What Is Microsoft Lens?
Microsoft Office Lens is a highly versatile camera app that will turn your tablet or smartphone into a powerful, portable document scanner.
Microsoft originally introduced Lens exclusively to Windows Phone users but made IT available on Android and iOS platforms from 2015. Since then, IT continues to enjoy massive popularity as an essential part of the Microsoft cross-platform strategy known as “mobile-first, cloud-first.”
What Does Microsoft Lens Do?
This application uses your mobile camera to take images of different media such as whiteboards, drawings, business cards, documents, sticky notes, or receipts, then applies its built-in enhancement capabilities to straighten, sharpen and crop your photo.
On the surface, this may not sound incredibly innovative. Still, IT would help if you considered that Lens also comes with the ability to convert the images IT takes into PDF files, PowerPoint documents or Microsoft Word files. As a result, you have a photo that looks like and functions as a practical, polished scanned document that you may edIT and share as you choose.
How Will Microsoft Lens Make Your Life Easier?
Every day you carry out your business, you will encounter a lot of information that may not be in a convenient format to edit, share or store digitally. In many cases, you might have to snap a picture containing a lot of extraneous information, write a post-IT note to yourself to ensure you do not forget a great idea, or even sketch a diagram on a scrap of paper that you could quickly lose. Microsoft Office Lens saves you all this hassle.
The benefits of using Lens as your mobile scanner include:
- Lens if free to use.
- Automatically crop, clean up, and enhance any image.
- OCR automatically digitizes paper documents or whiteboard sketches and saves them to Word Mobile or OneNote.
- Doesn’t require you to have a Microsoft or OneNote to use.
- Removes shadows
- Rotates your images to fix any problems caused by odd angles.
- Convert your hand-drawn images into editable objects which you can edit, color, move and resize.
Starting Up the Application
You may download the Microsoft Office Lens application from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, either as a reasonably-sized sub 60MB Download, depending on your device. Once downloaded, you must grant Lens access to your device’s camera and storage.
Upon first loading the application, you will view a twin-panel introduction animation that summarizes what IT does and then takes you directly to camera mode. At this point, you do not need to create an account or sign in to get started, a feature that users who need to have a look around the app appreciate.
Once the app is in camera mode, IT exposes buttons for shooting, scanning, flash, and a menu button for the additional settings, Recent History, Resolution and Image Import. If you point your phone’s camera at a document, Microsoft Lens will immediately draw a box around any text IT detects. Clicking the scanner button offers you the choice of Photo, Whiteboard, and Document.
Microsoft Lens Modes
The app has four different modes that apply to a variety of scenarios. Although each has its special functions, they all work to help you digitize your images and documents. The modes are:
- Photo: A standard photo mode is available, and works as you would expect from any photography app – IT allows you to take pictures of people or scenery. What’s more, the app can then crop your images, remove shadows and eliminate glare.
- Business card: In this mode, Lens can automatically extract vital information from a photo of any business card and save IT as part of your phone contacts. Best of all, the business card scanning feature works in several different languages. IT helps if you have non-English-speaking clients or business partners.
- Document: The Microsoft Lens document mode makes IT easy for you to clean up any difficult-to-read text. A good example is a menu from a restaurant. If you use the app to scan it, IT digitizes each item, letting you edIT the document.
- Whiteboard: This is one of the most popular modes with Lens users. Suppose you find yourself in a brainstorming session where you and your team have a blackboard or whiteboard full of your ideas. In that case, the Whiteboard Mode ensures you can save all your information easily in a convenient digital format. The application will also automatically eliminate any glare from your whiteboard.
If you have an iPhone or Android device that uses OneNote of Microsoft Office Mobile for your business, Microsoft Lens is a lifesaver. When you add the advantage of anywhere-access and its OCR power, you have a powerful tool that can capture your documents, business cards, and whiteboards in a flash and instantly digitize the information.
If you have any questions on Lens or any other burning IT question, we’re here to help. VisIT V&C Solutions, chat with our live chat agent, give us a call or fire off an email. Our team is available to help with any of your IT service needs.