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Sneak peek at the new Office Lens app coming to Windows 10 and Mobile

Microsoft is converting every app it has using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and that includes updating older 8.1 apps like Office Lens for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10.

Codenamed 'Otemoto' the brand new Office Lens app for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 is nearing completion, and we got our hands on a copy of the unreleased app. Today, we'll show what's new and what to look forward to when it is released later this summer!

For those who don't know, Microsoft dubs Office Lens a "scanner in your pocket" as it can be used to take images of various objects, including:

  • Regular photo
  • Document
  • Whiteboard
  • Business Card

Using Optical character recognition (OCR) the camera then auto-adjusts the image for the object you shot. Business cards are cropped, Whiteboards are flattened, auto-optimized, and more. You can also adjust the crop, add a note, or delete the file. Users can then save the image to various places right through the app including:

  • OneNote with a default location
  • OneDrive
  • Word
  • PowerPoint
  • PDF
  • Gallery

The idea here is for someone like a student in a class to take a photo of the professor's whiteboard with notes. The image is flattened, glare is removed, and text is optimized for reading. The student can then save the photo to their OneDrive for safekeeping or create a OneNote for the semester.

Business users also need such an app for presentations, conferences, or spitballing that new PowerPoint proposal. Your Windows 10 Mobile camera becomes a tool in this process of saving what you are viewing. Later, you can use a Surface to modify the image, write notes on it, share with others, and more.

The Office Lens app also hooks into your personal Microsoft Account, and Work and School accounts assigned by your organization.

Overall, the new Windows 10 Mobile is similar to the older 8.1 but with a few differences. Users now have more control over the camera, including picking resolution sizes and whether to use the front or back camera by default. The app now also uses the native Microsoft Account authentication for streamlined setup (you no longer have to type in your credentials) and the app's overall design uses the new MDL2 icons and Windows 10 design language.

Performance is also notably better, and since it is built on the UWP, it can have more hooks into the OS, Office, and have a more rapid release cycle.

Oh, and yes you can install this on a Surface or any Windows 10 PC and utilize either the front-facing or rear camera (if available).

There is no word yet when Microsoft will release this refreshed version or what other new features they will be adding, but it shouldn't be too much longer. For now, Windows phone users can still use the older, Windows Phone 8.1 app found by searching in the Store.

Stay tuned to Windows Central as we'll keep you posted on when this app goes live for everyone.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

