A mobile device must have

A while back I wrote an article about how I use OneNote. You can find it here:

One of the ways I use OneNote

It showed how to get a personal OneNote notebook up and running with Office 365 and access it on all your devices. It also detailed the process that I use to create my shared ‘Daybook’ notebook which I basically use as a replacement for a traditional pad and pen.

One of the must have add-ons for OneNote in my books is Office Lens from Microsoft. The way Microsoft tout it is as a OneNote scanner for your pocket.

You start by downloading the Office Lens app on your mobile device:

Here for Android

Here for iOS

Here for Windows Phone

Once you have the app on your device you can use it capture things like business cards, white boards and even documents. To do this you simply use the Office Lens app to take a picture of the information. Once captured you can then save it in a variety of locations, including OneNote.


The way I use it is to capture expenses when travelling as you can see in the above screen shot. Here, I’ve taken a picture of a petrol receipt using Office Lens on my mobile and then uploaded that to my cloud shared OneNote notebook. This then makes that available to every device automatically thanks to the syncing wonders of OneNote.

When I return to my desktop, I can bring up the same OneNote notebook and view the receipt. Even better, I can use OneNote pages and sections to categorise the information so I know for example which trip it was part of. Even better, the information inside the receipt has been made searchable. Thus, as the highlight in the above screen shot demonstrates, I have searched for the text ‘invoice’ and OneNote found and highlighted that text inside the receipt (i.e. inside a picture I took on my mobile device!).

Can you imagine how much easier it would be to record all your casual receipts like this? Once they are captured with Office Lens, they can be uploaded to you OneNote notebook saved in the cloud. There they are not only backed up and saved, they are also searchable and easily ordered if required.

It really is amazing at how well Office Lens works with receipts and whiteboards. Combined with cloud based OneNote notebooks it creates a great system for not only capturing but also retaining and organising information for individuals and also for businesses. Image a system where travelling staff can capture their receipts directly into OneNote so they can be processed quickly by admin staff back in the Office.

Think of how much time it takes you or your staff to do paper based expense reports now. Think of all the space consumed by those paper expense reports. Also, what happens to the receipts after they have been processed? How long do they need to be retained for tax purposes? Many receipts are printed on thermal paper which fades over time. That is not good if they need to be retained.

Having a digital copy has so many benefits and combined with cloud based notebooks like OneNote, it can greatly increase the productivity of your staff and your business. The best bit is that both OneNote and Office Lens are already free and if you have Office 365 or OneDrive.com (also free) you can take advantage of cloud synced notebooks to share the information between devices or between a team.

So if you enjoyed my previous OneNote article and are using OneNote synched notebooks, now you can take your productivity to the next level by using Office Lens. You can get even more done in your day by making the capture, retention and sharing of information simple and digital.

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