So, what do we do with the business cards we collect at FAIRtax events? We don’t let them pile up forgotten in a corner. We organize them systematically and make them worthwhile.
I am trying software called ABBYY Fine Reader pdf. ABBYY can scan from your scanner, or even from your mobile phone, into an Excel file or a readable pdf. Here is my card from Vistaprint (note the QR code that links to the FAIRtax website):
After scanning, one has several options. The first option is to save the card as a searchable *.pdf document. I tried it. It works. The result looks like this:
It does not look much different from the previous picture of the card, but the text is now searchable. Note the highlight for the word “Clearwater.” You can search on terms if you keep all your *.pdf searchable business cards in one folder.
The second option is to save the card as an Excel spreadsheet. The result looks like this:
Again, the result may not seem like much, but I now can copy the fields into a master spreadsheet with fields looking like this (I have broken the rows up to include all of them):
So, what is the purpose of doing all this work? I now have a searchable spreadsheet. If, for example, I met someone at CPAC last year but do not remember the name, I can search “CPAC” under the “SOURCE” field and refine the search by year. Within several records, I then have a reminder of who the person was. If I want to send a group message or a Word mail merge to everyone I met at CPAC IN 2022, the spreadsheet will enable me to do this. I can sort out FAIRtax from the "USE" column if I have other projects on the spreadsheet.
There are other save options with ABBYY, but I have yet to take the time to explore them.
Do you have contact software that you use? Do you have a better way of organizing your contacts or business cards? I would love to hear about it.
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