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Microsoft’s Office Lens app turns your iPhone or Android phone into a powerful scanner

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Microsoft is bringing one of its impressive Windows Phone apps to iOS and Android today. Office Lens is effectively a portable scanner in your pocket, allowing you to capture pictures of whiteboards, documents, and receipts to save and edit them digitally. While many apps like Scanner ProScanbot, and even Evernote already exist, Microsoft’s unique offering here is Office integration.

Office Lens will covert images into Word and PowerPoint files, and even PDF documents. If you take a picture of a document then Word will preserve the layout of the paper document and use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the image into text. You can also do the same with business cards to generate contacts on a phone. If you’ve taken a photo of a whiteboard then there’s some truly powerful things Office Lens will do. Images can be automatically cropped and rotated, and PowerPoint will even convert hand-drawn whiteboard images into objects that can be moved, resized, colored, and edited fully.

Office lens

If you’re taking pictures of receipts, business cards, menus, whiteboards, or even sticky notes then Office Lens will automatically crop, enhance, and clean up the image and export it to OneNote or OneDrive as a JPEG image, or Word, PowerPoint, and PDF document. Microsoft is launching an iPhone version of Office Lens today and a preview of the Android app until it's ready to roll out broadly to the Google Play Store. It’s the latest example of Microsoft’s focus on iOS and Android apps, or as the company calls it: mobile-first.

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