How to Scan Business Cards into a Spreadsheet [2019 Edition]

Your boss just walked in this morning and handed you a stack of business cards from her recent trip to a big industry conference she just returned from.  Oh, and she wants them transcribed and entered into a spreadsheet by the end of the day!

Take a breath, count to 10, we’ve got you covered. Getting started is simple, you will need:

The way this will work is that you will use the Contacts+ mobile app to take pictures of your business cards.  Contacts+ then uses humans to transcribe the cards, those cards once completed are sent to Zapier where we will walk you through setting up a Zap that will then send the data along to a spreadsheet.  Once in Google Sheets, you can then export the data as an Excel document or csv.

Let’s get Started!

Sign Up for Contacts+ and Download our App

First, you’ll need to create a Contacts+ account. You’ll use this account to scan the business cards you want to save via the mobile app. Every account gets the first 10 card scans for free, and more can be purchased with a premium monthly or annual subscription. Once you create you account, you’ll want to download the app for iOS or Android, sign in, and get started with capturing cards by hitting the +.

Create a Google Sheet in Google Drive

To get started, we need to create a Google Sheet and add headings to the first row of the sheet.  This sheet will be used for capturing the transcribed business cards sent from Zapier.  

Give the sheet a name, I used “Business Cards”. Then, in row one of the sheet start adding the column descriptions, such as first name, last name, email address, company name, job title, phone, etc.  Follow this link to learn tips and tricks using a Google Sheet with Zapier, as there are some things that you can and can not do.

Create a Google Sheet where your saved business card contacts will be stored.

Here is a sample spreadsheet template that you can copy if you wish.  To use this spreadsheet, copy the first two rows of data into your own spreadsheet or in the template click “File” and then “Make a Copy…” and give it a new name.

Get the Zap: Scan Business Cards into a Spreadsheet

Next you will create a Zapier account if you don’t already have one.

The good news is that there is a Zap template that already exists if you want to use a pre-created template to scan business cards into a spreadsheet!  If you are familiar with Zapier you will follow their step by step instructions in setting up the Zap.

Or if you prefer we’ll walk you through creating the Zap from scratch.

Set-up the automation steps in Zapier to have your scanned business card save to the proper Google Sheet.

Let’s go! To get started log into your Zapier account and click on the large orange “Make a Zap!” button at the top of the screen.  It will ask you to select a Trigger App, for this you will search for and select Contacts+.

You will then select the trigger “New Business Card Transcribed”.

Select ‘New Business Card Transcribed’ in Contacts+ as the trigger for the automation.

Next you will be prompted to authorize Zapier to connect your Contacts+ account.  After doing this you will be taken to some advanced settings where you can optionally use this Zap with a Contacts+ Team or with Tags.  For now we will just skip these settings and select “Continue”.

Zapier now will request that you test the step.  If you want you can scan a card and wait for it to transcribe, however, it’s much quicker to just select “Skip this Step”.  Zapier will then prompt you to either use a default sample, or your own sample for mapping the data. Select “Continue with Default Sample”.

Zapier now requires that the Action app be selected.  You will search for and select Google Sheets.  You will then select “Create Spreadsheet Row”.  Next you will be prompted to authorize Zapier to access your Google Sheets account.

Next, in Set Up Template, you will find and select the Google Sheet you created earlier, in my case “Business Cards”.  Additionally you need to select the sheet, likely “Sheet1” unless you renamed it. You should then be asked to create the field mapping between the FullContact business card fields and the spreadsheet.  You will need to fill it out appropriately as I’ve done below.

After selecting the specific spreadsheet and worksheet you’d like your business card contacts to save to, map which Contacts+ fields you would like saved in each spreadsheet column.

After continuing, it will ask if you’d like to test the step.  Upon doing so, assuming you’ve set things up properly, when returning to your spreadsheet you should see a row populated in your spreadsheet with the sample data.

Trigger a zap test to ensure the business card information is populating properly in your Google Sheet.

Finally, back in Zapier, you will name your Zap (I used “Contacts+ Business Card Scan to Spreadsheet”) and then turn it on.  You are all set, you can now start scanning real business cards with the Contacts+ mobile app and once they complete they will be added to the spreadsheet, and you are a hero!