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inkBook 1.3.1

Review - inkBook 1.3.1

by , 9:00 AM EST, January 15th, 2007

The idea of using your Mac like a free-form tablet or sheet of paper isn't new, but ways to effectively make that happen are few and far between. inkBook from Mage Software does just that, and it actually works.

inkBook takes advantage of the Ink technology that's built into Mac OS X. With an Ink-aware input device, like a Wacom graphic tablet, you have everything you need to get started using your Mac as a digital Big Chief tablet.

inkBook supports text and graphics.

I used a 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 and a Wacom Intuos 2 tablet for my tests. inkBook was responsive and rarely lagged behind my writing. I did, however, occasionally forget that I had handwriting recognition turned on in the Ink Preferences Pane, which meant that my stylus wanted to act as a pen first and pointing device second. Not a big deal, but it did slow me down sometimes when I couldn't use my stylus instantly to click and drag items.

I found inkBook fairly easy to master. It took me about a minute to get used to seeing my notes appear in front of me while writing on the tablet on my lap, but once my brain adjusted, I was off and running. inkBook dutifully recorded everything I wrote, bad handwriting and all.

I was really surprised when I realized how versatile the application is. In addition to recording what I write, I could also drag and drop graphics onto my inkBook pages, highlight and annotate my notes, and edit what I had written.

My handwritten note.

Even better, I could save my documents as text files - and my handwriting was accurately converted to real text. Occasionally it would move words that I had deleted and rewritten to the end of my document, but otherwise the conversion to text was amazingly accurate. You can also copy and paste text from your inkBook documents, and your handwriting will get converted to text on the fly.

The same note converted to editable text.

If you prefer to keep your inkBook notes in inkBook, that's okay, too. You can search through your documents with the app's built-in Find command.

The Bottom Line
If you are looking for an alternative to your Mac's keyboard for entering text, and you have an Ink-aware graphics tablet, inkBook is worth trying out. It is a great idea for anyone that needs to take notes, and since you can draw anything you want on a document page, it's easy to use for diagrams, too. Thanks to its ability to convert handwriting to text and export it to other documents, this is one application I wish had been around when I was in school.


Product: inkBook 1.3.1

Company: Mage Software

List Price: $20

4 out of 5 stars

Pros: Freeform notepad, converts handwriting to text, searchable.
Cons: Occasionally reorders edited words when exporting.

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