Microsoft fields another notetaking app: Plumbago

Microsoft is rolling out a new digital notetaking app, Plumbago, for WIndows 8.1 and Windows 10 tablets. The target audience: Pen-wielding Surface users.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has released a new notetaking app for WIndows 8.1 and Windows 10 tablets called Plumbago.


Plumbago, which is both a type of flowering plant and the Latin word for "graphite," is the handiwork of Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Garage incubator.

Plumbago has been in development for two years, according to Microsoft's February 19 post about the new app. Word of its existence leaked earlier this month.

Plumbago "is a digital notebook with technology that smooths out handwriting so your scribbles are easier to read later," explained Microsoft execs. The "handwriting beautification" technology involves matching strokes across the thousands written by a user in order to create more consistent handwriting.

Yes, as a number of readers have mentioned, Plumbago does sound somewhat similar to the software that was going to power the cancelled Microsoft Courier project. But Plumbago was definitely designed with the Surface and its pen, not the Microsoft Courier dual-screen tablet, in mind.

Plumbago includes an optimized tool picker designed to reduce the number of taps to access its features; a radial menu; paper choices and more. "Infinite paper" allow users' drawings or writings to span pages.

Plumbago is available for download from the Windows Store and/or the Microsoft Garage site. There's no word if or when Microsoft will release a version of Plumbago for iPads or Android tablets, or phones of any kind.

Microsoft already has been touting its Surface tablets as being tailor-made for its existing OneNote notetaking app. Plumbago seems more oriented toward drawing, which makes sense given how Microsoft is pushing Surfaces as tools for artists and other creatives.

Maybe Plumbago is to OneNote as Sway is to PowerPoint....

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