Throughout the year, I run into clients who have bags and boxes of holiday cards that they can’t bear to part with because they are still intending to save the return addresses in the address book. This has usually been going on for 5, 10, even 20 years and — Yikes! — those cards are taking up more and more space, with no real way to get the addresses saved. What if I told you that you could use the phone in your pocket to quickly solve the problem of too many cards and not enough saved addresses? Learn how to use your phone to scan address labels to eliminate holiday card clutter.
This year, let the amazing power of your smartphone save all those addresses with just a swipe and a click. Your smartphone or tablet is also a very powerful scanner! Check out two ways to reduce or eliminate the need to type in all that info. We’re going to use a business card scanner app, even though you are scanning address labels and not business cards.
Save return address labels using Evernote:
- Download the Evernote app to your smartphone or tablet. It works the same on both Apple and Android products.
- Click the big green “+” button to create a new note.
- If the keyboard comes up, click the down arrow that is on the top right corner of the keyboard in order to hide the keyboard. You’ll see the little camera icon in the bottom left corner.
- Click Take Photo.
- Position your phone’s camera over just the address label. (As always, try to get just the address label in the photo, and try to get a good, horizontal scan.)
- It might actually highlight a green area on your screen and take a picture automatically. If it doesn’t, click the camera button to capture a scan.
- Tap the thumbnail of the photo you just took, which will then expand to the whole screen.
- Underneath the picture, it will tell you what kind of scan it just took, most likely a “document.” Tap on the down arrow, Select “Business Card,” and Evernote will automatically convert the address information into an electronic address card.
- Check the address information, and edit as needed. In our experience, it’s complete and correct about 80% of the time. Make any changes needed. and hit save at the top right corner of the screen. This will save your contact to the Contacts notebook in Evernote. Click Done or add another card.
- You can also tag the contacts, which are individual notes, with a “holiday card list” tag if you like.
- In Evernote, be sure that settings are pointing your contacts to your phone’s Contact application.
- Click on the little person icon on the bottom left of your screen. Choose Settings>> Camera >> Business Cards and make sure the Notebook selected is Contacts, and ensure Save to Contacts is turned on. It should slide to the right and show green. Now every contact that lands in your Evernote Contacts notebook will be added to your phone’s Contact application. You’ll only need to do this step once.
Not an Evernote user? No problem. You may prefer the ScanBizCards app. The free version will work just fine for this project. The steps are very similar to that above. If you are an Android user, this is a great way to get your addresses into your Google contacts, which you are probably already using to sync across devices.
Save return address labels using ScanBizCards:
- Download the ScanBizCards app to your smartphone or tablet. It works the same on both Apple and Android products.
- Click the big blue “Add a New Card” button to create a new record.
- Position your phone’s camera over just the address label. (As always, try to get just the address label in the photo, and try to get a good, horizontal scan.
- Click the camera button to capture a scan.
- Review the address information, and edit as needed. You can copy and paste just by highlighting information and using a press-and-hold motion to get the commands to show up on the screen. In our experience, it’s complete and correct about 80% of the time.
- Make any changes needed. and hit save at the top right corner of the screen. This will save your contact to the Contacts on your phone. Click Save.
- Click Add to your Address Book. It’s now in your phone, but may not yet be synced through Google.
- If there is a possible duplicate already in your Contacts, the app will ask you if you want to merge the records. Generally we will opt to merge the records.
At this point you want to exit the ScanBizCards app and confirm that this record was saved to your Contacts, and is syncing over to Google Contacts. You may need to tell it to connect. We only had to do this the first time, and then all future contacts were syncing as expected.
It should take you just a couple of minutes to scan the first record and verify that this will work for you. Additional scans are just a matter of tap to scan, edit, save, repeat. You can eliminate all of those old cards and envelopes in a very short amount of time. This is a great project to work on while you are binge-watching your favorite shows.
Once in contacts, you always add more information, like phone number or spouse’s name, at any later time.
Will a business card scanner app on your phone help you reduce holiday card clutter this year? Pin for later.
Stumped on what to do with the actual cards once you’ve scanned the address labels? I know…they’re so pretty! I’ve got a short video that gives you the info you need.