Blog Post

Anagram Captures Useful Data From Text Snippets

anagramlogoLast week ,we reviewed gwabbit, an app that aims to automatically pull contact data from emails in Outlook. Scott Blitstein was positive about gwabbit, but it didn’t work as well for me when I tried it: sometimes it was unable to extract my contact data, even though it was cleanly presented in the email’s signature block.

I really like the idea of being able to extract that useful information without having to manually copy and paste, though, so when Nicholas Maddix of Textual emailed me to tell me about Anagram, a similar Windows app, and it was also recommended by a couple of commenters on our gwabbit review, I thought I’d check it out.

Anagram is like gwabbit in that you can use it to extract contact data from emails. However, it’s more flexible, in that you can use it to capture information from any text, not just emails, and it’s not restricted to contacts: Anagram will examine any text you throw at it and automatically attempt to capture calendar events, to-do items and notes, too. Here’s a quick screencast of it in action capturing some contact data and adding a calendar event to Outlook:

WebWorkerDaily Screencast: Anagram from Simon Mackie on Vimeo.

Unlike gwabbit, Anagram is not limited to Outlook. It can work with a variety of different target applications:

  • Microsoft Outlook (s msft)
  • (s crm)
  • Jigsaw
  • Palm Desktop/Agendus (s palm)
  • NetSuite

Anagram works very well and it’s very easy to use, too. You activate Anagram by highlighting your target text snippet (this can be in an email, on a web site or in a document), then hitting a hotkey combination. By default, the hotkey is tapping ctrl-c quickly twice in succession, which I think feels very natural, but you can change it to a function key if you prefer. Anagram parses the text, figures out what type of information the text contains, launches the target app (if it’s not already open) and populates the fields automatically. All you have to do is check that the information is correct and save the data. In my tests, it was very accurate with little to no manual intervention required. Anagram is a simple app, but if you use one of its target applications and find copying and pasting contact information a chore, it’s definitely worth a try.

Anagram is Windows-only and available as a free 45-day trial. After that, pricing depends on usage and will cost $34.95 for Anagram Personal or $74.95 per year for Anagram CRM.

Do you use Anagram or a similar app?

7 Responses to “Anagram Captures Useful Data From Text Snippets”

  1. Have used Anagram w/ since May 2007. Worth every penny. There are other tools attached to SFDC (even Free ones) that when I tested them did NOT work nearly as well or as efficiently. The free tools weren’t worth the time I wasted having to invest valuable time cleaning them up. I use Anagram avg of 2 times per day. At about $7/mo, that is only $.35/day or $.04/hr or about 2cents every time I use it. I also use it for small volume business card data import after trade shows or networking events. (I place 12-16 business cards on an inexpensive flat screen scanner,pull that scan up on my computer, highlight data one card at a time, hit F12 and zap into my SFDC system. Pop, pop, pop. 12 cards fully entered into SFDC in about 1 minute. Have told many clients about it as well.

  2. Thanks for a great post, Simon! Wanted to also mention we have Anagram for Gmail/Google Calendar (free) and also are just starting to beta test Anagram for BlackBerry (also free). Let us know if interested in trying that out.