Scanner in Your Pocket

I remember my first scanner. 

It was huge and connected to my computer via an RS-232 connection.  My memory is probably not perfect but I seem to recall the lights in the room dimming when you pressed the scan button and the scanner first warmed up and then did the actual scanning.  It was fairly noisy and, of course, I had to try scanning at least once with the lid open to see how bright the light was and it was also neat to see the ribbon cable move back and forth with the scanning light.

For a computer consultant, this technology was a gateway to a whole bunch of other things.  We used it to teach about PDF file creation, integration with Adobe Photoshop Elements, include source documents in Hyperstudio, scan student work to email, ….

Time and technology changes. I remember a portable device that plugged into your computer via a USB connection.  In this case, the document moved, not the light.  Today, where space is a precious commodity, my scanner is also a printer and a photocopier and sits off to the right on my desktop.  The connection is still USB but the speed and quality of the output is pretty impressive.  It works really well if I have the document I wish to scan right here with me. 

But the modern scanning person wants more.  Is there an app for that?

Yep.  (If there wasn’t, this would be a pretty pointless blog post)

Check out Office Lens from Microsoft.

It comes as no surprise that there’s integration with Powerpoint, OneNote, and Word. 

Depending upon your source, you can toggle through Photos, Whiteboard, and Document modes to help get the most from the application. 

What’s unique about this is that the application is available for any phone device – Apple, Android, and Windows Phone.

It’s not the sort of application that you’re likely to use daily but it’s nice to know that you have that functionality in your pocket when you do need it.  Perhaps you’re going to a conference and want a better capture experience than just taking a photo of notes?  Or, you’re doing some brainstorming with a class on a whiteboard and want a permanent copy?  Or ?  Just think of all the times when you’re have to make a photo take the place of a professionally created document?  That’s when this application will be of its biggest value to you.

It seems to me that this is a definite keeper, particularly if you’re not an Evernote user.  Install it and just remember you have it when you need it.

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