What in the world is Microsoft Office Lens? Well, it is a new app that will turn your phone into a scanner- how cool is that? Microsoft Lens has been limited to Microsoft Windows phones but it has launched on iOS and has a preview for Android users- you can get the beta. So for those of us without a Windows phone, what does this mean? It means that you can now scan receipts, business cards, sticky notes and place it into a OneNote account as well as other locations.
For iOS users, it is quite simple to use and install. First, go to iTunes and download Microsoft Lens (it is free). Then install and start the app. You will have to give the app permission to access your camera. When you begin the app, the default view is a live camera viewfinder. You can select on of the following options: photo, document or whiteboard as your image type. After you select the image type, you point the camera and “capture” the image you want to see. When you are using the app, it will try and frame the image as you move the phone around the image, document or whiteboard. Once you have the image you want, you hit the shutter button. After you hit the shutter button, you can preview the image. In preview, you can crop or save if you are ready. You choose your destination- if you use OneNote, you will either need to setup account or sign into your account. If you want to use EverNote, you will have to use another “scanner.” Also, you can save the file to OneDrive or to another program such as Word. Also, you can export the scanned file to email it or turn the image into a PDF file.
A drawback to Microsoft’s Lens is that you cannot scan more than one thing at a time. Also, there is no way to classify your scans. You can set up individual folders to help you with classification and you can just scan each one individually. The reviews for the app are decent, with just a few complaints- like the fact you can only scan one receipt at a time.
Most liked the ability to edit right then and there and not having to wait to edit the image, or not being able to edit the image at all.
Microsoft Lens seems easy to use and could be a great asset if you have a small business or travel for business. With technology today, it is about time for a good scanner/smartphone camera app to appear on the market. As the use of smartphones for all aspects of our lives, it will be necessary for apps such as Microsoft Lens. I just hope that the apps will expand to accept scanning of grouped items in one scan, the ability to categorize your newly scanned files as well as automatically filing the information based on file name. No matter what, Microsoft Lens’s venture into the world of iOS and Android will benefit Microsoft and users alike.