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9 tips for perfect work with Business Card Reader

"Do I really need this app? They say paper business cards will soon go the way of the dodo"… We heard this opinion for the first time back in 2008, when we launched the first version of BCR, which ran on the than-popular Symbian operating system. Ever since then we have regularly reached out to our users to see if anything changed, and most of you think paper will never die :) . Even if the time when the last paper business card changes hands does come to pass, our business card scanner will remain useful, so stay tuned for updates!

So do I really need this app now?

As for now, Business Card Reader saves you the hassle of carrying around dozens of little bits of paper and typing in contacts by hand, and lets you stay in touch with your partners at all times. Captured business cards can be grouped into folders, so if, say, you attend a conference, you can make a folder for all of the contacts you gained at the event. Unlike their paper counterparts, digital business cards don’t get lost, crumpled or wet: even if you break or lose your device, the sync feature will let you restore all your contacts when you get a new one. And if you find yourself out of business cards when talking to someone, just scan their card and you will instantly be able to send them a short thank-you message with a digital version of your card (this feature is currently available in the iOS version only).

Why does BCR have fewer languages than your other apps?

Unlike FineScanner and TextGrabber, which produce regular text for the most part, BCR has to match captured data to lots of different fields on contact forms. It contains libraries that allow it to determine that New York is a city, Jacob is a name, and manager is a position. And it has to do this for every supported language. These libraries are developed by hand, and making one for each of the 193 languages supported by FineScanner would be expensive and ineffective. Due to this, BCR currently supports 26 of the most popular languages.

Is adding just a couple of new languages really a problem?

Creating a language library for BCR takes hundreds of man-hours. Before embarking on such a task, we need to see that there is enough demand for the language to be sure that we can recoup the development costs. We generally initiate the development of a new library after we receive several thousand requests for a specific language. We are constantly monitoring requests for languages that we get through technical support and other channels, but we have yet to see this sort of demand.

Ok, that makes sense, let’s move on to OCR. What do I do if someone gives me a double-sided business card?

You can scan the flip side of the card, and all printed text will be recognized and saved as a comment to the business card, along with the date and time it was scanned. For detailed instructions, click here if you are using iOS or here if you are using Android.

I can’t recognize a business card! What am I doing wrong?

There are several possible causes. For starters, make sure you have the right recognition language selected. If the card is in English, but your recognition language is set to Italian, BCR will not be able to make much sense of the text on the card. If the right language is selected, make sure you have proper lighting when scanning the card and try placing the card on a different background – contrasting background colors lead to better results. Also, the text lines on the card should be parallel to the top and bottom edges of the screen, and the shot should contain the entire card. Finally, flashes can lead to overexposure (bright spots on the image), so disabling the flash on your device can be a good idea. That’s just about all of the tips you’ll need to get good OCR results.

Does BCR have any features that will help me keep my contacts safe?

Yes, the sync feature will help you keep your contacts as long as you need them. To enable it, open BCR’s settings, select the Synchronization and register using your email and password. This will let you access your cardholder on any iOS or Android device with ABBYY BCR installed - just sign in using the same email address and password.

You can also use the sync feature to share business cards with other people (such as your colleagues) by having everyone sign in to the same account. If you don’t want to share your business cards with anyone and don’t want them transferred over the internet, disable the sync option.

So if I uninstall BCR, all my business cards will stay in the cloud?

Exactly! Let’s say you decide to ditch your Android device in favor of an iPhone (or vice-versa). To get your business cards back, install Business Card Reader on the new device, open the settings, select the Synchronization option and provide your e-mail and password. BCR will download all of the cards you had on your old device from the cloud, and you will be able to use them on the new device. Keep in mind, however, that your cloud-based cardholder is not a backup in the classical sense – if you delete all of the business cards on your device while the Synchronization option is enabled, they will be deleted from the cloud as well. It may be a good idea to enable automatic backups in iOS or regularly make manual backups in Android to make sure you don’t accidentally delete something important.

That’s a good start, but are there any options other than cloud sync and device backups?

Yes there are. You can export your entire cardholder to the CSV format and open in Microsoft Excel on your computer. You can also save individual business cards by sending them to someone in an email or an SMS.

That’s nice to know. Do you guys have anything similar for PC by any chance?

As a matter of fact, we’re currently working on something, but we would like to keep things under wraps for the time being. All we can tell you right now is that we’ll be offering an even better way to manage contacts in the near future :) Stay tuned to this blog and our updates on Facebook.

P.S. UPD This giveaway is over. Become one of the first five people to share this post on Facebook and receive a promo code for an unlimited premium subscription to Business Card Reader for iOS or Android!

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