Outlook Mobile Adds Office Lens

Introducing a Camera to Outlook Mobile for iOS

According to Microsoft’s Q3 FY19 results, Outlook Mobile is now used by over 100 million users. The iOS app gets even better with Version 3.21.0 with the integration of Microsoft’s Office Lens technology to give users the chance to take and include photos in messages. This is Office 365 roadmap feature 34352.

It’s not just a case of including camera capture capability. Office Lens, which began life as a Microsoft Research project, is turning up in multiple Microsoft iOS apps. Outlook, OneNote, and soon (or so we hear), Teams. The big selling point for Office Lens is its ability to sharpen and clarify captures of documents and whiteboards.The standalone app can then save the resulting capture in a PDF, PowerPoint, Word, OneNote, or an image file.

Using Office Lens to Capture Photos

The new capability shows up as a new camera icon in Outlook’s create message screen (Figure 1).

The camera icon in the Outlook for iOS create message screen
Figure 1: The camera icon in the Outlook for iOS create message screen

Clicking the icon brings you to Office Lens to capture the image you want to include in the message. Once you’re finishing capturing and editing the photo and exit Office Lens, the image is copied automatically into the message (Figure 2). It’s all very easy and natural.

An image captured by Office Lens in an Outlook message
Figure 2: An image captured by Office Lens in an Outlook message

This is a super-useful feature that I’m sure will be very popular with Outlook mobile users. I don’t have an Android phone to test and I couldn’t find a similar feature listed on the Office 365 roadmap (Office Lens is available for Android), so maybe there’s some added complexity that needs to be solved before the same feature appears in Outlook for Android.


Clients are covered in Chapter 10 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We like the Office Lens technology, but we don’t get down to that level of detail in the book, which is why it’s here.

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