have stroke checked, than check under tools, options, other, under gestures and uncheck - enable scratch out gesture. This should fix that...
 

mitchellvii

Well-Known Member
OneNote uses Office's ink API and Journal uses Windows Native Ink API and has always been a better inking application. For pure inking Journal is great, the issue since Vista is that it doesn't handle large files effectively and tends to crash. Back during XP SP2, I was teaching full time and our courseware came as PDFs so I used to print them to Journal and did all of my Instructor Notes there. I needed to switch to PDF Annotator during Vista through Windows 7.

The Courseware we use now has the Instructor Guides as OneNote Notebooks so now I can use it, but I do miss the simplicity of Journal.
This is classic example of MS's "siloing" approach to development. You have a superior inking API in a throwaway Windows app than you do in the Office Note Flagship. THIS is the kind of stuff from MS that makes me NUTS.
 

J515OP

Super Moderator
Looks very interesting. I am always amazed at the info that can be found on the MSDN Blogs and wish I had time to read through more of them. This particular article is from 2004! That really demonstrates the issues at hand and how long they have been under consideration. Only now, 9 years later, have we reached the point that the opening paragraph begins to break down.

Emphasis added:
Those of you who have a TabletPC are probably familiar with the built-in note-taking application called Journal. You're probably also confused as to how Microsoft could release two programs (OneNote and Journal), that seem to behave so differently, and don't even interoperate well. The answer to that is everyone else who does not have a TabletPC. Let me explain.

First, if you do not own a TabletPC, you are in the great majority, and you probably don't have many serious complaints about the way ink is supported in OneNote - that's because you don’t have a good way to generate the ink in the first place (yes, you can use an external digitizing tablet, or a mouse or trackball, but these are clearly inferior to just being able to write on the screen where the ink appears, as you would with paper or a TabletPC). The point is that you see OneNote as a great place to type and collect text and images by drag/drop or copy/paste. You can even record audio synced to your typing, manage to-dos and important items with note flags, etc. In short, almost all the features of OneNote work great on a laptop or desktop.
It will be interesting to see at what point MS decides the convergence has come and adjusts accordingly. Windows 8.2? 8.3?


Edit: And how about this nugget for anybody struggling to understand the failure of the PC OEMs and the reason MS decided to set the bar with Surface hardware. Again this is from 2004 (about the time Apple started eating everybody's lunch).

Ironically, some of the early designs from the OEMs themselves were just clones of the prototypes that the Tablet team gave them. The dirty not-so-secret of the computer world is that no one makes much money in hardware, so with razor-thin margins they save money by not doing research beyond that they need to integrate new chips and hardware, which is usually only incrementally better than last year's hardware, because their suppliers have the same problem. In fact, most computer companies do no research whatsoever and just assemble parts or pay other companies to assemble the parts and they just sell the completed units. So companies like Microsoft and Intel increasingly do research for them and pass it on to make the whole ecosystem move forward (USB, Tablet, optical mice, etc are all ideas from Microsoft or Intel).
 
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Tom T

New Member
I remember using an early version of OneNote back in 2005 when I had a Motion Computing LS 800 slate pc (way ahead of it's time) and it quickly became my most used app, especially in combination with a couple power toys that are now integrated into the software.

"That meant supporting text and keyboards, since the Tablet had not even shipped yet and would have very small share when we launched, although we all suspected at least the ability to write on the screen would become a ubiquitous laptop feature eventually. And ink would never replace keyboard - the pen is useful for some things (quiet, unobtrusive, natural), and the keyboard was better for others (fast, compact, accurate input). Of course the Tablet was a key factor for us - we wanted to make sure we made a great application for all PCs, and since the Tablet (with a keyboard) was a superset of other PCs, we would be most powerful on the Tablet, and ideally a “no-brainer” purchase for Tablet owners."

This quote kind of shows how far ahead Microsoft, and the brilliant people they have working for them, were in their thinking. They have been improving tablet support in Windows for a decade, with each release it got significantly better. Windows 8, although some people would like to complain about it being too big a departure from the Windows they know and love/hate, to me seems just the logical progression they have been working toward for years.
 
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