If you allow Microsoft Lens to evaluate the content, only scans can be retained

If you allow Microsoft Lens to evaluate the content, only scans can be retained

Tech Highlights:

  • When you try to save a scan in Microsoft Lens, you may get an error message, depending on how you configured the privacy preferences. The error “Use Office connected experiences” reminds users that the document can’t be saved if the feature is turned off. What may set of the alarm bells for some is that the feature allows Microsoft to analyze the content. When you check the privacy preferences, you find “Experiences that analyse content” under Connected Experiences. Scanned documents can’t be saved to other formats, including PDF but also Office formats such as Word, if the privacy feature is not turned on.

  • Microsoft Lens is a document scanning and converting app for Google Android that is free to download. One of its key functions is to take images of documents or whiteboards, edit them, and save them in one of the many supported formats. Content is analysed by Microsoft Lens The software is simple to use, and it only takes a few touches to digitise anything on a whiteboard, printed documents, or handwritten notes. Lens is compatible with Microsoft Office formats such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, as well as PDF and a few others.

It is unclear for how long this has been a requirements in the app. User comments suggest that the change landed in November 2021 or even earlier. The explanation that Microsoft gives doesn’t reveal why the feature needs to be enabled for saving functionality:  Connected experiences that analyze your content are experiences that use your Office content to provide you with design recommendations, editing suggestions, data insights, and similar features. For example, PowerPoint Designer or Translator.

Scans are saved in the Microsoft Lens app, even if the connected experiences feature is turned off in the privacy section. The user experience is limited without save and conversion functionality, however, and while some users may not mind it, it may make the app unusable for others. The introduction of the change last year does not seem to have impacted the application’s rating in the Play Store, as it has a high rating of 4.8 out of 5 currently. Android users may check out alternatives, including Text Scanner or Adobe Scan, but these may be limited in the formats that they support.

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