Office Lens update allows you to create Office documents with your Windows Phone camera

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Today’s post was written by Yu Ukai, program manager with Office Lens team in Japan.

I’ve often heard that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and with today’s update to the Office Lens app on Windows Phone, such a translation is actually possible!

Office Lens is a great app for capturing whiteboard notes and paper documents and saving them in OneNote. Today it got even better with the ability to convert pictures of whiteboard notes and paper documents directly into Word documents and PowerPoint presentations—that you can edit, author and edit again.

Converting hardcopy documents into Word files

Take a picture of your hardcopy document using your phone and tap Save. A new Word document is automatically saved to your OneDrive, so you can access it on any device.

Office Lens word

Don’t have the original document? Need a way to copy and paste from a handout, textbook or poster? Office Lens can do that for you.

For students, if you’re on your way to class and you notice a typo in a printed paper you’re about to hand in, just take a picture of it using Office Lens and convert it into a new Word file. You can then make the changes on your device and print it again when you get to campus.

Converting pictures from whiteboards into PowerPoint files

If you’re in a meeting and your marketing manager jots down a great storyboard idea for the big client you’re going to see next week, take a picture of the whiteboard using Office Lens and convert it directly into PowerPoint. Present the PowerPoint as is or edit the slide and embellish it with a few more great ideas.

Office Lens whiteboard

Office Lens doesn’t just take a picture and import an image into a Word or PowerPoint file. The final Word and PowerPoint documents are real Office documents.

For Word, Office Lens recognizes the text and the document layout. All the text, formatting and layout in the Word document is preserved. Images of typed text become fully editable—just like you authored it at your desk.

For PowerPoint, all the handwritten lines and strokes are transformed into PowerPoint drawing objects that can be recolored, resized, repositioned and edited. That great infographic or sketch from one presentation can now be reused in other presentations.

And all Word and PowerPoint files are automatically saved to OneDrive, where they can be opened and edited from any device or even in your browser.  That document scanned in class or a meeting can then be edited by classmates or colleagues when you share with them via OneDrive.

You can see how all these new features in Office Lens work in the following video:

If you haven’t installed Office Lens on your Windows Phone, you can download it for free.

Once you have installed Office Lens, try printing and using Office Lens with the example Word and PowerPoint documents attached below to get an understanding of how it works.

Office Lens Word Sample

Office Lens PowerPoint Sample

We hope you enjoy Office Lens for Windows Phone. Please let us know in the comments how you use the app and what you think. We love hearing all your great feedback and we use it to improve the app in the next release!


—Yu Ukai


  1. Does this update still allow you to send captured images directly to OneNote?

    If so, I noticed in the last version that you can now specify which OneNote section to save to, which was a great addition, but you can only specify OneNote notebooks that reside on OneDrive. I keep my OneNote notebooks on OneDrive for Business (ODfB). It would be great if I could save directly to those notebooks, instead of always having to move images from the OneDrive default notebook to my ODfB notebook.

    • Hi. I’m Yu, Program Manager in Office Lens team.
      We’ve been getting same feedback from several users and we’re aware of the needs.
      Thank you for your feedback and your patience.

  2. Amazing 🙂
    can you in the next update make an option to save it to onenote but as a object (not as pictures) like the way you convert it to PowerPoint (not as a pictures)

    • Hi alisaad619. I’m Yu, Program Manager in Office Lens team.
      It sounds good idea to me. I’ll think about technical/business possibility.
      Thank you for your feedback.

    • Hi mbuckinghan.
      As of now, Office Lens is only available on Windows Phone.
      On the other hand, Office Lens can be used in OneNote for iOS as a camera feature. Please use it if you own iPhone/iPad.
      Thank you for your feedback.

  3. This is a FANTASTIC capability. I greatly appreciate the effort. The one thing that would make it perfect would be adding saving to .pdf on OneDrive and local file system on phone(Phone or SD card) (That, and OneDrive OCR of .pdf, which is probably out of your lane).

    • Thanks jobber111.
      Yes. We’ve been hearing the feature request from several users.
      I’d appreciate if you could let me know WHY you’d like to save the file as PDF.
      Is there anyone who wants to have the ability?


      • I would also like to see the ability saving documents to .pdf.
        The reason why is, that I need often to send theese scans by email as an attachment. jpeg.-attachment are often blocked by spamfilters, so it would be better to send them as PDF.

      • I get printed forms all the time that I need to fill out and send back. Or store and maybe share later. If I am on the go, there is no MS tool to first “scan” the form, but then fill it out or “sign” it. Some folks use Office, some folks use Google Docs (that messes word docs more often that not). Sometimes, folks use Lotus for email, that doesn’t even preview word docs. PDF works for everyone. Every os, every phone can view it. Not everyone can open word doc or whatever OneNote saves in. I am curious more why you think it wasn’t a feature worth including (probably MS managers “not invented here” issue?) I honestly hope you guys add ability for export to PDF into OneDrive. I am puzzled at this omission that seriously cripples an otherwise decent tool.

        I feel like this about many MS tools: Oh great tool, how do I use “fill basic function that every other OS supports” .. oh, I can’t. Example: “How do I attach a document to an email” in WP? Oh, I can’t. wow! How do I scan and share a document in PDF? Oh, I can’t.

        The other major feature i hope you guys add is edge zoom. When I am trying to align the edge manually to a document, CamScanner will show a zoom picture that’s not under your finger, with a little + that lets you see where the edge touches the document’s edge. SUPER easy to align. Would be great if you guys added that.

  4. Omg ! this is amazing feature. Thanks for sharing because i am not aware of this functionality !

    • I’m glad to hear your excitement! Please enjoy the feature and give us your feedback.

  5. Is it possible to delay upload of the images and Documents created by office lense until my WP is connected to WiFi. I have just uses 10Mb on two test documents, this will make a big dent in my mobile data allowance?

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