Product review by David H. Ringstrom, CPA
Accountants of a certain age may remember a television show in which contestants would bid on how few notes they'd need to hear to identify an unidentified song. However, instead of saying, "Tom, I can name that tune in 5 notes," you may find yourself thinking, "I can add a new contact to Outlook with just two keystrokes!" The key is a clever program called Anagam that enables you to quickly add onscreen information — without manual transcription — into your contact manager or CRM.
Anagram unobtrusively resides in the taskbar area of your Windows screen, as shown in Figure 1. A tip appears when you hover over the icon to remind you of the shortcut key to use. Anagram works with these applications:
- Palm Desktop
- Gmail & Google Calendar
- Tablet PC
Figure 1: Anagram resides in the Windows Taskbar, and is always available.
The program is simple to use:
1. Select the text that you wish to capture, as shown in Figure 2. In this case I've selected text from the Contact page of AccountingWEB.
Figure 2: Select the text that you wish to capture.
2. Press F12 (or configure Anagram to use a different shortcut key). As shown in Figures 3 and 4, Anagram instantly parses the text into address fields.
Figure 3: Anagram parses text that you select into discrete contact fields.
Figure 4: Addresses are instantly dispersed into the proper fields.
3. Now press the Enter key to save the record to your contact manager or CRM software. That's all there is to it!
As shown in Figure 4, you can choose to rescan text as a to do (task item), event (calendar item), or memo. In addition, the captured text appears in a separate window, as shown in Figure 5, so you can make any edits you choose, and then scan the information again.
Figure 5: You can edit the captured text, and then rescan it, or simply convert the information to another type.
Many professionals incorporate their contact information into an e-mail signature block, so it's a snap for me to add new contacts to my address book. As shown above, you can also capture text from a web site, or pretty much anywhere on your screen. Keep in mind that Anagram requires selectable text, so it can't scan pictures of text.
Anagram is free for Gmail/Google Calendar, and Jigsaw. Outlook and Palm Desktop users pay a one-time $34.95 charge, while SalesForce and NetSuite users pay $74.95/year. Volume discounts are available, and you can try Anagram free for 45 days.
David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.