77 Comments
  • Good move... May others follow.
  • Yes let's hope they got rid of the number of photos limitation.
  • Hopefully the travel and food app comes back.
  • Health & Fitness app
  • Add also Lens for Bar code and QR code reading
  • ^YESSS! Please bring back nave QR reading! Either in the office lens, or in Cortana, just bring it back!
  • Agree! Never really understood why they remove Bing Vision.
  • Lol @ least opera mini has 1
  • Any indication or idea of whether they'll make this UWP app available on non-mobile as well? I've requested to have it on tablets and 2-in-1s, but they didn't seem too interested. I think it would be a good idea, though.
  • I agree Per!
  • "Any indication or idea of whether they'll make this UWP app available on non-mobile as well?"
    Yes, it can run on Windows 10. It's one of the reasons for the front/rear camera ability as you can use your webcam if you wanted; or rear camera on the Surface.
  • Exactly. When people ask that, I wonder why - UWP stands for Universal Windows Platform. That app is designed for all Windows 10 devices. Posted via Microsoft Halo Phone
  • Some people still don't get it....
  • It should be released on PC too (WindowsBlogItalia showed it running on a PC).
  • It is a Universal Windows app so it will definitely run on the PC/laptop, Xbox One, HoloLens, and more. Posted via Microsoft Halo Phone
  • Great. Use this everyday at work.
  • This app has helped me a lot when the scanner wasn't working. Great app.
  • Excellent stuff.
  • Can I attach business card to contact yet?  I serious don't understand why I would want business card in onenote or any other place other than contact.
  • I love having business cards not put directly into my contacts. I have a LOT of contacts and new people get lost.  If I'm at an event and collect cards, I like to have them in a separate space. After I've reached out and started communication, I move them to my contacts. It would be nice to have an option for "sending" the data to a contact file though.  Have you sent in this suggestion?
  • 100% agree. Read the card, file the information and save the image in contacts.
  • It goes without saying that it is not and can never be better than the iOS and Android version, both feature-wise and stability-wise.
  • You need to make an argument. So far, you made an assertion, now please back it up with something substantial. I just installed Office Lens for Android it's practically the same app. So, tell me, what I am missing here on Windows 10 and why, pray tell, can it "never" be on the same level "both feature-wise and stability-wise." I expect some actual evidence and a demonstration of technical knowledge here too, not anecdotal nonsense.
  • The Android version allows you to zoom in on presentations for the picture.  The Windows version does not.
  • Looking for the 'mic-drop.gif' to be inserted here. Can't find it.
    "The Android version allows you to zoom in on presentations for the picture. "
    ...says the guy who has not tried the Windows 10 version. Guess what, it has pinch to zoom in the Windows 10 app. So, anything else?
  • Daniel, I am not sure where the attitude comes from or the drop mic business. I have used both Android and W10M versions. On the Windows 10 mobile white board mode the pinch to zoom does not work on either my 640 or 950 XL. It's disappointing.
  • Will Gilliland, Daniel happens to have obtained a texting version of the Windows 10 UWP Office Lense. The version you are using is the old WP8.1 version that still works on W10M, but it isn't the W10M version. That version is still in testing. You can't compare the version you have with the version Daniel is writing about, because it HASN'T BEEN RELEASED YET. That makes your argument invalid.
  • He always has a chip on his shoulder, I have no idea why, he just does.
  • Daniel, I think you would do all of us much favour if you stop responding to comments in your own articles, especially those comments that may seem are critical of Microsoft or their products. It seems you take anything that is said against Microsoft or their strategies too personally. I rarely see tech writers arguing in the comment section with anyone who disagrees with them. That is not professional, in my opinion. There are enough people here ready to defend Microsoft so you can sit relaxed and not worry. Instead, you would do better to report on the new Kantar data that shows the WP market share has shrunk even further.
  • Can you at least provide some productive criticism. You make statements here with no facts and no knowledge of even trying to use both platforms. There are more people including me that don't like it when others make a negative assertion towards a product or service as if they know-it-all! Posted via Microsoft Halo Phone
  • While I unequivocally disagree with OP, aggression on this website is through the roof. Regardless of what forum it is, freedom of speech is a big deal. I would expect reporters to think so more than anyone else. You don't have to indulge idiots or respond to them, but attempting to stifle their voice by publically humiliating/shaming them is not acceptable, in my opinion. Then again, the very fact that I would point this out could be construed as an attempt, on my part, to stifle different voices. Do with this as you will.
  • You mean that same new Kantar data showin the huge iOS dips: Germany -1.7, USA -2.5, China -4.4, Australia -3.6, Italy -2.5, Japan -2.4, iOS -3.3, EU5 -1.0. So iOS has a lot more migration volume to Android than WM! http://mspoweruser.com/kantar-10-new-android-customers-come-windows-phone/
  • Yes, they are justify everything from MS what ever it is.
  • @maktaba: Dude, chill. You made a classic troll post with no evidence. Daniel pointed out, very correctly, that if you wanted to state something as fact, you better back it up with some evidence. You were just blowing smoke over something you know nothing about, because you've never seen it as it hasn't been released yet. Stop acting hurt and get over it. If you want to lash out at people and expect them to not be offended, then we expect you to not be offended as well.
  • The fact that he's willing to back up his positions is one of the main reasons I read his articles. 
  • I use Office Lense on both - 950xl and Note 5 almost every day and never encounter any issue with feature or stability.... Looking forward to UWP Office Lense app....  
  • You cannot take photos in batch.  It is a pain to take multiple documents on Android/iOS. There exists one feature that proves your assertion incorrect :^)
  • It's an awesome app..I use it always..thank you for updating it for Windows 10..
  • Great, I've had to reboot phone yesterday after try to launch office lens. Still missing Bind lens with a lot of features in one place
  • Can not believe. I use this app almost every day. Please release it immediately. The old 8.1 app is slow and drains my battery very fast.
  • Cool cool cool!
  • Good, because i have been having problems.  Every time i try to save something, all I get is a black screen.
  • Figured it out.  I was not signed in.  Would have been nice to get a warning instead of the black screen.
  • Is it possible to not save pics to onenote?  I would prefer just to default upload to onedrive without having to jump through the hoops to not save to onenote.
  • You can save/share to wherever you want, including not OneNote. You can see the Share picker in one of the screenshots, just untick OneNote.
  • Thanks. That is a big improvement. I have used Office Lens for some time now, and I always felt like the OneNote complication was the app's undoing. It's not that this is bad, per se, but that for a simple process like scanning, most users don't want to add steps or jump through hoops. At least it also saves the image in Camera Roll (once as the photo, once as the rotated and cropped scan). I believe the default should simply be, take a photo/scan, default filters run automatically, and file saves under Camera Roll into a folder called "Scans." To modify that, options should allow import into OneNote and also modification of the filter settings kind of like post-HDR adjustments. I think simple, for this kind of app, works to Microsoft's advantage. Oh, and instead of the traditional camera "blink," it would be cool if the shutter was changed to a light-bar wiping across the screen (albeit, very rapidly).
  • This is a very, very useful app. I'm glad they are continuing and even updating it.
  • The icon of this app is interesting. When I see the wide version of the app first, it's "moo", which looks like mimicing the voice of cow. However, the full version of the icon with all the characters actually read vertically (and from right to left), which is otemoto, the codename of this project.
  • 日本語はお上手ですね。
  • A program i always use.
  • I use it loads, but it is especially good for copying expenses receipts... Just hope they take the 10 item limit off
  • One of my most used tools other than MS magnifier and the calculator. Its really good too. My friends on other platforms envy it!
  • Cool
  • This is a great app. I do use it all the time and you can have an image of a business card as well as editable card. It is a little clunky to use and hopefully that will be improved.
  • This is the feature to die for. Looking forward to this update.
  • Microsoft, always extremely consistent with their UWP apps' UI /s
  • Office Lens is one of the best apps in its field! I wouldnt wait for this except that I have to because Microsoft is the one releasing it!!! :) Im excited though!
  • What's with the oriental characters in the live tile??
     
