Import and export vCards to Outlook contacts

Export contacts

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To share your contacts, here are two of your three choices: send a vCard and send an Outlook contact. Watch this video to learn more.

Send contacts as a vCard

  1. In the navigation bar, click People. To see the contact as it will appear as a vCard, in the Current View group, click Business Card.

  2. Choose the contacts you want to forward. Choose multiple contacts by holding down the Ctrl key and selecting each contact.

  3. In the Share group, click Forward Contact, and then click As a Business Card. Outlook attaches the vCard to the message and inserts a picture of it in the body of the message. To attach contacts as vCards without pictures of the vCards, click As an Outlook Contact instead.

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Import vCards to Outlook contacts

Share contacts as vCards

Attach a vCard to an email message

If you want to share your contacts with others, you have three choices: Send a vCard, Send an Outlook contact, or if you want to send a lot of contacts, Export a CSV file.

We’ll get into CSV files in the next movie, Export many contacts as a CSV file.

Let’s start by sending vCards in email. In a New Message, go to the MESSAGE tab, and click Attach Item and Business Card.

Select a card that was recently sent, or click Other Business Cards.

Here we can select one person, or hold down the Ctrl key, and click multiple names. Then, click OK.

Outlook attaches the vCards and adds business card pictures to the message body.

In this case, we don’t really need the pictures, so we can select each one, and press Delete. And then, click Send.

Another way to send vCards is directly from People. Select the contacts you want to send.

Then, on the HOME tab, click Forward Contact and As a Business Card.

A new email message opens with the vCards attached and the business card pictures attached.

Type recipient names on the To line, add a Subject, and type a message if you want. And then click Send.

Now what if you just want to create a vCard file without attaching it to an email, so you can do whatever you want to with the file, like copy it to a flash drive, or insert it in a Word document?

In People, select a contact. You can only create one file at a time this way.

Click FILE and Save As. Choose a location and click Save.

Another thing you can do with a vCard is open it in a text editor, like Notepad.

Locate the vCard on your computer, open Notepad, and drag the vCard file to Notepad to open it.

A vCard file uses a standard Internet script format, which allows you to read the contents.

You can even edit the text in Notepad, if you are so inclined.

But most importantly, being a standard Internet format means you can share vCards with people who use different mail apps, like Google Mail and Apple Mail.

The second way to share contacts is by sending them as Outlook Contacts.

This is the best method to use if you know your recipients use Outlook.

But unlike vCards, Outlook contacts can’t be accessed by apps other than Outlook.

Before sending an email, go to the MESSAGE tab, click Attach Item, and Outlook Item.

Using this method, you can send a lot of things, but we’ll concentrate on contacts.

Expand the Contacts folder, and select a list. We’ll select the main contact list.

Then, in the list below, select one or more contacts, and click OK. The contacts are added to the email. Click Send.

And just like vCards, you can also send Outlook contacts from People. Select the contacts. Then, on the HOME tab, click Forward Contact, and As an Outlook Contact. Fill out the email and click Send.

The main advantage of sending Outlook contacts over vCards is that they contain more information. I’ll show you.

In People, on the HOME tab, in the Current View group, click Business Card, and open a contact.

vCards can contain most of the information on this page. But now go to the Show group on the CONTACT tab, and click Details.

A number of these fields, such as Nickname and Birthday, aren’t supported in vCards.

The same is with the fields in Certificates and user-defined fields.

So given the two choices described in this movie, use vCards if recipients may be using an app other than Outlook and send Outlook contacts if you know they’ll be using Outlook and you want to make sure they get all the contact information.

Up next, we’ll explore the option for sharing many contacts – CSV files.

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