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Turn your Windows Phone into a personal scanner with Office Lens; now available to download

Office Lens from Microsoft has just gone live in the Windows Phone Store. The app was previously available as a beta, but today we're looking at the final version. Those who aren't familiar with Office Lens, it enables users to enhance and take photos of whiteboards and documentation, saving everything in OneNote.

It's an important companion app that helps make it less likely to miss important details during presentations, lose documentation or other paper-based information altogether (be it receipts, business cards, etc). Using OCR technology, Office Lens instantly recognizes text in documents, business cards, and even whiteboards, and then converts them into searchable electronic files

Some example scenarios would include the capture of presentations to then share information with co-workers, taking a capture of a menu or even saving itinerary notes. Making digital copies of important documents is a useful backup option, with the added ability to make changes and even search through text. 

Here are highlighted features listed on the store:

  • With Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glares and shadows.
  • With Document mode, Office Lens trims and colors them perfectly.
  • Save pictures not only to your camera roll, but directly into OneNote. You can see the images across all your devices. 

It's worth noting you'll need your Microsoft account at hand to log in to use Office Lens. You can download Office Lens from the Windows Phone Store. Thanks, Rum, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

141 Comments
  • How well does this work?
  • one way to find out download and use
  • Thanks captain obvious!  Simply thought maybe had used it already and could provide quick feedback.
  • Well it's brand new so you're not likely to get a lot of feedback on how well it works already.
  • Like :)
  • Its work really well. Though need improvement in document mode
  • +1 lmao
  • This is the most ridiculous answer you could have given. Why would anyone use something to see how it works. /s
  • I'm not sure if this is sarcasm or stupidity...
  • The "/s" means sarcasm... Welcome to the internet... Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Thank you for teaching me how to abbreviate sarcasm. I have been so worried about all the letters I've been wasting. They are so very expensive.
  • you forgot the /s
  • Works well. I'm still trying to figure out how you edit text though
  • Edit Text? For that you need PhotoShop lol. It only makes it searchable via OneNote.
  • Yeah, what you said... Documents are clear & crisp on my 1020. but uneditable?
  • found out how it seems to work, you take pics with the app, the pic goes to one note, then on my desktop Onenote app i 'copied the text from the image', tried pasting it to ms word, works perfectly :) btw i used a 1020 too :)
     
