Microsoft Office Lens (or Office Lens, or Microsoft Lens) is a versatile digital tool which can be helpful in many situations in an educational context. A teacher may wish to quickly grab the text from a page of a printed document to edit, to annotate and to share with a class. Office Lens can do that. A learner may need printed text (whether from a page in a book or worksheet) read aloud with the words highlighted as spoken aloud – Office Lens does that. A learner may have a different home language and need some printed text translated – Office Lens can help with that too. And so much more, too!
A quick overview of Microsoft Lens
For a quick overview of Microsoft Office Lens watch this video by Kevin Stratvert. This video has a step-by-step tutorial showing how to use Microsoft Office Lens to trim, enhance, and make pictures of whiteboards and documents readable. The video helpfully has, in the notes of the video on YouTube, timestamps so you can just to the section you particularly want to see. So this includes: How to Get Microsoft Lens; Scan document; Apply filters; Export document; Immersive reader; Capture documents from other sources; Extract text from document; sharing to files; highlight of Microsoft Office lens incorporated in Microsoft Office app.
Convert printed text material to digital format
Using Office Lens – a quick step-by-step video guide by Matthew Haines aimed at learners in a school setting to show how to use the mobile app Microsoft Office Lens to take a photograph of a document (which might be a worksheet or anything which is text-rich) and convert it to a a digital version in the form of a PDF. This video shows how to download the app for Apple or Android devices, and the steps to taking the image, straightening up and cropping the image, and saving online (such as in your OneDrive) for sharing elsewhere such as email or a response to an assignment in Microsoft Teams.
Convert text from a physical source to digital – from a presentation you’re watching in a room to editable text on your mobile
If you’ve been sitting in a room watching a presentation by someone else, whether they are sharing PowerPoint presentation slides or handwriting on a whiteboard with a pen tool, Microsoft Office Lens lets you take a photograph of what you see on the presenter’s screen in front of you from any angle, straighten it up on your device, crop unnecessary material from around the part you want, and save it as an image but also where you can extract the text for editing (or adding additional comments or annotations to the side of the image in Word or OneNote, for example).
Watch this video by Frank Bergdoll on his Learning with Technology with Frank YouTube channel to see an illustration step by step of using Microsoft Office Lens for taking a photograph of a presentation in class and converting to digital form either for sharing, or adding annotations elsewhere. The video also later shows other features of Microsoft Office Lens too.
Using Microsoft Office Lens to take a photograph of an image containing text to hear that text spoken aloud as each word in turn is highlighted
Microsoft Office Lens has Immersive Reader built into the app so that once you’ve used the app to take a photograph of any physical object (such as a page in a book, worksheet, poster, or instructions stuck on a new gadget!) you can use the Microsoft Office Lens to then open the extracted text from the image in Immersive Reader. Immersive Reader reads the words aloud and highlights each word in turn. But far more than simply a read-aloud function, Immersive Reader also lets you change the size of the text, change the background colour, remove visual clutter, spread letters out, pick out parts of speech, break words into syllables, translate into other languages and even has a built in picture dictionary.
So whether it’s reading the essential (but often tiny!) setup instructions or safety messages on boxes of something you are using for the first time, or providing support for a learner who does not have the same home language as the class, Immersive Reader in Microsoft Office Lens can be a great help.
Watch the video below from Microsoft’s Mike Tholfsen which shows how to take a photo of a book with the free Office Lens app, use the automatic OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and send it to Microsoft Word. Then use Immersive Reader and Translate too inside the Word document
Watch the video below showing a learner who has used Microsoft Office Lens to take a photograph of the page of a book, convert it to readable text and (and with earphones in, in a classroom situation) listen to the text from the book read aloud (as each word is also highlighted as it’s read aloud)
Beancross Primary School teacher Mrs McLeish shared a visual guide for learners showing how to use the Microsoft Office Lens app to take a photograph of any text (such as a page in a book, instruction guide or worksheet) and have the text converted to read aloud, highlighting each word in turn in Immersive Reader
Rachel Berger shared the video below showing learners how to use the Microsoft Office Lens app to take a photograph of a worksheet, use the speech-to-text dictation feature to add answers and place on the worksheet, before saving the annotated file for sharing with the teacher
Fonz Mendoza illustrates in the quick video below how a learner can use the Microsoft Office lens app to snap a picture of printed text and convert to read-aloud text using Immersive Reader built into the app
Create a digital version of a table of data with Microsoft Office Lens
Microsoft Office Lens lets you take a photograph of a table of data and convert that into digital form. Kurt Söser illustrates in the video below the feature within Microsoft Office Lens app which lets you take a photograph of a table of data and convert it to a digital version
Creating a multi-page PDF of scanned images
Microsoft Office Lens lets you take a photograph of a page of printed or handwritten text and covert it to a pdf straight from the app on your mobile device. The Microsoft Office Lens app also lets you combine a number of scanned images into a single document, putting them in the sequence you wish and save as a single PDF file – handy for sharing as a single document rather than opening and closing multiple images.
This video Producing a multiple page PDF in Office Lens on the Mr Smith Physics YouTube channel takes you through step by step from taking photographs of handwritten work by a learner to converting to a multi-page PDF for sharing with a teacher.
Use Microsoft Office Lens app to take photographs of your handwritten work and upload to Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Office Lens app lets you to take photographs of handwritten work and upload to Microsoft Teams
This video How to Use Office Lens with Microsoft Teams shows how to get the Microsoft Office Lens app, to sign in with your school email address (so that it makes straightforward the sharing of the created scans of handwritten work to your OneDrive or Microsoft Teams)
How to share handwritten work with your teacher via email or OneDrive
Pupil Digital Ambassadors from St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School shared a video they had created providing the steps for learners to take a photograph of handwritten work and share with their teacher via email or OneDrive
How to share handwritten work with your teacher via OneNote Class Notebook
Pupil Digital Ambassadors from St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School shared a video they had created providing the steps to take a photograph of handwritten work and share with their teacher via OneNote Class Notebook
How to share handwritten work with your teacher via Microsoft Teams
This video by Microsoft’s Leif Brenne shows how learners can use Microsoft Office Lens built into Microsoft Teams to upload an image of handwritten work in response to an assignment set by a teacher in Microsoft Teams
Using translation feature to support those with another home language
Click on the link below for a helpful blogpost by teacher Jonathan Bifield highlighting how to use the Microsoft Office Lens app to support learners who have English as an Additional Language, and the different features for using the inbuilt Immersive Reader translation features https://ealdaylight.com/2020/03/14/microsofts-office-lens-immersive-reader-for-eal-learners/
OneNote and Microsoft Office Lens
Where can you learn more about Microsoft Office Lens?
Mobile Tools for Inclusive Classrooms – this is a free-to-download course on the Microsoft Educator Centre which provides teachers with how-to guides for both the Microsoft Translator app and the Microsoft Office Lens app, and how each can support learning and teaching. The downloadable PowerPoint presentation can be customised by a presenter to their school needs, and comes complete with notes for the presenter.
Introduction to Microsoft Lens – a landing page for support for the use of Microsoft Office Lens in use in education on the Microsoft Educator Centre. This provides quick links to how-to guides (in video and text forms) for Microsoft Office Lens as well as links to other resources
How-to guides on Microsoft Support site for Microsoft Office Lens for each device
Microsoft Office Lens for iOS – how-to guide for using Microsoft Office Lens on iPad/iPhone
Microsoft Office Lens for Android – how-to guide for using Microsoft Office Lens on Android phones/tablets