Finding text in OneNote images

by Volker Weber


This seems to be difficult to believe, but OneNote really does find text in images. OCR is done in the cloud. If you can't get it to work, just follow my simple steps. Open OfficeLens and take a photo:


Although I did not frame the document correctly, it irons it out. Now save the document to OneNote:


It will default to just a generic title and I will leave it at this. No tags, no folders, nothing.


Open OneNote and type some text into the search field. Here is my document:


So it may not work for you, but it certainly does for me. This should not be news, since I posted a video more than a year ago:


I want to give OneNote and Office Lens another try since you wrote that OCR works.

So far the experience is not great. Office Lens is pretty laggy on my iPhone 6S and it crashes every time I try to delete a scanned document :(

Thomas Einwaller, 2016-08-24 11:53

You can handle all your analogue mail via OneNote this way (at least if you trust "the cloud"). When using reminders, it can become a quite handy and powerful mail management tool.

Mathias Ziolo, 2016-08-24 12:01

It always worked like a breeze for me...

Ingo Seifert, 2016-08-24 12:16

Is there, or will there be, a PC version of Office Lens for Windows 10, for example for use on the Surface 3? Or is Office Lens restricted to mobile platforms?

Jochen Kattoll, 2016-08-24 13:23

Why would you need that? Phones have much better cameras than Surface. And those scans show up on Surface anyway.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-24 13:28

If the app is not supported by your phone's dying operating system ...

Jochen Kattoll, 2016-08-24 13:43

Uh oh. Well, you know what I would recommend.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-24 14:40

I can imagine ... :) Love my Z30 and BB10 though, Android is in the family but nothing for me, and I don't like the size of the iPhones. 4.7'' is too small for my eyes and the Plus is too bulky. Can't Apple release a 5 to 5.2'' iPhone or press the 5.5 one into a smaller body like the S7 Edge?

Jochen Kattoll, 2016-08-24 15:12

Mr Volker. I am sure this Microsoft company are employing hundreds of artists to quickly draw your diagram in PowerPoint? Otherwise what you demonstrate is surely magic?

Ian Bradbury, 2016-08-24 15:47

Certainly looks like magic, doesn't it? If you look closely, you will see that it makes the line longer, but not the arrow head. I have a follow-up video, which shows that you can change the line width and the color and also demonstrates that the background isn't white but transparent.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-24 16:06

Some years ago in the office we used Mimio whiteboard technology - at the time it was like magic. Being able to save what you had drawn as an image seemed like magic. Today I'd likely laugh at how clumsy the whole set up was.

The Office Lens app is that same type of capability made usable and useful.

Ian Bradbury, 2016-08-24 16:38

I'm a big fan of using OfficeLens to take pix of whiteboards. It does amazing things to make it easier to read. Didn't know about the OCR stuff though. I wonder how that works with whiteboard stuff...hmmmm.....

Amy Blumenfield, 2016-08-24 17:31

Amy, this is terrible marketing if you of all people don't know about OCR in an Office product. Terrible.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-24 17:34

One thing I miss in OneNote compared to Evernote is the possibility of searching in pdf / word documents and yes I know the workaround of using the print to OneNote function.

Bernd Hoffmann, 2016-08-24 21:13

What happened to the filesystem? Do you also store your music collection within Evernote?

Volker Weber, 2016-08-24 22:39

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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