Quick Guide: Convert CSV to vCard Format – 2024 update

Introduction

VCF (vCard) files store contact details like names, phone numbers, emails, and even images and audio. They are commonly used for storing and transferring contact information between platforms and email clients. CSV (Comma Separated Values) files store tabular data and are commonly used in applications like Excel. Converting CSV to vCard (VCF file format), can streamline your contact management. This guide covers the conversion process with the following methods. Each method has a resulting vCard version and potential use case so check our compatibility table explaining which method is best for you:

Method 1: CSV to VCF file Conversion with Google Contacts

Method 2: CSV to VCF file Conversion with Mac Contacts

Method 3: CSV to VCF file Conversion with Windows Contacts

Method 4: CSV to VCF file Conversion with Online Converter

Tip: Additionally, check out our guide on How to Organize Your Contacts for tips and best practices.

Understanding CSV and vCard Formats

CSV Files

  1. CSV (Comma Separated Values) files are simple file formats used to store tabular data.
  2. Each line in a CSV file represents a row, and each value within a row is separated by a comma.
  3. Commonly used for exporting and importing data in spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel.
  4. Easy to create using a text editor or spreadsheet software.

vCard Files

  1. vCard, also known as VCF format (Virtual Contact File), is a file format standard for electronic business cards.
  2. Can store contact information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and more.
  3. Widely supported across different platforms and applications, making it a convenient way to exchange and manage contact information.
  4. Supports different versions (vCard 2.1, 3.0, and 4.0), each with slightly different features and capabilities.

A word on vCard versions – Which vCard version is right for you?

By understanding which vCard version is supported by your target platform, you can select the appropriate conversion method below.

vCard Version

Common Use Case

Compatibility

Conversion Method

3.0

Importing contacts to iCloud and iOS devices

Most iCloud and iOS devices require vCard version 3.0

Google Contacts can effortlessly export a CSV file to vCard version 3.0

2.1

Some older Android phones, apps, or other platforms may only support vCard version 2.1

Ensure compatibility with devices or applications that still use this version

For Windows users the Windows Contacts method. For Mac users, use the Contacts app on OSX by changing the export setting to version 2.1 which we will cover in the guide

4.0

Utilizing the latest features and improvements in the vCard standard. Supported by Nextcloud, Thunderbird with CardBookExtension, and many other cloud-based systems

Check if your platform or device supports the latest vCard version 4.0

Use our recommended online CSV to vCard converter that exports to vCard version 4.0

To check the version number of your Exported vCard you can open it in any text editor.

Checking the vCard version number in a text editor

Why convert CSV to vCard format?

Converting CSV files to the vcf file type offers several advantages. A major one is that Unlike CSV, which only stores textual and numeric data, vCard can also store contact photos and audio clips. Additionally, vcf handles Latin script and special characters more effectively, ensuring accurate and comprehensive contact information. Here are some more common use cases.

iCloud Integration

You can export contacts from Yahoo, Gmail and many others and import them into iCloud, ensuring they are available on all your Apple devices.

Device compatability

While CSV files are popular for storing contacts due to their simplicity, they cannot be imported directly into most mobile devices. Converting from CSV to vCard is necessary to make them compatible with mobile devices. Many Android devices support vcf files, making it easy to transfer contacts from an old phone to a new one, or from email accounts like Outlook to your Android device

Microsoft Outlook

Outlook supports vcf files, allowing you to import contact lists efficiently. This can be useful for businesses that manage large contact lists and need to transfer them between different email systems.

Gmail and Google Contacts

If you’re migrating contacts from an old email provider to Gmail, converting them to vcf format ensures that all your contacts are accessible and organized within Google’s ecosystem.

Electronic Business Cards

Many business card scanners export scanned information into vcf format, making it easier to integrate these contacts into your digital address book.

CRM Systems

Many CRM systems, like Salesforce, and Hubspot support vcf files for importing and managing contacts.

Event Management

Easily share contact lists with event organizers or participants using vcf files, ensuring smooth communication.

Preparing Your CSV File for Conversion

Clean and organize the data in your CSV by removing duplicates, correct formatting errors (ensuring that names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses are properly formatted), and standardize data fields.

It’s recommended to include key details such as name, phone number, and email address for compatibility. Additional fields like organization, job title, website, birthday, and notes can enhance the contact information.

Method 1: CSV to VCF file Conversion with Google Contacts

Importing a CSV into Google Contacts to export as a vCard is as follows. Please note if you already have contacts in Google Contacts and are ready to export, skip out steps 1-

To convert your CSV contacts to vCard format using Google Contacts, follow these steps:

1) Open Google Contacts in your browser and click the Import button from the left menu or from the centre (if you are in an empty folder).

Importing a CSV into Google Contacts.

2) Hit ‘Select file’, chose your CSV from the finder/explorer window and then hit the ‘Import’ button.

Screenshot

3) Make sure you are happy that the fields from your CSV file have imported correctly into Google Contacts. If you want to export all the contacts as a vCard then select the ‘Export’ button or you can make a selection of contacts, by shift clicking from the list, before doing so. Once happy select the ‘Export’ button and choose vCard as the output format.