  • Yup, that worked for me. However, a lot of the text was scrabbled. (it was a spreadsheet) But at least it recognized the text in the first place.
  • Pathetic as compared to camscanner :( i was expecting so much, and guess what, i scanned a page and it coloured it dark green ! :-o
  • So you scan one page and determine that its Pathetic!! Gotta love the internet
  • Man i edited the comment and put some more stuff, it somehow got posted as a new comment. Anyway, i like the refining of camscanner, and this one, like ms's most apps, lacks a lot of good features i wished for. Hope to see all that in an update.
  • Agreed, for now Camscanner does a much better job
  • What do you think it does better?
  • I tried to scan some documents with both apps (I set office lens to scan documents) and Camscanner did a better coloring them. And It was also easier to reframe the document. My opinion for now. Sorry for my english. 
  • Can Camscanner put the documents directly into OneNote? That's what makes Office lens nice. I hope office lens improves to do as well as CamScanner on the image itself if it's not as good.
  • St. Paddy makes its way onto Windows! Now that's pathetic!
  • Why?
  • Wish I would have seen this sooner. I tried it out. Camscanner is gone.
    Besides the fact that it is slow and cumbersome to use.
  • Ok, handyscan, controlled by Germans... Hope you're not gonna complain they tried to capture the world 70, 110 and 1500 years ago. What it does better? Creates PDFs. It matters, because PDF is a standard for multipage document interchange.
  • +925 Camscanner does the job much better!
  • It works great. 
  • Well from my quick shots... the framing in document mode wasn't perfect, but it still feels a bit like sorcery to take a picture from a few feet above the desk at a skew and immediately have it trimmed and rotated.  This will be useful for me.  
  • It must be doing some OCR behind the scenes, because if you view the photos that it saves to your Camera Roll on OneDrive.com, you'll see "Extracted Text" - that's neat! Not sure what it does with that text, other than saving it to the image's metadata, but that alone is at least a little better than the perceived functionality (Save to Camera Roll, Inject into OneNote.)
  • Nope... OneDrive does that for every photo you upload. What... is the point of this software? :-P
  • Awesome!!! I was waiting for it :-)
  • Bad ass.
  • this vs camscanner. what do you think rich?
  • +925
  • Better then camscanner?
  • We'll get a comparison article drafted up soon :-)
  • Office Lens vs Camscanner vs Handy Scan please
  • Yes... Must include Handyscan as well. It is pretty good too.
  • +920
  • Well... I just deleted Camscanner.
  • Wow. Awesome.
  • Nice one Microsoft!
  • Compared to cam scanner how it is. Anyone? I have experienced camscanner and its really helpful for me as a student.
  • Better. OneNote integration especially.
  • Yea, I'm inlove with Camscanner on WP8, so I'm going to test this and see what it's like.... If anyone else already has a comparison up, lemme know.
  • It's a free app, so why don't you compare? 
  • I tried it very quickly but for now I think camscanner is quite better for scanning documents
  • If camscanner works well for you and fulfills your needs then you don't need to worry about this new effort from MS. Also, only the end user can decide for themselves which application suits them better, ergo which is the best.
  • Excellent! Been using this in beta to snap and copy reciepts for donations ... etc. Invaluable for keeping documents and notes close at hand.
  • And I cant wait dying for wp8.1 come fast✈
  • Better be a WP exclusive.
  • This is awesome! Better than camscanner I reckon. Better colour and auto detect on document edge, better interface.
  • Awesome, it's kinda better than CamScanner
  • Try handy scan
  • I replaced Handy Scan with Camscanner and just replaced that with Office Lens.
  • Why is there a requirement to log in? And why the heck does it need access to my music library? I don't get why good apps are limited by mandatory log in requirements and data mining practices wanting to access stuff not necessary for the functioning of the damn app.    
  • So that it can sync to Onenote.
  • How does the music hub help it connect to OneNote?
  • Because it sends the scans to your OneNote notebook, which is connected to your Microsoft account. 
  • I get that OneNote is connected to my MS account but why does this tool need to be as well? Why can't it make scans just to your picture library if you don't want to import to OneNote sometimes. More troubling however is the trend of many Microsoft and other apps requiring access to stuff they have no business accessing like the music library in this instance.  
  • If you're troubled by it, don't download it.
    If you don't want it to sync with OneNote, use a different scanner that doesn't have that feature. Problem solved.
    BTW: You don't have to sign in to use it.
  • You can use music, notably, Xbox music in OneNote. Think of it as deep integration.
  • This is so tiring! So it can add to its functionality for more evolved humans. Phasing out the dummies is all!
  • Document mode only snaps a Picture of my document, i can do this even opening Nokia camera...
    Whiteboard clears the document and Works well, but i can't find the OCR feature...
  • I can't find the OCR feature too... :(
  • You cannot select or copy text. But you can hit the search function and the entire image's text is searchable.
  • Yeah i dont really get it. It just takes a picture then saves it to the camera roll and a OneNote document... No OCR happening. Like you said, we can just do this with our camera...
  • The trimmed/optimized image is saved to OneNote. A full, unedited photo is saved to your camera roll.
  • If you save it on your OneNote, you can find words(OCR) that are used in the picture. But I still can't find the way to EDIT it.  Plus, it recognizes the "ó" (with an accent) as a 6. So if I want to find "jóvenes" I have to type "j6venes" instead of jóvenes.
  • I use handyscan for documents and it works great. Text come out nice and clear. I'll be comparing this one to it.
  • Pathetic as compared to camscanner :( i was expecting so much, and guess what, i scanned a page and it coloured it dark green ! :-o
    And I'd have liked if it sent the note to the local onenote first and then to onedrive, instead it uploads it to onedrive and then i have to download it ! :(
    Nor is the searchable text visible for copying on phone :(
  • "And I'd have liked if it sent the note to the local onenote first and then to onedrive, instead it uploads it to onedrive and then i have to download it !" I guess thats another "WFT were you thinking" MS feature.  
  • Yeah lol ! They dont have an api for sending to onenote directly, i understand, but it still deserves a "what ?"
  • Works great for me.
  • Bump the resolution to 5m and clean the lens on your phone. I'll help.
     
