Image gallery: 7 business card apps for smartphones

If you can't keep track of your business cards, one of these 7 smartphone apps will help you scan and store all those new contacts.

Got lots of business cards? Try a business card scanning app.

These apps typically take a photo of the card (using your phone's back-facing camera) and perform OCR on the image to translate the contents to editable text. They then add that info to the app's own database, to your smartphone's contacts listing or both. Most of these apps will also retain the original image for reference.

We looked at seven apps that are available in both Android and iOS. One of these could make your business life a lot easier.

Note: This slideshow accompanies our story 7 business card apps for smartphones: Scan 'em and store 'em. Click through to that story for more info.

ABBYY Business Card Reader

ABBYY has been being doing Windows-based optical character recognition software for years, so it's not surprising that it offers a neat (if rather dark) and useful interface.

To capture a card, simply line up its edges using the on-screen guides and snap your photo. The software controls your camera's autofocus and captures the card, puts it through an OCR process, then gives you a chance to edit the resulting text.

The software highlights problematic areas in red, and you can see a small window of the relevant scan area for a given field, which makes edits simpler.

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Business Card Reader

Business Card Reader has an intuitive, purposeful interface that riffs off of a physical business card case, with its cards in place. It also has capable scanning and OCR skills, and processes your cards quickly. You can later view and search your data from the app's Card Holder.

However, the app automatically snaps the photo (instead of letting you choose the moment), which takes some getting used to. It also means that the autofocus doesn't always kick in properly.

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CamCard stands out for its excellent interface, reasonable accuracy and cross-platform and cloud accessibility. It offers a clean and intuitive interface, providing a logical flow to the capture and edit process without introducing extra flicks or taps.

The app optimizes the card's image by brightening the exposure and improving the card's alignment. And CamCard is easy to edit, thanks to a visual excerpt of the original card that shows the area that the particular field was translated from.

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Presto BizCard

Presto BizCard has a good ancestry (its company, NewSoft America, has a long history of providing scanning software for Windows), but its app doesn't seem to have been updated for a long time.

However, you can export your contacts to Salesforce, so if you use that software a great deal,  you may want to check it out. 

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ScanBizCards has a clean, easy-to-understand opening screen, but it makes users go through quite a few steps to get things done.

Once you've edited your card, you can save the edits to the app or to Google Contacts; you can also use a transcription service where the staff will manually edit your entries for you via the WebSync service.

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WorldCard Mobile

WorldCard Mobile has a friendly interface that handles international business cards well.

One interesting feature: It can important an email signature file into a record; the iOS version also supports importing via QR code. You can view your cards in a variety of ways, including the ability to create a custom group to make finding them easier.

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Yolu Card Reader

Yolu Card Reader offers cloud-based recognition, which provides very accurate text, but can take a long time between uploading the scan and receiving the results. There is a daily limit of 30 scans which can be boosted to up to 50 if you increase the amount of sign-in personal information.

It's an intriguing idea, but only if you don't mind waiting several hours -- or days -- for your scan results.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.