vCards in email signatures

vCards in email signatures

[Update]: The article has been updated to reflect the changes in the presented tools’ user interfaces as well as the latest developments in vCards.

While most people consider vCards as obsolete (or have no idea what they are) others use it on a daily basis in their email communication. So, what exactly are those vCards? Why use QR-coded vCards in email signatures? And how to do that? Read on to find out.

How to add vCards to email signatures

What is a vCard?

A vCard is a kind of electronic business card. Basically, it is a simple text file which contains certain fields inside. A vCard has a .vcf extension and is supported by all Microsoft Outlook versions, Mozilla Thunderbird, as well as most mobile clients, which makes it a surprisingly well supported format for storing contact info.

A sample vCard has the following structure:

FN:Natalie Lynch
TITLE:Sales Representative
TEL;TYPE=voice,work,pref:+ 1 202 555 0141
TEL;TYPE=voice,cell,pref:+1 504 899 7214
ADR;:;648;S.Sobieski Ave. 648;, Richmond Hill, ;NY;11418;USA NY

Reasons for using vCards

Since vCards contain contact information, adding them to an email signature might seem as adding a second email signature to an existing one. So, why would you even consider using a vCard? There are some valid reasons for that:

  • vCards can be used to quickly add a contact to different kinds of address books (desktop and mobile contact apps, email clients, etc.).
  • They are supported by pretty much every email client and mobile device.
  • If a vCard is added in the form of a QR code, it usually fits the signature design pretty well.

At the same time, you can certainly design a good and functional email signature without using a vCard. In other words, the choice to use vCards or not is absolutely up to you.

How to use vCards?

There are a few possible ways of using a vCard. You can:

  • attach a VCF file to an email/message,
  • host your vCard on the Web and include a hyperlink in the signature,
  • host a vCard and link to it using a QR code, or
  • encode a vCard directly in the QR code.

Now, the last point is probably the most interesting one, because it allows your recipients to scan the code to automatically add the associated contact info to their mobile phone. Since the QR code is an image, it can also be hyperlinked directly to the vCard, which gives both mobile and desktop users the easiest way to add a specific contact.

Email signature with QR code vCard

How to create a vCard in Outlook?

Go to your contacts view, pick the contact you want to export to the VCF file (create a contact if you don’t have one) and go to the File tab:

Exporting contact to vCard in Outlook.

On the File tab, click Save As:

Choosing to save a vCard in Outlook.

Finally, choose where to save the vCard. Make sure to use the VCF extension:

Choosing the location to save a VCF file.

Now, you can send the vCard as an attachment, or add it to your email signature. To add a vCard to the signature, you first need to upload it (preferably to your website, but a file sharing platform might work, as well).

QR code vCard in email signatures

Now, you can use either a hyperlink or a QR code to make your VCF file accessible to others. While adding a hyperlink is straightforward, a QR code might be a mystery for someone who never created one. Fortunately, with the free CodeTwo QR Code Desktop Reader & Generator, creating (and reading) QR codes is as easy as possible.

Simply turn on the generate mode on and insert your vCard link. The app will automatically generate the right QR code:

Generating a QR code with CodeTwo QR Code Desktop Reader & Generator

Then, the QR code can be copied and pasted into your signature, as an image. Be sure to add an icon or text suggesting the QR code links to your contact information in a vCard, for example:

Icon suggesting that QR code includes contact details

Such QR codes can be scanned from the screen with your mobile phone or by our free QR code reader and generator. This method, however, is not always optimal. Since a QR code is resolved as a link to the vCard, mobile users will not be able to add contacts automatically by scanning this QR code. If you want the QR code to trigger a contacts app on your device, it’s better to encode vCard contents directly in the QR code.

Encode a vCard in the QR code

Encoding a vCard is quite simple, instead of using the QR code reader & generator to encode a link, encode the syntax from a sample vCard instead. You can open the VCF file in a plain text editor and copy its contents to the generator:

Encoding a vCard in the QR code

If you are using Microsoft 365 (Office 365) or Exchange Server, it is also possible to add a personalized QR code to all users in a company with a single rule. All you need is the right email signature management tool.

Add a vCard QR code for all users in Microsoft 365 emails

With CodeTwo Email Signatures 365, you can easily and quickly create a unified email signature design, which:

  • looks professional,
  • strengthens your brand,
  • is automatically personalized for each user,
  • is a great marketing opportunity to promote your hottest offers,
  • and much more…

But for now, let’s focus on the vCard QR codes:

Method 1: Generate vCards directly in the QR code

The best way to go about it is to automatically generate a personal vCard for each user directly in the QR code, without having to create .vcf files and host them. All you need to do is to insert a QR code in the editor of CodeTwo Email Signatures 365 and prepare a vCard template with user data placeholders that looks something like this:

N:{Last name};{First name}
FN:{First name} {Last name}
ADR;:;;{Street};{City};{State};{Postal Code};{Country}

As soon as a user sends an email with the signature containing the QR code, the placeholders will be replaced with the actual user details from Microsoft 365. This makes the QR code a fully functional & scannable source of sender’s contact information.

For a detailed guide on how to add QR codes with a personalized vCard to email signatures in Microsoft 365 or on Exchange Server, have a look at this article.

Method 2: generate a generic link to vCards

First, upload a VCF file for each user to the same web location, naming the files according to the same pattern like {First name}.{Last name}.vcf, for example John.Doe.vcf, Megan.Bowen.vcf, Alex.Wilber.vcf, and so on.

Insert a QR code (the QR Code image placeholder) into the editor of CodeTwo Email Signatures 365:

Inserting a QR code image placeholder in the editor of CodeTwo Email Signatures 365

In the window that opens, paste the link to the web location where you host the vCards (e.g. in the Text field.

Next, at the end of the link, recreate the file naming pattern you used when naming the vCard files. You can use the Placeholder button to insert specific placeholders like {First name}, {Last name}, etc. A sample configuration is shown below:

Configuring QR code in CodeTwo Email Signatures 365

As a result, when an email signature with the QR code is inserted into an email by CodeTwo, a user will get their own personalized QR code, linking to their vCard. For example, John Doe will get the QR code linking to

These are just two examples of how CodeTwo Email Signatures 365 makes a marketing specialist or brand manager’s job easier. To see more features, visit the product’s website.

Further reading:

2 thoughts on “vCards in email signatures

  1. Raydan s gallar

    Hi there I have this information about vcard I’m not sure if I have to make one or just sent me or email me what I have to do next


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