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Using a passive pen

A passive stylus (also known as a capacitive stylus) is a pen that acts like a finger when touching the screen of a device. The passive stylus and the device do not communicate with each other and the device cannot differentiate between the stylus and a finger.

While an active pen will always provide the best note-taking experience, Nebo also supports the use of passive pens (also known as a capacitive pen).

Disabling active pen connection

To use a passive pen, first ensure that any active pen connection is disabled within Nebo. You can do this in two ways:

  1. Tap in the upper right-hand corner of any Nebo page. The More menu displays.
  2. In the Preferences tabs select Advanced
  3. Set the Use active pen to the off position.


  1. Access the sidebar menu and select Settings. The Settings menu displays.
  2. Select Pen. The Pen menu displays.
  3. Set the Use active pen switch to the off position.
  4. If necessary, select Writing position and select your normal writing position. Selecting an accurate writing position helps Nebo to optimize palm rejection settings for a better writing experience.

The interaction tool

When active pen input is disabled, the interaction tool displays beside the pen tool in the page toolbar.

Writing or drawing with your passive pen

To write or draw with your passive pen, select the pen tool.

Performing touch interactions

To perform touch interactions when using a passive pen, select the interaction tool.

The following table shows the one-finger and two-finger touch interactions you can perform when the interaction tool is selected. On iPad and Android devices, you can perform two-finger touch interactions even when the interaction tool is not selected.


With interaction tool selected

With pen tool selected (iPad and Android devices only)

Scroll☝️ one-finger or
✌️ two-finger drag
✌️ two-finger drag
Select a block☝️ one-finger tap
Drag handle☝️ one-finger drag
Move a block

☝️ one-finger or 

✌️ two-finger drag

✌️ two-finger drag
Interact with guide (tag, suggestions, menus)

☝️ one-finger or 

✌️ two-finger tap

✌️ two-finger tap
Show Edit menu☝️ one-finger touch-and-hold
Adjust space✌️ two-finger touch-and-hold✌️ two-finger touch-and-hold
Show Add object menu☝️ one-finger double-tap
Pan around a note (2D context)

☝️ one-finger or 

✌️ two-finger drag

✌️ two-finger drag
Zoom into/out of a note (2D context)✌️ two-finger pinch✌️ two-finger pinch

Using the eraser and lasso

When using a passive pen, you can continue to use the eraser and lasso tools as usual – simply select the tool you want to use from the page toolbar.

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