Nov 22 2016

OneNote and Office Lens – hidden gem or does everyone know?


This is one of those blog posts that I’ve thought about for a while, but worried that I was stating the bleeding obvious and so have put it off. I’ve used Office Lens and OneNote for so long now that I figure others must know about it and be using it? But if not then there are folks missing out on a really useful tool for anyone who needs to collate information from various sources (whiteboard write ups, projector screens, hand written notes on paper, printed documents, business cards etc). Given that law firms are mainly users of Microsoft Office and are now generally on smartphone platforms it’s a great combination for the lawyers.

So here we go.

Office Lens: This is a smartphone app for iPhone, Android and Windows 10 Mobile. Its purpose is to allow you to quickly take notes using the phones camera.

The app allows simple selection of some defaults (whiteboard, document etc) to set things up and then attempts to auto crop the content (and does a good job for most things). You can then fine tune this before accepting the photo, where the app then flattens and straightens up the image (so if you’ve taken the photo at an angle what you end up with is a nice flat image).


You can then email the document or import quickly into one of the key Microsoft Office apps, the most useful I have found being One Note. It’s a really quick way to collate notes together in a OneNote notebook. For scanned images where the text is machine readable OneNote then OCR’s the content and makes it searchable in the notebook. For business cards you can of course simply photo the card and immediately add the information directly as digital contact to mobile address books – there’s an article here on how to do this.

Best of all it’s totally free.


May 25 2009

Lost in Stockholm : the benefits of mobile applications


I suspect there are a number of organisations that lock their Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices down, stopping people installing applications on them. There are plenty of valid reasons for this, but there are some great applications that I think should be installed as default by all companies.

One of these is the Google Maps application (available for Windows Mobile and Blackberry), it’s especially useful if your devices have GPS chips in them (which a growing amount do).

I spent this last weekend in Stockholm with some friends, on one of the days we went our separate ways during the day and then arranged to meet up later.

I got a call about 4pm :

“We’re in a pub called The Londoner”

“Where is that?”

“Not sure, it’s just down from the Olympic Stadium”

“OK, do you know the street?”

“Nope sorry….”

There were some directions given at this point but as we couldn’t work out the starting point accurately I wasn’t hopeful!

Anyway the point of all this was to explain the benefits of Google Maps.

I fired up the application on my Windows Mobile device, the GPS located my position in a city I’d never visited before, I then used the integrated search function to find “The Londoner”. This searched was location aware and only searched for places and names near my location.

The description given showed I had found the correct place and from this point in the application it was a simple click to show directions and immediately highlight the path from where I was to the destination.

As soon as you move a little arrow shows your direction on the map so you can tell you’re heading off the right way.

The interface is extremely intuitive and on a 3G connection very quick, there is no jumping off into the mobile browser it’s all done in the Google Maps Application. And if the city has street view you can even access that on the mobile device.

Now clearly there is little business benefit of finding directions to a pub, but a travelling lawyer could use the app to easily find directions to a clients or the firms offices in a different city. There could even be savings if staff were encouraged to walk rather than jump in a taxi (which I bet is common when in a new city).

Now if only it integrated with your internal CRM systems ……