Table of Contents

last revision
27 October 2011, 6:33pm
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Vcard ‹↑›

Vcard is used for storing contact information for people and organisations. It is a format recognised by many email and chat software programs.

It may seem odd that this section is so detailed, but I have been searching for a good 'contacts' data format, and this seems the best I can find. At least its not xml.

Vcard is specified in the 'request for comments' RFC 2425 and RFC 2426

the vcard rfc
definitions and examples for the the vcard types.

Vcard Implementation Quirks ‹↑›

The import allows lower case names, but no spaces before any of the element names.

Skype vcard import function apparently doesnt import phone numbers (!) which is something of a pity.

Attribute Lists ‹↑›

Debian-style packages for vcard
2vcard - convert address book to vcard format
glabels -
vcard4j - a java library (but not a user application)

vcard attribute names and purpose
N the name of the person or company (structured) eg: 'N:Small;Frank'
FN the formatted (display) name of the person or entity eg 'FN:Frank Small'
PHOTO an image or photograph of the person or entity
BDAY date of birth
ADR a postal address in a structured format
LABEL a displayable postal address
TEL a telephone number eg 'TEL;TYPE=WORK,VOICE:(111) 555-1212'
EMAIL an email address eg 'EMAIL;TYPE=PREF,'
MAILER the type of email program used
TZ the standard time zone of the entity
GEO a geographical latitude and longitude
TITLE job title,
ROLE job role (eg 'executive)
LOGO a company or personal logo image, can be a url or mime data
AGENT a person who will act on behalf vcard person or entity. (eg secretary)
ORG Organization Name or Organizational unit, X.520 Organization Name/Unit
NOTE supplementary information or a comment
REV time and date of last revision of the vcard eg 'REV:20080424T195243Z'
SOUND sound of the pronunciation of the formatted name
URL a url to obtain realtime information about the person/entity
UID a globally unique identifier for the person/entity (?)
VERSION the version of the vCard Specification
KEY the public encryption key associated with the vCard object

difference between vcard 2.1 and 3.0`

 EMAIL;TYPE=internet,pref        3.0
 EMAIL;INTERNET;PREF             2.1

the most minimul vcard example (all these elements are obligatory)

BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:3.0 N:Bond;James FN:James Bond END:VCARD ,,,

vcard version 3.0 example (note the 'TYPE=work,voice' etc syntax

BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:3.0 N:Clark;James FN:James Clark ORG:Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. TITLE:Mr TEL;TYPE=work,voice:(111) 555-1212 TEL;TYPE=home,voice:(404) 555-1212 ADR;TYPE=work:;;100 Waters Edge;Baytown;LA;30314;United States of America LABEL;TYPE=WORK:100 Waters Edge\nBaytown, LA 30314\nUnited States of America ADR;TYPE=HOME:;;42 Plantation St.;Baytown;LA;30314;United States of America LABEL;TYPE=HOME:42 Plantation St.\nBaytown, LA 30314\nUnited States of America EMAIL;TYPE=PREF, REV:20080424T195243Z END:VCARD ,,,

vcard data exported from '' email

BEGIN:VCARD VERSION:2.1 FN:amy and ben N:ben;amy and;; NICKNAME:amyandben EMAIL;INTERNET; ADR;HOME;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:;the stalls, moreton lane=0D;draycott in the clay;ashbourne;derbyshire;;uk END:VCARD ,,,

Vcard Name Types ‹↑›

vcard comments


the formatted or 'display' name for a person or entity

 FN:Mr. John Q. Public\, Esq.

The 'N' name element is made up of

 Family Name, Given Name, Additional Names, Honorific Prefix, Honorific Suffix.

structured name examples






vcard attribute extensions
X-ABUID string, Apple Address Book UUID for that entry
X-ANNIVERSARY YYYY-MM-DD, additional anniversaries (see BDAY)
X-ASSISTANT a string, assistant name (instead of Agent)
X-MANAGER a managers name (text)
X-SPOUSE spouse name (text)
X-GENDER either "Male" or "Female" only
X-AIM Instant Messaging (IM) contact information; TYPE parameter as for TEL
X-ICQ IM contact information;
X-JABBER IM contact information;
X-MSN IM contact information;
X-YAHOO IM contact information;
X-SKYPE IM contact information;
X-GADUGADU IM contact information;
X-GROUPWISE IM contact information;
X-MS-IMADDRESS property, string, " (IM address in VCF attachment from Outlook (right click Contact, Send Full Contact, Internet Format.)
X-MS-CARDPICTURE works like PHOTO or LOGO. an outlook image of the Card
X-PHONETIC-LAST-NAME roman spelling of name, eg Japanese names
X-MOZILLA-HTML property, TRUE/FALSE, mail recipient wants HTML email

mark up the prefered work telephone (as opposed to a fax) with voice mail


a home fax line


an x400 style email address, whatever that is


a preferred email address ()


postal addresses

  == address types
  .. intl - an address outside the current country
  .. dom - an address within the current country
  .. postal - a postal address (?)
  .. parcel - a parcel postal address
  .. work - a work postal address
  .. pref - the preferred postal address (where there is more than one)

  po box, flat number, house number and street name, the locality (e.g., city);
  the region (e.g., state or province); the postal code; the country name. 
  ADR;TYPE=postal,pref:;;123 Main Street;SomeTown;NSW;2028;Australia  ##(the same)

a postal address example

 ADR;TYPE=postal;TYPE=pref:;;123 Main Street;Katoomba;NSW;2028;Australia

a gpo box in hobart australia

 ADR;TYPE=postal:gpo 1990;;;Hobart;TAS;7001;Australia

the 'label' which is the displayed postal address

     LABEL;TYPE=dom,home,postal,parcel:Mr.John Q. Public\, Esq.\n
        Mail Drop: TNE QB\n123 Main Street\nAny Town\, CA  91921-1234 \nU.S.A.

indicate a company or personal logo image (a url location of the image file)


inline mime encoding of an logo image


the entity organisation name (company, branch, division)

 ORG:ABC\, Inc.;North American Division;Marketing

additional notes

 NOTE: this number is available 24/7

indicate when the information in the vcard was revised


Vcard Geographical Information ‹↑›

the timezone element indicates in what time zone the entity resides

 TZ;VALUE=text:-05:00; EST; Raleigh/North America

the geographical position of the entity in decimial longitude vs latitude


Job Title Elements ‹↑›

the vcard job title element (based on X.520 'title' element)

 TITLE:Director\, Research and Development

the role of the person within an organisation



telephone 'TYPE' values
work -
home - a residence not work
pref - the preferred phone (if there is more than one)
voice - a normal phone (not a fax)
fax - a fax phone
cell - a cell phone (a mobile phone)
video - a phone with video capability
modem -
bbs - a bulletin board
car - a carphone