At a Glance
- Fast to scan cards, good text recognition, Address Book integration
- Can’t scan logos, struggles with horizontal layout and some abbreviations
This is a good labour-saving device that makes short work of a stack of business cards. A bit more intelligence regarding horizontal layout, and common abbreviations wouldn’t go amiss, but it’s quick to use and easy to make corrections. Instant Address Book syncing is also a bonus.
We admit to having mixed feelings about business card readers – we haven’t had much success with similar devices – but Dyno’s
CardScan Executive for Mac for Mac is pretty effective, so we decided to take a closer look.
We come back from press events and shows with armfuls of business cards. Obviously this means inputting details from hundreds of cards into a database. This process has only become more tedious with every additional piece of communication that’s evolved over the years: phone, address, fax mobile phone, email, IM account, URL, and these days even Twitter accounts are starting to appear on business card.
The CardScan Executive is a horizontal grey slab of plastic with a solitary USB connection that attaches to your Mac. The supplied CD contains Mac-specific software, also called CardScan. The instructions are fairly specific about the order that you should do things in (install software before connecting the device), but on the whole we found installation painless and trouble-free.
With the CardScan software launched, scanning a card is simply a case of pushing it face up into the slot at the front of the scanner. We timed it and found the card went through the scanner, and the information was analysed and in the program in just over 10 seconds.
On the whole data capture is reasonable, if not perfect. It does a good job of recognising names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses.
Obviously, it depends on the visual flair of the card – more dynamic company logos tend to be skipped and it struggled with horizontal data and bullet point separations. Less forgivably, it struggled with the commonly used single letter abbreviations t, m and e (for telephone, mobile, and email, respectively).
Editing the data in the CardScan application is a snap, though, and from there you can export it immediately to Address Book, or you can set up the CardScan preferences to sync with Address Book. We found both methods worked well, but ended up using the sync.