In my continuing quest to go paperless this year, I decided to finally attack my growing pile of business cards. I had known that ScanSnap has a business card scanning application for some time now – CardIris for Mac and CardMinder for PC – but frankly had been a bit intimidated about starting to use it. But when my business cards didn’t fit in my tidy business card holder anymore, and I realized that many of my valuable contacts were just sitting in a box unused, I figured it was time to test out yet another of the wonders of the ScanSnap. It was a lot easier that I expected. The actual scanning part, as usual, is a “snap.” The business card just zips in and you can choose to scan one or both sides of the card (depending on your model of ScanSnap).
But the real beauty of CardIris (and CardMinder) is that not only can you export the data from the business card into many different formats, including vCard, Address Book, Outlook, Excel and Entourage, but you can keep the original image of the card in the CardIris application as well. That way, if you are a visual person (as many of my clients are) who can remember people more easily when they are associated with particular images, you will still have their business cards to remind you of them. CardIris also lets you type in notes that you may have jotted down on the card itself. Of course, with the growing creativity of business card graphics these days, sometimes I found myself having to enter printed data that the card reader didn’t recognize. But I would say that it got the information correct more than 80 percent of the time. And it was amazing to just press “export” and find all the data go straight into my Apple Address Book without any added effort on my part. I will definitely be teaching my organizing clients who own ScanSnap scanners how to use this great application and encouraging those who don’t to get it!
Penny Catterall is a professional organizer based in the Washington DC metro area who specializes in working with women-owned small businesses, helping them to achieve greater efficiency and profitability by developing and implementing organizing systems that are tailored to their specific needs.