If you collect business cards, you’ll want a way to organize their information—and typing it into a database by hand doesn’t cut it anymore.
By M. David Stone
No matter what you do for a living, odds are that if you meet with clients or prospective customers, you exchange business cards and slowly (or not so slowly) build a list of contacts. You may even have a stack of cards sitting on your desk right now, waiting for you to type the names, addresses, and phone numbers into your contact database. Or maybe you don’t let them accumulate—probably because you’ve already discovered the joys of having a business card scanner.
Business card scanners, and the software that comes with them, aren’t perfect, but they speed up the job of converting business cards into searchable contact information. Some of the more expensive models, notably the CardScan Executive, come with software that does an excellent job of recognizing text and parsing the information into the right fields in your database. But even the less accurate—and less expensive—packages are good enough to make the process of scanning plus correcting errors faster than typing. They’re also a big improvement over using a flatbed scanner, which can confuse the software if two cards are touching, and is a pain to use.