Office Lens: how it works

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda

What Office Lens is for

Scanning documents, photos and other paper content via a scanner - when available - may not be an immediate operation. Microsoft Office Lens, in fact, it aims to simplify this operation by transforming any smartphone or tablet into a scanner: using the camera of the smartphone or tablet, in fact, this app allows you to digitize documents of various types, through a simple interface and full of useful tools for this purpose.


In detail, Office Lens allows you to merge multiple scans together to form a single file, to apply filters, enhancements and customizations on each of the images and to quickly export the resulting files as images, PDF documents, PowerPoint documents or Word documents.


Another interesting aspect of Office Lens is the possibility of using the system OCR (Optical Character Recognition), That is, the optical character recognition: by saving an acquisition in Word format or by opening the file with the integrated immersive reading tool, the app takes care of extrapolating the text from the image and making it available for viewing, copying and, possibly, even the modification.

Interesting, isn't it? So let's go straight to practice and find out how Office Lens works on all platforms on which it is available.

Office Lens: how it works on smartphones and tablets

Now that you understand what it is for Office Lens, it's time to explain how to use the app in question. To start with, I remind you that Lens is a free application, which can be downloaded from the Play Store or from alternative stores on Android and from the App Store on iPhone e iPad: here is everything explained in detail.


Android

If you are using a device animated by the operating system Android, after visiting the link I gave you a moment ago, tap the button Install and wait for the application to be transferred to the device.


When this happens, start Lens by tapping the button apri, or through the appropriate icon that, in the meantime, has been created on the Home screen or in the drawer of the device. Then tap the button Allow twice in a row, in order to grant the app permission to access the device's memory and camera.

Provide the necessary permissions, tap the button Start Scan, press the button NEXT (first time only) and choose if send optional data or not, by pressing the most appropriate key (I advise you not). Finally, tap the button Close, to access the capture screen.

If everything went well, Office Lens should show you the image framed by the camera, already ready for scanning. Using the options below, you can choose between different capture modes, depending on the content to be scanned: Document, Blackboard, Biglietto gives visit e Gallery.

To capture the framed image, tap the white circular button placed in the center of the screen; for some acquisition modes the use of the front camera is also available. If you prefer, you can also start the acquisition starting from an image already in memory, by touching the icon depicting a panorama


After taking or choosing the photo, work on the edges of the image, to define the area on which to work (if necessary); when ready, tap the button Confirmation and use the tools listed below for add a new photo when scanned, set the filters, crop, rotate o eliminate the selected photo; by touching the button (...) you will have access to a number of additional tools, such as thepen input or the tool text.


When finished, tap the button Done and use the next screen to specify the title to be assigned to the scan and the rescue path: in this situation, you have the possibility to export everything in the photo collection of Android, in the form of a PDF, or within the apps OneNote, OneDrive, Power point o Word, simply by placing the check mark on the option you prefer and then touching the button Save (You must be signed in to a Microsoft account to be able to export documents within the Office apps).

In the case of Word, in particular, the functionality will be enabled OCR (The optical character recognition): the resulting document will contain, in fact, the extracted text from the image. The same possibility is also provided by the Immersive reading tool: by touching the button Readin fact, an integrated text reader will open, through which you can read, select and copy the content that interests you.


iOS / iPadOS

If you want to install Lens on a iPhone or iPad, follow the link to the App Store I gave you at the beginning of this section of the guide, tap the button Ottieni / Installa, authenticate with Face ID, touch ID o password dell'ID Apple and wait a few moments for the application download and installation procedure to be completed.

Once started, make a few swipes to the left to view the app's welcome messages, remove the check mark from the box relating to thesending data for app improvement, tocca il pulsating Allow access / Allow access and authorizes the app to access the camera and device memory by tapping the buttons in sequence OK e Allow access to all photos.


Finally, choose whether or not to share the optional data with Microsoft (I recommend not) and tap the button OK, in order to access the main screen of the app. Even in the case of iOS and iPadOS, you can choose the acquisition mode you prefer, using the options below: Blackboard, Document, Biglietto gives visit or Gallery (based on the content to be acquired).

To capture the image framed by the rear camera, then tap on white circle which resides in the center of the screen; alternatively, for some modes, you can make the acquisition from the front camera, by touching the button depicting a camera with circular arrows, or import the content of a photo already in memory, by tapping on the icon depicting a panorama.

Once the photo is taken, use i BORDI highlighted to trace the contours of the photo, tap the button Confirmation and served buttons displayed below to make further adjustments - you can add another image to scan, apply some filters, crop the image and pressing the button Other, access additional tools for rotate the selected photo, delete it from the scan, overlay the pen writing or of the text.

When you're happy with the result, tap the button end and use the next panel to specify the title of the acquisition and the rescue path: you can save everything in the photo collection of the device, in the form of PDF file, within the Office apps (OneNote, OneDrive, Word e Power point), or share the file on Outlook, Mail of iOS / iPadOS or other apps.

Please note that by exporting the file inside Word, the optical character recognition (OCR) and only the text automatically detected in the acquisition will be saved; also it Immersive reading toolfinally, it allows you to "recognize" the textual parts of the photos taken: in this case, however, everything will be displayed in an integrated reader, giving you the only possibility to copy the text (without being able to modify it).

Office Lens: how it works on PC

At the time of writing this guide, Office Lens is also available on the Microsoft Store, in the form of an application for computers, tablets and other devices animated by Windows 10: to install it, follow the link I provided you a little while ago and click on the button Get, twice in a row.

The methods of use of Microsoft Office Lens for Windows 10 are quite similar to what has been seen so far for Android and iOS / iPadOS, however the software, in the desktop field, is being abandoned: the exporting functions of images in OneDrive, OneNote , Word, PowerPoint and PDF will stop working from January 1, 2021. Also from the same date, the application will no longer be available for download on the Microsoft Store. More info here.

Office Lens: how it works

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