updated 04:35 pm EDT, Mon September 15, 2008
Practically everyone hands out business cards. Unfortunately, business cards can be easily lost or misplaced. To save this information, you could take every business card you get and retype this information into your favorite contact manager database. For an occasional card, this method is acceptable but if you need to handle multiple business cards on a regular basis, this method is clumsy and tedious. For a faster and easier solution, use the CardScan Executive.
This product is a combination hardware scanner and software database. The scanner connects to a computer using an included USB cable. Since the scanner receives power from a computer's USB port, there isn't a need for a separate power cord.
The scanner is small and light enough to place on a desk or take when you're traveling. With a size and weight roughly the size of a paperback book, the scanner can fit comfortably in any laptop carrying case. Without any moving parts, the unit is durable enough to be tossed, bumped, and dropped during the normal course of traveling. When you're ready to scan in a new business card, just plug it into the USB port of your Mac.
The scanner is small enough to carry anywhere
The scanner can read approximately 30 business cards a minute. Using the device is as simple as loading the included database program, sliding a business card into the front of the unit, waiting a few seconds, and pulling the card as it pops out the back.
Each time you scan a business card, a graphic image of that card appears in the software database (so you can view any unique logos or designs on the card). At the same time, the software's optical character recognition retrieves text off the business card and stores it in the appropriate database fields. By looking at the graphic image of a business card, you can verify and correct any information that the optical character recognition feature didn't store correctly.
To help you find recently added names and addresses, the program automatically creates three time categories: Today, Yesterday, and Past Week. If you know you added new information yesterday, just click on the Yesterday category to view all names you added at that time.
For more flexibility, the program also lets you assign contacts to a variety of other categories such as Friend, Customer, or Hot Contact. Such additional categories let you sort and view just the names of certain people you need at that moment.
If you need to send email to a contact, just click on a person's name and then click on the Send Mail icon at the top of the window. This opens your e-mail program with the contact's e-mail address automatically inserted as the recipient.
Click on a contact, then from the Card menu, chose the Display Map of Address command. Through your Internet connection, this command loads Google Maps in your browser, displaying a map of a business card's street address. From this map, you can type in your current location to get driving directions.
Besides displaying names and addresses, the database also provides Notes for typing additional information about a contact. For example, you might want to type a date when you should call back or a brief description of what you discussed with that person the last time you talked.
Besides scanning contact information from business cards, the database also lets you type information manually or import data stored in the vCards format, which most contact management programs can use. You can also export data in the vCards format or export directly into Address Book.
If you regularly receive business cards and need a fast way to organize them, the CardScan Executive may keep you from losing an important business card ever again. The $259.99 price of the scanner may seem steep, but with a 30-day money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose by trying the product. After you start scanning and saving your business cards, you may find the product invaluable.