Use your phones as scanners


No, this is not about using your phones while you walk down the street, let alone while you are driving. Your phones however are wonderful little computers with processing power greater than what NASA used back in those days of Armstrong. Your phones have cameras that took pictures better than what professional photographers used 20 years ago. So why aren’t you using your phones to scan precious documents?

Do you meet a lot of people every day and collect troves of business cards? Thinking about where to store them (how about a warehouse?) is a problem altogether, but the bigger problem is how to access them when you need to. Scouring through index boxes of business cards is so Rolodex, which is so 1980 (some of us aren’t even born yet) – and so slow – and completely inaccessible to the mobile warriors. Did I say use your phones? Yes, use your phones.

I don’t mean having to manually key in contact details from business cards you receive, or to only take pictures of them and search for them on the camera roll. I mean to use an app like CamCard.

Just to let you know, I don’t get paid by asking you to use CamCard.

CamCard is a phone app – available both on Android and iOS – that captures an image of business cards and does its best to work out first names, surnames, email addresses, phone numbers, company names, designations, etc, and store them as contact details on your phone. They can also be exported to CSV files that you can use later. I tend to use this exported CSV for mail merge emails (click here for my post about effectively sending personalised emails by the hundreds using Mail Merge).

CamCard also helps store the photographed business cards and contact details on their cloud server. This means that you can also access contact details (eg, now what was that email address of Mr Jones from ACME Inc again?) via the web browser, instead of needing to flip out your phone from the pocket. And of course, it is easy to search for contacts by keywords.

Now is the text scanning from CamCard accurate? Mostly so, but I do find myself needing to manually correct them (especially when I encounter Asian names which are of different naming conventions to Western names). CamCard is not perfect, but it is very useful, and it is free.

If you’ve got time, stop by at CamScanner too, their other product. I use CamScanner for scanning receipts, which I would then export as PDF to my laptop, and later upload them to my company’s expense management site. I’ll probably write about CamScanner in another post.

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