small Office tools
Corex 600c Business Card Scanner
By Joel Shore
have business cards coming out of my ears. Trade shows. Cocktail
parties. Speaking engagements. Wherever I go, I come home with dozens
of business cards. And if you think I relish the thought of typing all
that info into Outlook, well, think again. It’s not that I’m lazy; I’m
too darn busy.
That’s why I have a Corex 600c business-card scanner. All you do is feed
the cards in the front, and the fist-size unit does the rest. It scans the
card, uses optical character recognition technology to transform the
scanned card into actual editable text, and it tucks all that info into a
nice, little database. And with one more mouse click, you can copy all
of your new customer prospects into Microsoft Outlook, ACT!, GoldMine,
and a gaggle of other address books.
The software knows the difference between a company name, person’s
name, title, address, phone and fax numbers,
e-mail and Web addresses.
Easy set-up. The 600c is a snap to connect, just connect it
to any available USB port on your PC. Installing the software takes
about five minutes. A calibration card is included to make sure the
unit is working without any problems.
Alas, the unit requires a separate power adapter and cord, instead
of drawing its operating power through the USB cable. Since the idea
is to keep the scanner on your desktop, that extra cord is an
And Corex hypes the scanner as something to take with you on business
trips or to trade shows. Your laptop can run without an electrical
outlet, but you can’t do the same with the scanner. That’s a shame;
it’s a real missed opportunity.
Corex made a couple of significant changes from its older CardScan 500
model. The 600c supports color (hence the “c” in the model name).
Also, the 600c has only a USB connection: getting rid of the
parallel-port connector is one reason the 600c is smaller than its
What difference does color make? To me, not much, but if you like, the
CardScan software can store full-color images of scanned business
cards. I prefer to keep just the text. By the way, those images are
stored in a proprietary file format that can’t be read by other
To scan business cards, you start up the software first. The image on
your screen looks like an old-style Rolodex card holder. To scan a
card just shove it in the front of the CardScan 600c. A tiny motor
whirs and pulls the card through the device, and the image of the card
shows up on your screen. Just keep feeding cards into the machine.
After you’ve finished scanning cards, you click a button and then the CardScan software “processes” the cards, interpreting the scanned
image and converting that image into actual text that you can edit and
store in any address book.
Using the software.
The software is smart: it knows the difference between a company name,
name, job title, address, phone number, fax number,
cell-phone number, e-mail address, and Web address. I’d say the CardScan gets it right about 95 percent of the time. When it gets
confused, it’s usually because a weird logo, strange typeface, or use
of dark images under the type gets in the way. Make sure that the
design of your business cards doesn’t confuse the scanner. You’ll be
happy you did.
You should go through each scanned card and make any corrections
necessary. When you know a card is accurate, you click a checkbox so
you—and the CardScan—know this card’s info is confirmed.
What to do with all the scanned data? You can leave the info in
CardScan’s own address book, but I prefer to send all the addresses
into Outlook. How tough was that? All I had to do was
click one button and within a few seconds it was all done.
CardScan even offers CardScan.net, a Web site where you can store all
the business cards you’ve scanned. You can access these cards
from a Web browser anytime, anywhere.
You can take away most of the gizmos sitting in my office, but don’t
touch my CardScan 600c. It’s just too cool.<