Microsoft Lens|PDF Scan

Last modified
Thursday, February 11, 2021

Description of App

Office Lens trims, enhances, and makes pictures of whiteboards and documents readable. Office Lens can convert images to editable Word, PowerPoint, and PDF files.

Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket. Like magic, it will digitalize notes on whiteboards or blackboards. Always find important documents or business cards. Sketch your ideas and snap a picture for later. Don't lose receipts or stray sticky notes again!

- Capture and crop a picture of a whiteboard or blackboard and share your meeting notes with co-workers.
- Make digital copies of your printed documents, business cards, or posters and trim them precisely.
- Printed text will be automatically recognized (using OCR) so you can search for words in images and copy and edit them.

- With Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glare and shadows.
- With Document mode, Office Lens trims and colors images perfectly.
- Pictures can be saved to OneNote, OneDrive, or your preferred cloud storage.
- Choose to convert images to Word (.docx), PowerPoint (.pptx), or PDF (.pdf) files that are automatically saved to OneDrive.



Free or Paid


Apple Watch Support

Not Known

iOS Version


Device(s) App Was Tested On


Accessibility Comments

App is completely accessible, though will require some time to familiarize oneself with the app and exporting it to Microsoft Word for reading an OCR version of the image.

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling

All buttons are clearly labeled.


The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments

App has great potential to become the best OCR app solution when coupled with Microsoft Word.

Developer's Twitter Username



3 people have recommended this app

Most recently recommended by Tim Hornik 5 years 8 months ago



Submitted by peter on Thursday, April 2, 2015

Okay - Based on your description, I decided to try out this app. Thanks.

I took a ppicture of a document but couldn't figure out how to do the OCR. I did manage to export to Microsoft Word (which is also on my iPhone), but I don't see any text.

What is the trick here?

Thanks again.


Submitted by Tim Hornik on Thursday, April 2, 2015

In reply to by peter

Here is a quick tutorial based on testing the app today.

• Open Office Lens and make sure that Document is selected
• Align your iPhone above the document and double tap take picture
• Office Lens will begin its process for capturing the image, and announce processing complete when done
• Next screen is the image, so I have simply double tapped on Done in the upper right corner
• Next screen is the export options, which is limited to Microsoft services, so I have been selecting Word, though Power Point, PDF, and cloud services are listed
• Next screen sounds like the actual OCR and transfer process to Word
• Find the document, for Word, it will simply state Word Document and a numerical time/date stamp as the file name, and double tap that
• At this point the actual switch to Word occurs
• You should now be in the Word app, with the text of the document in the middle of the screen, if successful.

Submitted by alex wallis on Friday, April 3, 2015

does this app offer guidance when taking pictures? any thoughts on how results compare with knfb reader?

Here is a comparison video I did and posted on Youtube. Understand that this is only the video and audio output from the iPhone 6, and not narration or anything anything else. To summarize the video, here is a list of what I did:

• KNFB Reader alignment, image capture, OCR, and playback of a document
• Office Lens image capture and export to Word, and read through Word. Additionally, I skewed the image by rating my iPhone 45 degrees, and still received roughly 98% accuracy
• KNFB Reader re-demonstration at same skewed image at Office Lens, with similar accuracy results.…

The two main legs up I will give Office Lens over KNFB Reader is the export options to Word, Power Point, and PDF formats, which is more useful than text and rich text formats, imo. The second is that thus far I have achieved similar results at no cost, compared to the cost of KNFB. Thus far I have not had any issues with taking pictures and having perfect to near perfect recognition without any alignment, whereas I never had any success with Prismo, Text Grabber, and other services.

Its because of this I am looking for additional user reviews and reports, cause it seems way too good for the small batch samples I have done. However, this app is coming from Microsoft's research team, and hints at an interest in Microsoft creating inclusive technological solutions.

Submitted by AnonyMouse on Friday, April 3, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The OCR results is rather impressive from the observation I've done with it. I've taken a few utilities bills that I received today and gave them a scan. All came out very well and easy to read.

The downside is that you can't simply use this to scan and get the results right there on the spot. As I would also expect it doesn't give any indication of how you are aligned with the document. That part doesn't surprise me that there aren't any kind of hints provided. However it does rather well in the different angles. So it doesn't have to be perfectly align to get a good result.

As mentioned above. Once you done a scan. You are directed to how you want to export the results. Most are simply JPG unless you choose to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint or PDF. You will need to use the Microsoft Word to get the OCR results as. From here it will save to your Microsoft OneDrive.

If you have the Microsoft Word for iOS installed. It will launch you right in to that app and show you the results. This is where it has some issue for me. Some reason the results that I got were hard to navigate with in the document. Not sure if it was just me or there is an accessibility issue. It is possible it was the type of document that I was scanning. I'm not certain.

What I do know is when I just use the Microsoft OneDrive for iOS app instead. I get a better results in being able to read the document easily. It will ask if you want to download the Microsoft Word for iOS but you can skip this and it will use the internal document viewer instead.

So there are a lot of steps one would have to do to get the results of the OCR scan. I sure would like to the option to view the results without having to save it to Microsoft Word first. Besides the dog tricks you have to do. The results are rather impressive and I've seen great results with it.

It is FREE after all. So you have to expect that. This is not a Prizmo nor a KNFBReader by any means. This is Microsoft way of getting you to use their iOS products. You will have to use their apps to get this to work and it is not a 1 2 3 easy step as you would expect it to be. It works well but there are just simpler ways in using other products to get the OCR results in an easier manner.

Submitted by J.P. on Friday, April 3, 2015

After testing; my thoughts are as follows.

1. KNFB has an easier interface for a blind individual. It also allows more choice with export.

2. Office Lens has an impressive OCR engine. It lacks guidance, but was fairly easy to use. The big downside is it can only work with Microsoft products. The design is a little clunky, but good results. I like the text format saving options with this app over KNFB. I also prefer the Microsoft voice, but that's personal preference.

Submitted by Diego on Friday, April 3, 2015

Hello everybody!
Is there any way to save the document without connecting to Microsoft account?

Submitted by Humberto Avila on Friday, July 17, 2015

I am not sure if this is specifically an iPHone 5c issue, or it is because I am not using the latest Apple hardware, but after I launch this application, then scan a picture of the document I want to read, and then selecting "Word" as my export option, I get a screen, and after about 1 second later, my iOS becomes so frozen, I cannot double tap, explore, or swipe anywhere. Also VoiceOver does not talk.
I thought that maybe it was the process for OCR that's freezing my iDevice, but I have waited already twice about 10 minutes today after testing the app for the first time scanning a printed document with it. I had to press the home button, and that unfroze my iPHone, and took me to the home screen and everything was normal. I went into the office lense app, and it started as if I did not do anything. then I went to my oneDrive account, and I saw a folder called "Office Lense" on my documents folder, which had a bunch of word documents with exactly the same dates and times stamped as their filenames, with absolutely no contents in them.
Is there anything I am doing wrong? Or is the Office Lense app not compatible with the iPhone 5c already?

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