Can you recommend some business card scanning software?
November 2, 2007 4:21 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend any Windows software which will OCR photographed business cards, store them in a searchable database and work with Outlook?

I'm sinking under a tonne of business cards and would like to scan them in. I know I could just go and purchase Cardscan which would do the job, but I don't really see the point in buying hardware when I have a perfectly good digital camera.

Plus, work won't reimburse me for the £130 that I'd need to pay for the solution (or the £50 if I got it from eBay) - and lets be fair about this - i'll be coughing up my own money just for something work related so I want to be prudent.

Can anyone make any recommendations on good business card scanning software? My requirements would be:

- Ability to batch load a large volume of card images
- High accuracy rate
- Keep original copy (or low res version) of the card image

I'm in two minds about where the information is held. I don't mind it being in the softwares database as long as it's good, does everything I need, is easily sortable and searchable and can export to Outlook.

On the other hand, I don't mind it just being Outlook, as long as I don't have to import everything into my default contacts folder. I have several hundred numbers and no need for them all to be synchronised to my phone and PDA.

I run Windows XP. I don't mind paying for the software.
posted by mr_silver to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
This always looked like a good idea. I've never tried it, but it sounds like it would help.
posted by kaydo at 4:43 AM on November 2, 2007

Most business card software comes bundled with card scanning hardware anyway. If you have hundreds of them, I can't imagine that photographing them with a digital camera will be fun at all. Every set up I have seen that scans documents to be OCR-ready involves mounting the camera on a special tripod and having a special surface for taking pictures of the cards.

These business cards, they are for business, right? That means presumably you have a job and things to do. Taking a photograph of 100s of cards will take you forever, dropping them in the card scanner will take minutes.

You're not going to save that much money, and you will spend gobs of time, doing this.

You might want to look into rather than the UK site. There are generally more products there and since most of them are from China anyway they will definitely ship to the UK. I saw some products -- possible in used condition but still fine I'm sure -- for around $75, or £37.50. If you're willing to bid rather than use Buy It Now, you could probably snatch one up for £20, which is about what you will pay for the software. we are. Not sure how good this product is, but this is a scanner + software for around £20 before shipping.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:48 AM on November 2, 2007

Also, the nice thing about the card scanner is you can just keep it by your computer all the time, and whenever you get a new card you just pop it in. With a digital camera solution you need to whip out the camera, take a photo, attach it to your computer and scan it in. So you'll probably be tempted to only do this intermittently and let the cards stack up, whereas with a scanner you'll have them in your contacts right away.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:50 AM on November 2, 2007

Scanr or Qipit may help you...
posted by sharkfu at 7:43 AM on November 2, 2007

I have CardScan and it has been a huge help, but it is not a fix all solution. You still have to go through and check every card after you scan it, particularly if they are unusual business cards or international. I imagine that the some of these card scanners have better or worse recognition technology and CardScan offers support, direct to Outlook transfer and may be a little pricey at first, but not outrageous. I support many people and can direct the cards to go into their contacts specifically so it is very useful. Just my two cents.
posted by Carialle at 10:47 AM on November 2, 2007

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