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Hands on: MyScript Nebo is what Windows Ink should be

Mark Hachman | Aug. 11, 2016
From editable text to equations, Nebo offers it all. And for a short time, it's free.

Fortunately, Nebo not only recognizes printing and cursive, but also a mixture of the two. You can switch back and forth, even mix the two styles together, and the program seems to do just fine. As you write, Nebo projects a small line of text above your writing, showing you what it’s seeing. You don’t necessarily have to erase what you’ve written to “fix” a mistake, either; I found that I could just add a stroke or two to turn an “n” into an “m,” for instance, and Nebo used word analysis to correctly guess my intent.

Corrections, aren't entirely trouble-free. Nebo uses a downward or upward vertical stroke to either join or separate words. That stroke can be misinterpreted as an uppercase “l,” or vice versa. If you want to erase a word, you have to either select the eraser icon at the top of the screen or ink over the entire word. As in, every last bit of it. Nebo also doesn’t properly interpret the Surface Pen’s “eraser” button.

If you underline a word, Nebo makes it boldface; circling it will highlight the word in yellow. That only happens, however, once the ink is converted: Tap once with your finger to turn your ink into text, and tap again to turn it into editable text. You can also underline entire sentences to turn them into headings, create bulleted lists by drawing dots next to items, and change the size and color of your ink via the menu at the top of the page.

Special features: Diagrams, math

As with OneNote, you can import pictures and other images. But there’s much more you can do, too. By selecting Add at the top of the page and either Sketch, Diagram, or Math, you can add a quick sketch, a flow chart, or an inked equation to your notes.

nebo notebook diagram

You can create a decent-looking flow chart in a matter of seconds.

The latter two are the most interesting. Nebo’s Diagrams function takes a scrawled flowchart and turns it into something a tad more professional, complete with arrows linking one item to the next, and so on. Nebo’s Math function takes part of MyScript’s MathPad application from iOS and adds it to your Windows PC. The math function is very good at interpreting your inked equation into something that could be exported into another app. However, you can also ink a simple calculation that Nebo itself will solve for you.

nebo math combine

If you write a simple equation within Nebo, then double-tap it, Nebo will solve it for you. (I double-tapped the inked problem on the left to generated the solution on the right.)


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