Go to any conference, business meeting or trade show and you’ll inevitably amass a fistful of business cards you then have to type in by hand to add to your address book – a slow and tedious process. The Abbyy Business Card Reader aims to ease your pain by harnessing the power of your iPhone’s camera. The app’s optical character recognition (OCR) software then turns the information on the card into digital form.
The app consists of three parts – Take Picture, Cardholder and Options – all of which are easily accessed from the main menu. In Take Picture, you frame the card in landscape mode using the guides at the top and bottom of the screen and then tap the camera button to capture the card. As soon as you take the shot, the software analyses the data, with the results appearing in an address book-type screen.
Cardholder stores the shots you’ve taken of each card with any captured data highlighted, for easy access later. Settings helps you decide which bits of a card to capture and how, with a choice of up to 20 different OCR languages.
Information captured from a business card is displayed in a familiar form, allowing you to review, edit and save the details
In practice, the Abbyy Business Card Reader delivers mixed results – business cards with simple fonts are easy to capture in well-lit conditions, but the app can struggle with fancy fonts or poor lighting – and the flash option doesn’t do much to help.