  • Did that even before i pointed it at the page :-P, i'm a geek ;-) :-P anyway, camscanner refines better for now, but it doesn't save to onenote...
  • Or to 8 MP, I suppose it goes to whatever MP your phone supports.
  • I know It's off topic, but anyone can explain me the purpose of Onenote? What does in comparison to Word? And why Office Lens creates OneNote files and not Office Word files?
    I'm confused
  • OneNote is for free form note taking. Word is for structured documents.
    I use OneNote to do planning and to keep notes on various topics. I use Word to write up something more official from my notes.
  • How does it compare to the camscanner?
  • Not too bad. I'm looking for more reasons to use OneNote and this would help. Its plenty fast and I like it better than Cam Scanner. I snapped a picture from a program on my TV for kicks and giggles and I can't believe just how good the image is. This is a few times more accurate and gives a better result than CamScanner does. I'll use it and props on the heads up.
  • I thought it would only work with 8.1
  • Camscanner vs. Office Lens = 11MB vs. 2MB download.... I'll take Office Lens for my low memory 8xt. Furthermore, though it really has no bearing on performance/functionality etc... I like the idea of having Microsoft's Office app over 3rd party.
  • This's better than handyscan (that costs 3.99) ??
    Or???
  • Any way to save to *.pdf?
  • This seems mostly to get images to OneNote. If you want pdf maybe another app would do it, or maybe you could copy and paste the image from OneNote into a pdf editor if you use this app.
  • Excellent job works great.
  • Its look great no more paid app. But unfortunately after complete initial setup app is keep crashing. Once camera open app become close. Lumia 920.
  • It would be better if I could choose the notebook and section to save the picture.
  • I love it. Since I use camera many times for taking photos of papers this will make my life lot easyer.
  • Aw, not available for 7.x devices!. Knew it was too good to be true.Don't even understand why it's a septerate app from office. Should be part of office update package. Stupid this way. I hate this ever icreasing fragmentation that's going on with microsoft. First facebook, now office lens. For goodness sake, they even named the app "OFFICE" lens!!!
  • Microsoft want people to move up to WP8 so it comes as no surprise that anything new from MS won't be WP 7.x compatible.
  • Dafuq! I just paid for an app.
  • Hey did cam scanner or others had this document mode? Office lens looks awesome
  • That's surprisingly fast. I thought it will only come when wp8.1 is announced
  • how the text will be automatically recognized (using OCR) so we can search and edit it?
  • Windows Phone 8.1 compatibility is already listed on the website! That's new to me.
  • Just happened over the last few days.
  • By default, its set to take a 4MP picture. Does anyone know why? Reduce picture size or does it have to do with the OCR capabilities?
  • It crashes my Lumia 1020. Someone else also experienced this
  • I used it in class today to take a picture of the notes on the whiteboard. I took the picture at an angle and it corrected it so it looked like I took it straight on. Very cool.
  • Cant we save it media library ?
  • Share is possible but saving to media library?
  • Sorry guys it goes directly :)
  • Still prefer CamScanner over this :)
  • Better then camscanner than.
  • I'm loving it!!
  • Are folks aware that this functionality is built-in to Nokia Lumia phones? You don't need an app to capture text and apply OCR to edit/share/translate/whatever. Just launch Bing Search, click the little "eye" icon, select Scan Text, point the camera at the text to be copied.
  • Forgot to say: the next 2 options are Translate and (through the 3 dots menu) Copy All. And it scans QR codes and barcodes.
  • Seeing this comment, I was like "yeah! that's it! I've already had this function !!" Just tried to copy various pages of some books and the results were awful. I don't think I'll use the "eye" icon for this kind of usage.    (To translate some short phrases, it's nice though)
  • So what exactly is the end product when scanned? Jpeg? PDF? I tried it and it doesn't seem to convert to anything
  • Faster
  • Love the eye! Add to a few apps & you might have something, because I always forget where they parked that.
  • Got used to camscanner and since it fills all my current needs im sticking with it for the time being.
  • Apps are just getting better and better on windows ... This scanner is a killer
  • strongly agree!.. 
  • Amazing app from Microsoft now lets hope when will Microsoft built in the OS flashlight so I don't have to install app
  • I couldnt fing image enchancement except for geometry correction. I want document background be white and not like photographed sheet. Can use camera for that. I'll stixk with camscanner. That one generates PDF as well. This app need to mature first.
  • I still use Camscanner. Camscanner is available on Android and iPhone too. So its good to show the other OS that we also had the same apps as them, hence ask them to use the WP instead ;)
  • Wow! Perfect! I'm talking about CamScanner. ;)
  • This is a really good and useful app. Especially with the OneNote and camera integration. This is the sort of stuff that made me buy a Windows Phone. There is something very interconnected to this app that I just love.
  • Tried it and had a little difficulty in manual cropping compared to camscanner. Camscanner has a magnified view of the area you're working on since it is covered by your finger as you crop. But I'm keeping it for other features esp. OneNote integration. I'm a bit sad for evernote though.
  • Why can't find OCR?
  • Pretty nice, but that Cropping mode for Photos, compared to the normal default way of the Phone, is seriously messed up.
  • Confirmed the ap works like a charm awesome not please Microsoft give me unlimited pictures to add for each project. There is a limit of 10 pictures for sections
  • And for those can't find notes look in recent in one note
  • How does OCR work with this app??
  • I just finished a conf. call with Bill, Steve and Satya, and they'll get back to me about how to use the app - stay tuned...
  • Icon looks like a red version of Lync.
  • I really like it, just wish there was a way to add photos to an existing note, better still - to a specific existing note in a workbook of my choice.
  • Found it very useful just today :) I like the cropping way :)
  • It seems it causes a massive battery drain, on my phone at least (L920). My discharge rate was constantly at 4% and I hadn't used my phone at all for 7 or 8 hours apart from checking teh battery. After I uninstalled it, it went back to 0.20% after two hours of not using the phone.
     
  • If you dont use your phone at all, it saves a lot of battery ;-)
  • Hehe, true, but you've missed my point.  
  • Just joking. Its an interesting observation. I can't explain it, I will keep an eye on my own usage though.
  • works WELL!!!! very pleased!!!... 
  • It needs a great deal of improvement.
  • waw I like, but the question is if the OCR is enough powerful or not   ________________________________________________ galaxy note 3 galaxy note 3 prix