There are many business card apps for smartphones out there, but once you capture the card, what do you do with the data? In the comments to my post about CamCard, awesome DocumentSnap reader Torkjh asked:
Hi, thanks for the post. I have tried to export my contacts into Outlook, but I don’t manage to do so. I have tried to select all cards in “card holder”, “export to vCard”, and send the vCards to my Outlook account. The problem is that it only sends ONE of the contacts as vCard and not all I’ve selected. Can anyone help me, please?
When I first read his question, I assumed he must be Doing It Wrong, and I’d be able to set him straight.
It turns out: nope. He was absolutely right. If you have a vCard file with multiple contacts, Outlook will only import the first one and ignore the rest.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways to work around this problem. There are quite a few paid Outlook tools that will accomplish this, but I wanted to stick with free and (relatively) easy.
What I Did: Export To Excel
In this case, CamCard helps. Instead of exporting to vCard, I exported to Excel.
Then on my Windows computer, I opened the Excel spreadsheet, saved it as CSV, and imported to Outlook per these instructions.
This worked well, but what if you are stuck with your vCard source file?
Convert vCard To CSV Online
There are lots of expensive vCard converters and Outlook plugins out there, and a few free command-line converters, but the easiest way by far is to use this online converter.
This tool is very widely used. In case you are concerned about uploading your contact list to some website, here is what they say:
This public service is intended to provide simple functions to convert any vCard file into another format. It was created for personal needs and is now provided on a private and non commercial basis. The uploaded file will not be stored permanently nor will the converted addresses be kept on the server.
If you still don’t trust it and are technical, you can download the script and run it locally.
Once I converted the file to CSV, I found that my copy of Outlook didn’t like something about the file. All I needed to do was open it in Excel, save it, and it worked perfectly following the import instructions above.
It might sound strange to use Google to import to Outook, but it can work as an intermediary between your vCard file and an Outlook-friendly CSV.
Follow these instructions to import your vCard into Google Contacts (start at Step 4), and then follow these instructions to export a CSV. Then follow the import instructions above.
Importing a vCard with multiple contacts to Outlook isn’t seamless, but it can be done with a little massaging. If you accomplish this another way, please let us know in the comments.
(Photo by kvanhorn)