Office Lens

I’ve got a great idea for an app. I think it will be really useful for business users. I sell my own range of hardware, but, do you know what? I’m going to ignore that and put all of the really good functionality for business users on the version that works on my competitor’s hardware.

That would never happen, right?


In my day job as IT Manager at Crittall Windows, I am constantly searching for opportunities to improve communication and collaboration between our mobile team, and their office-based colleagues. It could be to monitor progress on site, to validate payments to sub contractors, to calculate how much we should be charging the customer, or to record quality issues for technical advice.

When Microsoft brought out Office Lens I thought it would find a home in the tools used by our site team.

Office Lens is a great app which can be used as a camera, document scanner, business card scanner, and whiteboard scanner. The images created can be stored as a page in a OneNote NoteBook on OneDrive, and/or in a OneDrive folder as Jpg, PDF, Word Document or Powerpoint Slide.

As a company, We subscribe to Office 365 which provides functionality to store and share files in the cloud using OneDrive for Business. So, it is possible to upload documents and photographs/images to OneDrive for Business, and share them with our colleagues, or with people outside our business.

As Office 365 users, we made the decision to use Windows Phones to provide seamless integration between platforms. There may be more apps available for iOS and Android, but the key ones we need are available for Windows Phone.

Here’s the thing…

The Microsoft product Office Lens works better on iOS than it does on Android or Windows. Office Lens on Windows Phone, and Android is only capable of using a Microsoft Account, not an Office 365 work account, but the same app for iPhone/iPad can use Office 365.

The frustration I felt was compounded by Microsoft’s recent announcement that they will soon be reducing the size of the free cloud storage available with a Microsoft account from 15GB to 5GB, and that the bonus storage given when turning on auto upload of photographs to OneDrive would also be removed.

The official word from Microsoft is that they will release Windows and Android versions of Office Lens which will work with an Office 365 work account, but they will not give a release date.

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