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Microsoft Pix camera app now can snap documents, too

We're photographing more whiteboards and business cards now, so the camera app uses its AI smarts to do a better job.

Microsoft's Pix camera app can now detect when you're photographing a document, business card, or whiteboard and adjust the photo photo accordingly. A high-contrast background makes it easier for the app to find the borders.

Microsoft's Pix camera app can now detect when you're photographing a document, business card or whiteboard and adjust the photo photo accordingly. A high-contrast background makes it easier for the app to find the borders.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

We're using our phone cameras to photograph a lot more than friends and flowers. It's good for taking pictures of restaurant receipts, shopping lists, maps and other documents whose information we want tucked away in our pockets and cloud storage systems.

Which is why Microsoft just updated its free Pix camera app for iOS to understand when it's taking a photo of whiteboards, business cards and similar documents.

"Once the shutter clicks, the app uses AI to improve the image, such as cropping edges, boosting color and tone, sharpening focus and tweaking the angle to render the image in a straight-on perspective," Microsoft said in a blog post Thursday.

If you do a lot of this thing for work purposes, Microsoft recommends its related app, Office Lens. You could also use other apps like Adobe Scan, Dropbox and Google Drive. All those tools also work on Android-powered phones -- and they're more geared for making PDF documents that are often more useful than JPEG images.

Microsoft Pix is only on the Apple App Store for iOS-powered devices for now, but the company plans to release an Android version.

Pix uses artificial intelligence technology to pick and optimize photos and to apply a range of filters, and now it's got a new set of AI tricks for documents, too. Filters let you make them look like crumpled or lined paper, old-time yellowed parchment. You can also apply utilitarian changes, like turning them into grayscale documents or optimizing whiteboard images.