App of the Week, Featured
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App of the Week: Office Lens for OneNote, Bridging the Physical and Digital


by Minnia Feng MSEN Community Manager

In today’s classroom, many things may be digitized and live on a screen, but there’s still an undeniable value in the power of exploring ideas through writing. With inking, this was made possible in the digital realm, but what about if you’re leading a brainstorm session with your kids in class and capture some amazing ideas on a whiteboard or chalkboard that you don’t want to lose?

Enter Office Lens for OneNote.

With this awesome mobile app, you pretty much have a scanner in your pocket that not only captures but cleans up images to save in your notes. It’s a great way to digitize your classroom so you can save and organize physical notes and integrate them with your digital notes so they’re all in one place for you to access. Office Lens truly bridges physical and digital learning so there are no barriers to a comprehensive 21st century classroom, and we venture to say it even enhances that physical realm. The app trims, enhances, and makes pictures readable, straightening out weird angles in pictures and cleaning up shadows. All the images are automatically synced to OneNote (in fact, you can even choose which notebook you add it to).

Before and after Office Lens

Before and after Office Lens

As if that weren’t cool enough, when your picture includes printed text, OneNote on a PC can actually recognize the text with optimal character recognition (OCR) so you can search for words within the image, and even edit, copy, and paste the text into other documents and emails. The power of technology!

Office Lens has three modes, or settings, that help make your captures look their best:

  • With Whiteboard mode, glare and shadows disappear.
  • With Document mode, text is clear and easy to read.
  • With Photo mode, you can take pictures of people and scenery.

Teachers around the world have already been using Office Lens in their classes, especially for science and math class projects.

“We have seen educators using Office Lens and its ability to create digital versions of hard copy documents, especially textbook pages, organizing them within the class notebook and searching page text easily in OneNote. Students love to use Office Lens with their built in cameras on their phones or tablets for class projects, like capturing their lab experiment for labeling in OneNote,” said teachers at both St. Thomas School and Cincinnati Country Day School.

To all of our Fresh readers- have you tried Office Lens? How do you typically organize all your physical notes?


  1. S.Sriram says

    This App seems to be good. I am going to try working on it. This is be a great value add to classroom teaching at School where smart boards are used. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I am using Office Lense a lot, cause my students do not have a tablet-PC, but with Office Lens I can easily put in their work into our OneNote-Class-Notebook by just taking a picture of their handwritten examples. (As a math teacher I have to rely on pen-and-paper)

    • Hi there,

      What is the error message you are getting? The app should be free so you don’t need to buy it, just download…do you have a Windows Phone?


  3. Susana Petroni says

    La utilizo y es muy buena para tomar notas a las distintas clases que desarrollamos o bien la podemos usar cuando asistimos a congresos, capacitación, charlas, ect. Muy productiva

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