Microsoft wants to help you to stop misplacing those random to-do lists, receipts, and other random bits of clutter that you accumulate throughout the day.
It’s bringing its Office Lens app to Android, which scans and digitizes such items into an orderly, editable digital file inside of a Microsoft Office application.
Its neatest trick uses optical character recognition (OCR), which recognizes handwriting and other text of scanned images. You can then search it later, which makes for a great way to find what you need from your handwritten notes. It can also scan business cards and turn them into a contact.
At the top of the app there’s a toggle to switch between documents, whiteboards, or photos to give the app information about what kind of object you’re taking a picture of.
The Android version of the app is in preview, which means you’ll need to sign up on Google+ if you want to check it out right away. To do so, head to the Office Lens Google+ page and click “become a tester.” Then you can go to the app’s page in Google Play and install it on your phone.
The sign-in process is a little backwards. You have to first take a photo and attempt to save it before you’re triggered to enter your Microsoft account credentials.
Once you get going, you’ll be able to save any image to OneNote, OneDrive, Word, PowerPoint, your phone’s gallery as a PDF.
Why this matters: Windows Phone has pitiful market share, so Microsoft is going cross-platform in its bid to make you an Office user. The Office Lens app complements OneNote and other Office apps in simplifying the process of saving important papers, notes, and ideas.