Microsoft had announced the availability of its Office Lens document scanning app for Apple’s iPad tablet in January 2017. Office Lens initially launched as a Windows Phone exclusive, and in 2015, Microsoft brought it to Android and the iPhone. Now you can use it on bigger-screened iOS devices that is your iPad. This Office Lens app will work on the iPad and iPad Pro, too and as always, you can save the content into OneNote and OneDrive easily.
Microsoft’s Office Lens is a specialized mobile application for pulling images of whiteboards and other visual information into Word documents and PowerPoint presentations. As said above office Lens originally debuted on Windows Phone, but it moved to Android and the iPhone in April 2015. It was handy for classrooms and meetings because you could take a picture of a whiteboard, for example, and Office Lens automatically aligned the photo so it would look like a screenshot.
Office Lens was originally a standalone app, but soon built right into the Word and PowerPoint apps within iOS and Android making it more useful like the optical character recognition, or OCR. When you snap a photo of a presentation, Word will extract the relevant details for easier integration into your notes.
It’s worth noting that OCR capabilities within Office Lens for Android, albeit with a specific purpose in mind: scanning business cards. But there’s no direct connection to Outlook—the information is scanned into OneNote, which then requires you to edit it before exporting. Also, business-card scanning is not part of the Office Lens functionality within the Word and PowerPoint apps.
Features of Office Lens
With this app you can capture and crop a picture of a whiteboard or blackboard and share your meeting notes with co-workers, make digital copies of your printed documents, business cards or posters and trim them precisely, printed and handwritten text will be automatically recognized (using OCR), so you can search for words in images and then copy and edit them.
- With Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glare and shadows.
- With Document mode, Office Lens trims and colors images perfectly.
- Pictures can be saved to OneNote, OneDrive or other cloud storage.
- Business Card mode can extract contact information and save it into your address book and OneNote.
- This feature works best with the following business cards: English, German, Spanish and simplified Chinese. Support for more languages is coming soon.
- Choose to convert images to Word (.docx), PowerPoint (.pptx) or PDF (.pdf) files that are automatically saved to OneDrive.
Let’s take a look at how all this works
You install Office Lens on your device, run the app, then give it permission to access your camera.
The default “view” in the app is a live camera viewfinder. Choose one of the three available image types — Photo, Document or Whiteboard — then point the camera at whatever you want to capture.
For documents and whiteboards, you’ll see the app attempt to automatically frame the image as you move around. Once the frame encompasses the desired area, tap the shutter button.
After a moment of processing the image, Office Lens gives you a preview of it. If it needs cropping, tap the Crop icon in the upper-right corner. Once you’re done cropping, or you’re just ready to save the image, tap Done.
Choose the destination for this item to save. If it’s OneNote, you’ll first need to sign into your account (a one-time step). Then you can give the image a title and choose the notebook in which to file it. Alternately, Office Lens can export to your OneDrive account, or to Word or PowerPoint (whether or not you have the associated apps on your device). Other export options include PDF, e-mail and your photo library.
After you’ve exported your file, you’ll find yourself back at the viewfinder, ready to capture another one.
Microsoft also expanded its Office Insider Program to include the iPhone and iPad. Recently, Drop box added document scanning functionality to its iOS app, following Box. The Google Drive app for iOS does not support document scanning, but the Android version does. Download this app from iTunes for your iPad and requires iOS9.0 or above.