Understanding And Using Vcards

VcardsWhat is a Vcard?vCard is a file format standard for electronic business cards. –Wiki

Vcards can contain phone numbers,email addresses,photos and even audio clips.

Although  vcards can be used for transferring email contact information the vcard format is also used by Customer Relationship management (CRM) systems,PDAs etc.

Vcard Files and Format

Vcard files are text files that use the .vcf file extension.You can open and edit them in a normal text editor like notepad.

A vcard file can contain the contact details of multiple contacts

Here is an vcard file example taken from a Yahoo mail export.


All vCards start with BEGIN:VCARD and end with END:VCARD.
They also must contain the VERSION property, which  comes immediately after BEGIN.

See the wiki for more format examples.

Creating and Using Vcards

There are many online tools for creating vcards, but they can also be created easily using most email clients. The procedure is as follows:

  • Add your own contact details to your contacts.
  • Export the contact as a Vcard.

You should note that some email clients like Yahoo Mail don’t let you export individual contacts but will export the complete address list.

The screen shot below shows the Yahoo Vcard export.


If you use the ZIP format then you can extract the individual vcard from the zipped file.


Exchanging Vcards

Vcards are usually exchanged by attaching them to an email.

They can be added as a simple attachment and also as part of the email signature (depends on client)

Receiving and Using Vcards

Some email client recognise a vcard attachment and let you add the contact directly to your contact list as shown below with Gmail.

gmail-received vcard attachment

If you email client doesn’t support this then you will need to download the attachment and then import the vcard.

Converting Vcards to .CSV Files

There are many online tools that can be used but the easiest option is to use an email App or client that will let you import vcards and export as csv.

Fortunately almost all client will do this. Example Yahoo and Gmail

On Yahoo export contacts as a single .vcf file.


Then go to Gmail and import the .vcf file.


Now you can export them from Gmail as a .csv file.

Common Questions and Answers

Q- Can I ad my vcard to my signature?

A- Yes on some email client like outlook it is possible

Q- When exporting email contacts for transferring to another system should I use vcards or a .csv file?

A- .CSV files are the better option

Q- Do I need my own Vcard?

A- Personally i don’t have one, and have never received one. They are obviously used but not by most people. See this thread.

References and resources:

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