The Office team have been doing some great work recently with adding new features to the Office suite of products, that are especially useful for teachers and students.
OneNote has been getting a lot of attention on mobile devices including for iOS, Android and Windows phones. For example, this week we released OneNote support for Android Wear watches (yep, you can appear to be a spy whilst you whisper into your wrist “Take a note. Buy paint from Bunnings”) and we also announced the Share extension for OneNote on iOS 8 devices (so you can clip a web page or photo straight into your OneNote notebook from your iPad or iPhone).
But that seems like nothing compared to what the Office Lens team have been up to.
What’s Office Lens?
Office Lens is a simple app that allows to snap a picture of a document, drawing, whiteboard etc, and it then frames it and pops it into your photos folder, and your OneNote, as a straightened, adjusted image. It’s ideal for students for lectures, or for staff at meetings, because if you take a picture of a whiteboard from an angle, it will straighten the image as though you were right in front of it. And because it pops it into your OneNote it means it’s automatically synced across your devices – take a picture with your phone, and see it in the OneNote on your laptop later.
Scan a scanned document into Word or PowerPoint
What the team released on Tuesday is an update of Office Lens for Windows Phone that now means that it goes even further. Now you can take an image, and it will turn it into a Word document or a PowerPoint slide. And not just a picture in a Word document, but it will actually do an OCR scan of the page, and drop the text and formatting into a Word document!
It will do the same for PowerPoint – take a picture of a diagram drawn on a whiteboard, and it will turn it into a slide where the individual hand drawn lines that make up the drawing can be edited as drawing objects. So if you want to change the colours, or the size, or remove a few stray lines, and add more details, you can do it. Even months after you’ve wiped it off the whiteboard!
Like any amazing technology, this is almost indistinguishable from magic!
To see it in action, take a look at the video below
If you’re always being given hand-drawn diagrams by teachers who want somebody to turn them into a PowerPoint slide, then it’s now a snap job to make it happen. I was talking to a university team who have a bank of people currently digitising learning resources for staff, to make them available online. This is probably their dream tool. And it’s free – all it needs is a phone and off you go. Hopefully that’s the end of document projectors in classrooms and lecture halls…