Google contacts contacts view after importing CSV. A list of contacts is shown with the export button in the top left.

4) From the Export contacts dialogue that follows select the 3rd option ‘vCard (for iOS Contacts)

Export Contacts dialogue box where we can select to export to vCard.

Your vCard will now be exported to your default downloads folder.

Method 2: CSV to VCF file Conversion with Mac Contacts

If you are a Mac user chances are you already have contacts imported into your contacts list. Importing a new set of contacts via CSV for the purpose of exporting a vCard will add those contacts to your existing list which may not be what you want so we will cover a workaround.

The default vCard version exported is 3.0. If you need version 2.1 you change the settings prior to the export. Go to Contacts > Settings > vCard and select the version you need

Changing the default vCard number that will be exported from Mac Contacts.

1) Open the contacts app and chose File > Import and select your CSV file

Import contacts menu in Mac Contacts

2) You will see some mapping options which dictate how the fields in your CSV (e.g. name, phone etc) will be mapped in your vCard. By default this should be fine as is but you have the option to edit here. Click OK to import the CSV contacts.

Some mapping options when importing a CSV file into Mac Contacts

3) If you only wish to export the CSV contacts and ignore any existing contacts you had, click on ‘Last Import’ from the left pane to ensure you are only working with the newly imported contacts.

Using Mac Contacts 'Last import' screen to work only with the newly imported contacts

4)You can now carry out the export to vCard by clicking File > Export > Export to vCard – You will be given the option of where to save.

The export vCard option in Mac Contacts.

5) Now the export is complete, If you do not want the CSV contacts to remain as part of your contact list you can delete them from the Smart Lists ‘Last import’ list. Highlight all of the contacts from within the Last Imports list, right-clicking and choose Delete (If you do not see Delete, deselect yourself as a contact from the top of the list). Be sure to chose ‘Delete’ rather than ‘Remove from list’

Deleting the CSV contacts after import if that is preferred.

Method 3: CSV to VCF file Conversion with Windows Contacts

If you are a PC user you can use Windows built in contacts to perform this task but keep in mind it outputs the older Version 2.1 vCard which may not be compatible for your use case. Follow the steps below to complete the conversion from CSV format:

1) Open the Run box in Windows by pressing the Windows key and typing Run. Type ‘Contacts’ and hit OK to open up windows Contacts.

Using Window's Run box to open up Windows Contacts.

2) Hit Import from the Windows menu bar that follows, select CSV from the 4 options and then hit Import from the dialogue box.

Importing a CSV file into Windows Contacts.

3) You now have the option to map your CSV fields correctly to the corresponding fields in the resulting vCard. You can check and uncheck to include certain fields and assign different mappings if needs be. Once happy hit the ‘Finish’ button.

Checking the mapping options in Windows Contacts.

4) The CSV contacts have now been imported into Windows Contacts. Hit the Export option from the Windows menus.

Exporting contacts to vCard format

5) Finally select vCards from the dialogue box that follows and you will be prompted to chose a location for your vCards to be exported to. Using this method will export all of the contacts as individual vCards.

Exporting to vCard in Windows Contacts.

Method 4: CSV to vCard online converter

1) After much testing we found FileConverts to be the only reliable, free online converter tool. Go to https://www.fileconverts.com/csv/csv-to-vcard/ and hit the ‘Choose CSV file’ button

Highlighting the Choose CSV file button on FileConverts online converter tool.

2) After you have selected your CSV file a text version of it appears in the left window. You can select additional CSV import options from the drop down, but the default options should be fine. Next hit the Process button.

Processing an imported CSV in the online converter tool.

3) You will then be presented with some mapping options. Ensure that each of your fields correspond correctly with how the fields should be displayed on the vCard. Hit Build to produce the vCard.

Mapping options in the Online converter tool.

4) A text output of your vCard appears on the right window and you can now save your vCard by hitting Save.

Exporting your CSV from the online converter tool to CSV.

Conclusion

Converting the CSV to vCard file type can greatly enhance your contact management. By following our step-by-step guide, you can easily transition your contacts across various platforms. Whether you’re using iCloud, Google Contacts, Microsoft Outlook, or other cloud based services understanding the right vCard version and method will ensure a smooth process. Thank you for following along with our guide – happy converting!

Tip: Want to expand your business network check out guide on meeting business contacts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Convert CSV to VCF Without Software?

Yes, it is possible to convert CSV to vCard without using any dedicated software. Methods such as using Google Contacts or Windows Contacts allow you to import your CSV file and export it as a vCard file.

How Do I Convert Multiple CSV Files to vCard?

To convert multiple CSV files to vCard format, you can use a dedicated software tools like Cigati CSV to vCard Converter Alternatively, you can combine multiple CSV files into a single file and then convert it to vCard format.

Tip: If you need to convert the other way from vCard to CSV then check out our in depth vCard to CSV conversion guide.


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