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Business Card Scanning for PC (OUTLOOK 2010) or Samsung phone.

Posted on 2014-01-21
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Last Modified: 2014-01-22
What are some effective ways to scan business cards into Outlook 2010 contacts?
Should I do it directly from the PC?  
Should I do it from my Samsung smart phone?
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Question by:brothertruffle880
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39796989
I purchased a scanner a while ago and it came bundled with a software package called Presto! BizCard 5. I see that version 6 is the latest and it supports Outlook:
http://www.newsoftinc.com/products/product_page.php?P_Id=10

I tested it and it worked well, but then I wound up returning the scanner (for reasons completely unrelated to BizCard). So I stopped using the bundled software, but you may want to put BizCard on your short list of products to evaluate...and they offer a 45-day free trial:
http://www.newsoftinc.com/download/download_style.php?P_Id=2&F_Id=2

For the other part of your question about an app for your Samsung smartphone, my suggestion is the ABBYY Business Card Reader for Android:
http://www.abbyy.com/bcr_android/

It comes in a full version and a lite version. ABBYY is among the best OCR packages out there. I have their ABBYY FineReader 11 Professional Edition, which is the latest version, and its OCR accuracy is excellent. I haven't tried the ABBYY Business Card Reader for Android, but based on the excellence of FineReader 11 Pro (and, in general, on the excellence of ABBYY's core OCR engine), this is another one that's worthwhile to put on your short list of products to evaluate. The thing I don't know about the Android version is if it plays nicely with Outlook. But it also comes in a Windows version that can handle 10 business cards at a time with a flatbed scanner and the specs say that it "allows you to export contact information directly to Microsoft Outlook and Salesforce":
http://www.abbyy.com/bcr_windows/

Here's a screenshot from the ABBYY website showing the ability to save to an Outlook contact:

ABBYY business card readerAnother one for your short list. Regards, Joe
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LVL 53

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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39798556
Your question about the Samsung smartphone app intrigued me, so I installed the Android version of ABBYY Business Card Reader Lite (free) on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I tried it on a few business cards and the OCR was very good, but not perfect (OCR rarely is). It creates a VCF file, which is great for Outlook, and it's easy enough to manually correct any errors made by the OCR. After taking the photo and performing the OCR, it offers a SEND menu where you may text it or email it. I chose email and it offers to include both the VCF and the JPG files. I selected both and they came into my email as attachments. Double-clicking the VCF attachment loaded it right up into Outlook as a Contact, including the image of the card – very nice! However, the Lite version includes only the name and one phone number in the record, which is of little value (although the OCR shows all of the fields that it processed, it won't load the other fields into the record). For all practical purposes, this is worthless, so you'll want the full version, which, fortunately, is just 10 bucks.

Whether or not this is a good tool for you depends on your usage. If you often get a single business card at a time, then it's OK. But if you're on the road a lot, especially at a trade show or conference, then this one-at-a-time technique is going to be cumbersome and I would suggest instead a flatbed scanner that can do many at a time – or a business card scanner that is made for this very purpose. I've never had a dedicated business card scanner (have always used a flatbed scanner or an ADF scanner with a clear plastic carrier for multiple cards), so I can't give you any advice on that front based on personal experience, but a web search for "business card scanner" will generate a number of hits to investigate.

Btw, when I found the ABBYY app in the store, Google Play showed a Presto! BizCard app (also free), which I didn't know existed for Android (it also showed other similar apps which you may want to experiment with). However, BizCard's accuracy was not as good as ABBYY's. Regards, Joe
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