Office Lens – Photographic Memory on Your Device
Beyond any doubt, you’ve heard about mobile device applications that allow you to photograph/scan any types of physical documents.
Such an app is especially helpful if you have to work with documents most of the time – college students, lawyers, soufflé chefs, long-distance couriers will understand me etc.
But the Google Play and App Store have been literally overcrowded with similar applications for years, and Microsoft’s Office Lens made its debut only recently.
So is there anything that makes it stand out from the horde of its analogues?
For: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Find it on: Google Play, iTunes
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Basically, it’s a classic scanning application with an Optical Character Recognition function (OCR for short).
Office Lens is a charm because it works finely with:
- Books – quite handy for students because they won’t have to spend a whole fortune on photocopying now, especially when working with rare folios.
- Documents, receipts, notes etc. – you can show a sick leave certificate to your boss without having to go to his office.
- Whiteboards – for example, you don’t have to write complicated physics formulas by hand since you can have a quick photoshoot instead. This is a feature that many of the identical scanning apps desperately lack by the way.
- Business cards – a cool feature indeed, but it’s available only for the simple cards, devoid of convoluted fonts and other fancy elements.
After you have all the important info scanned, you will be able to:
- Send the files to OneNote (account registration is required).
- E-mail it to your colleagues/business partners/family members or even yourself.
- Simply store it in the Photo Gallery of your device.
- Have it saved in a Word, PDF formats or PowerPoint file.
As for editing functions, well, here our beloved evil corporation screwed up a little bit. You see in the early versions of the Office Lens you could do such manipulations with the ready files as trimming, flattening and cropping.
Basically, your scans looked like top-quality photocopies, but for some perplexing reasons the first two editing features were removed from the app and now you have cropping function only. Such a mournful loss to be honest.
The app is multiplatform, running on iOS, Android and Windows Phone which is a huge plus, considering that it’s totally free.
Another pleasant detail is that the app recognizes a huge number of languages, apart from English.
Ease of Use
The interface of the app is quite intuitive so you won’t get lost while working with it. The only irksome thing is that it doesn’t support multi-touch function, which becomes a pain in the neck when you’re using it on a tablet.
Moreover, it doesn’t offer you to have the files uploaded to a cloud space storage automatically – you’ll have to navigate to your Photo Gallery for that.
The app looks pretty eye-friendly and laconic – no unnecessary visual elements have been spotted.
It offers you three categories Photo/Whiteboard/Document and a big red button to snap the object. After you’re done, a number of saving/editing options will be provided to you.
Surprisingly Microsoft makes its mobile apps ergonomic and presentable enough.
It’s totally free!
- It supports a number of the mainstream doc. formats;
- It’s multilingual and multiplatform;
- It straightens the angles of a scan by itself;
- Scans of whiteboards get cleaned up automatically.
- Consumes a lot of battery energy;
- Some useful features were removed;
- Fancy and elaborate fonts don’t get recognized by OCR.
Office Lens is a perfect tool for mobile scanning plus it offers you some functions that aren’t free of charge in other apps.