6 Responses to Extracting contact data from e-mail signatures

  1. Phil O'Brien says:

    Hi Andy. Like your website and posts.

    I think this is the same issue that OCR Card Readers try to resolve. I tried quite a few of them about 6 months ago using a ScanSnap scanner with various bits of software – and tested various iPhone apps where you could photograph a business card and parse the date in to standard contact fields.

    However, they were all pretty clunky and unreliable. They did manage to do the OCR bit in the main – but when faced with the text structured similar to the email signature you give as examples, they failed miserably.

    I gave up and decided to do what you do, cut and paste the whole lot – hike it over to Google Contact and then cut and paste the individual items in to fields.

    Would be interested to hear about/test drive if anyone comes up with a good solution.

    • Andy Mabbett says:

      Hi Phil, and thanks for your kind appreciation.

      Yes, OCR of business cards is very hit-and-miss; not helped by the fact that some people use very small, pale text in scanner-unfriendly fonts. Shooting themselves in the foot, really. My business card has clear text, a QR-encoded vCard and a text link to a web page with hCard markup and a downloadable vCard.

  2. Tim Howell says:

    Andy – Did you make any progress on solving this?


  3. Corey Mwamba says:


    Could this information not be added as optional headers in an e-mail? RFC 5322 allows for optional headers. Then an e-mail client could parse the address from the e-mail message itself, freeing up that signature space to be anything we want. I realise this might not be the approach you were looking for though…

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