In the time since Microsoft launched Office Lens for Windows Phone in March 2014, it's become one of the most popular free Windows Phone apps, with more than 18,500 reviews giving it an average of 4.6 stars. Now, the capabilities of Office Lens will be available on iOS and Android devices.
Office Lens is a capture app that turns a smartphone into a pocket-sized scanner. Users can capture images of documents, including menus, receipts, whiteboards, and notebooks, and then save them to OneNote so they become accessible across all devices.
The tool senses where the document's edges are, then automatically crops and enhances the photo. For images with text, it identifies words through optical character recognition (OCR), so that users can search for keywords within the photo in OneDrive or OneNote.
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Images captured via Office Lens are inserted in OneDrive or OneNote in DOCX, PPTX, PDF, or JPG format. Users have the option to save, export, and share the pictures they store.
For paper documents and whiteboard content, Office Lens converts images into Word documents, PDF files, or PowerPoint presentations, so that they can be edited according to user preferences. It can also record the information on business cards and create contacts that can be stored in the phone.
The app is currently available for free on the Apple App Store. A preview version is available for Android phones on Google Play. To access the preview, Android users must first access the Office Lens Android Preview in the Google+ community, click "Join Community," then select "Become a Tester."
The Office Lens news is the latest in a series of announcements detailing the push of Microsoft services on iOS and Android products. All are seemingly part of CEO Satya Nadella's "mobile first, cloud first" strategy, and focus on delivering Microsoft software to as many devices as possible.
In 2015, Microsoft has already brought Office to Android tablets and Outlook to both iOS and Android devices. It also rolled out a preview of Office for Mac 2016, an Apple-compatible upgrade to its productivity suite that combines Windows and Mac interfaces with built-in cloud storage.
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