- The free Android app in Microsoft 365 is the most useful feature due to its scanner, making it easier to scan and create PDF files for sharing.
- The app lacks a warning when saving scanned documents with invalid characters in the file name, causing frustration and leading to lost scans.
- Microsoft 365 already has warnings for invalid file names in other features like Word and Excel, so it should be an easy fix to implement it in the scanner feature as well.
Microsoft 365 is a very useful suite of apps for many people, but even though I have a subscription, the thing I use the most is the free Android app, and the reason for is the scanner. I’m really glad we live in an era where almost any phone can replace a scanner, and it’s become so much easier to scan and create PDF files we can share with others. I’m in the process of moving, and there are a lot of documents involved, and this makes it a lot easier.
However, I recently came across a major problem with the Microsoft 365 Android app when scanning documents, and it was actually infuriating at the time. I attempted to scan four pages and lost them three times in a row with no indication of what the problem was, or that there even was one.
How I lost three scans made with Microsoft 365
Normally, when I scan documents with Microsoft 365, I don’t care that much for their names and leave the default format. However, as I wanted to make things simpler, I scanned this four-page document and wanted it to have the right name so I could share it. It referred to a bill for the months of September and October, which I indicated by writing “Sep/Oct.”
The keen-eyed among you may have already noticed a problem here — file names can’t have / or characters, something I didn’t think of at the time. Usually, any app or software — including Windows 11 on your laptop — where you try to save a file with an invalid name will tell you that the file can’t be saved with that name. But the Microsoft 365 app instead acts like the file has been saved, taking you back to the homepage without so much as an error message. But the file is nowhere to be found.
You may say that it was my error, and yes, of course, I can’t use an invalid file name. But a basic warning is the bare minimum you can expect. If the file can’t be saved, I should be able to try again. Instead, I was forced to scan the four pages all over again. To make matters worse, the first time I assumed there was some kind of glitch, so I just tried again. And when it failed again, I thought maybe it was because I was saving to OneDrive, so I tried another time, saving locally. So I had to scan this document four times because there was no indication of what the problem was. In fact, there was no indication there was a problem at all.
Microsoft 365 already has this warning elsewhere
What makes this even less logical is that the Microsoft 365 app actually does have a warning for this kind of situation. Try to create a Word or Excel file and rename it using invalid characters, and you’ll see it warn you that the file can’t be saved. But for some reason, the scanner gets no such thing, and if you make a misstep, that scan is gone.
Considering Microsoft 365 supports scans up to 100 pages, there’s a good chance that a simple mistake like this could cost you a lot of time spent making those scans. No normal user should have to memorize which characters can’t be used at the risk of losing all their work without warning.
This is definitely an easy fix, and I hope that my writing this is all it takes for Microsoft to fix it as soon as possible.