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Microsoft Lens gets a hot new feature — the Office app can 'read' your handwriting

Microsoft Lens
Microsoft Lens (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Lens, formerly Office Lens, is a useful Office app that lets users take photos of text-filled content and convert them into PDFs, editable Word documents and more. For example, you can take a picture of a textbook page, save it as a PDF in OneDrive and review it later for an upcoming exam.

Now, Microsoft is adding an extra feature to the Lens app: handwriting recognition. Yes, Microsoft Lens will be able to convert your legible writing (sorry, chicken-scratch scribblers) into text, thanks to an upcoming update.

Microsoft Lens

Microsoft Lens (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Lens will have a new OCR handwriting feature

If this is your first time hearing about Microsoft Lens, you're not alone. The app has been around since 2016 among Microsoft 365's other stable of apps, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel. However, according to PCMag, due to the Redmond-based tech giant's "labyrinthine marketing," Lens hasn't received enough visibility among the masses.

Microsoft hopes to win over more customers by adding a new OCR handwriting feature to the app. Lens will be able to recognize English handwriting and transform it into digital text. "You will be able to transcribe handwritten notes into text to simply add them to your documents," Microsoft said in a press release.

Microsoft Lens

Microsoft Lens (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft will be able to implement its handwriting-to-text magic on whiteboards, notes, letters, to-do lists and other non-typed content. You no longer need to waste time transferring your notes onto a word processor. With a quick scan, Microsoft Lens will do all the work for you. 

Lastly, the Redmond-based tech giant made the Lens app more useful for Microsoft Teams users. Using Microsoft Lens, you can now record short videos and annotate them with emojis and text. You can also use basic video-editing tools and add live filters.

Microsoft Lens

Microsoft Lens (Image credit: Microsoft)

According to Microsoft, the new features will be available in the Lens app by the end of the first quarter.