Taking Notes with Nebo on an iPad

August 02, 2017 by Gabe | [mmd] |

This blog post is a hand crafted artisanal production. well, its hand crafted at least. That's because I wrote it by hand, long-form in the iPad app MyScript Nebo,

Writing is good

Nebo works with the Apple Pencil to convert hand writing into text. It's one of the best digital handwriting experiences I've had anywhere. The ink performance on the new iPad Pro feels like real ink. It tracks the pencil perfectly. This is inno small part, to Apple, but N'ebo is taking advantage of the technology in ways no other app does.

In addition to the superior ink system, Nebo adds control gestures that feel natural. It took me very little time to learn the core set of controls. To delete a word or character, just scribble it out. To combine two words into one draw an upward line between them. Take a look at the help page for more gestures.

Nebo does more than just writing though. I regularly add sketches and diagrams while I work.

Diagrams

One of the great things about Nebo is that the writing is converted and displayed in real-time. Just write and You'll see what Nebo thinks you mean. There's no reason to convert. I never use the "convert" function on my notes because I want to see the original scratching as a reference. Nebo still does some magic though. Tap on a word in the converted text to get spelling suggestions.

Suggestions

So I guess the big question is "why?' Is handwriting a more efficient way to capture words? Certainly not for me. But it's not always about speed. I enjoy writing with a pen. I also like (and needs to capture complex ideas with drawings. Until Nebo, that was always done on paper.

Many of my notes happen while I'm in a meeting. I prefer taking notes by hand in meetings because it feels more interactive. when the iPad is flat on the table, everyone can see what's happening. The advantage of Nebo over paper is the infinite (as far as I can tell) page length. But where it really shines is after the meeting. That's when I export all of the words as plain text for meeting minutes. Diagrams are copied as images. Within a minute, I have a nicely presented summary of our meet in and no one has to try to read my handwriting. There's two more things that I like about writing in Nebo n

  1. It's slow and thoughtful

  2. It's comfortable when I'm reclined.

I wrote part of this at a table and part of it reclined in a lounge chair. I even wrote a paragraph while standing in the kitchen. Try that with the Apple smart keyboard.

Nebo works with the Apple Pencil. It's not meant for finger painting. the upside is that palm-rejection is perfect. It also means that it only works on the iPad.

I can stare and organize all of my notes in Nebo, but I don't. Since the Nebo files are only available on my iPad, I don't like the limited access. When I'm done writing I just export everything and then archive the document.

This entire post, except for links, was written in Nebo. I did no other editing or fixing outside of Nebo. I'd say it works just fine.

Export