  • Good news!
  • Will Office Lens for PC work with actual scanners? Theiir current WinRT app fails if minimized or put to the background.
  • Offline pdf saving would be a great addition and of course remove the pic limit.
    I mean they already went and updated the app so make it better!!
  • Looks nice.
  • One of my favorite apps that I regularly use at conferences. When people are typing or writing like mad taking notes I'm relaxed, paying attention and grabbing the slides that I feel are most relevant.
  • If it had image to text recognition it would be great
  • This is exciting! I use this app all the time!
  • Wonder if opening a newly created pdf from within the app will actually work now, as it did in WP8.1, or if it'll continue to redirect to a Store-search for "Office"...
  • why does the tile contain japanese hiragana "otemoto"?
  • One question, this one will save to the od for biz (o365) space? The old not... :(
  • There is no OCR in Office Lens, is there in this one?
  • As long as they introduce the option to save to phone and not online. It was irritating to take a shot of a doc, upload it online and then download it again, big waste of data
  • miss it on my surface... :/
    currently always using onenote for this via inserting a photo sent via Windows Central on Surface
  • Office Lens is one of the best utility app on ALL mobile platforms, from what I m seeing here, the new version is gonna be even better :)
  • So does this app also scan barcodes and such?
  • Maybe I'm not using the app correctly, but it would be awesome if you could log in to the app with a 365 work account. I would be violating privacy policy's at my job by using this app with my normal Microsoft Account. Its possible I'm missing something though and you can already do this. If someone knows how to use a 365 account for this app DO TELL!   Update: I just re-read the article and it says it will be compatible with Work accounts. That means in the future update it will be compatible, right?
  • I love the interface. Makes my  personal and professional life easier.
  • Office Lens rocks.  Please enter me in the #Sweepstakes.
  • This app is great, the onlyu issue is the 10 images limit and that it's obligatory to save into Onenote.
    Last week I got some overheating issues on my Nokia 930 while taking a lot of pictures.