Difference between revisions of "vcard-implementations"

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Line 62: Line 62:
GEO is dropped.
GEO is dropped.
==== LOGO ====
==== LOGO (lack of support) ====
LOGO;VALUE=uri: is dropped.
Will not import or export vCard image references, but does support images internally in it's own contact management system.
== Windows Address Book (WAB) ==
== Windows Address Book (WAB) ==

Revision as of 21:47, 19 January 2007

vCard implementations

In the development of hCard and proxies like X2V, we have discovered various behaviors and quirks of vCard implementations. See also the vCard errata.


  • Tantek Çelik
  • Brian Suda
  • Steve Robillard

Microsoft Outlook

version? platform?

single import

Outlook (either 2003 or 2007 beta version) appears to only support one vCard per VCF. There are some third-party products that attempt to fix this [1]

URL handling

URL without non-standard TYPE parameter seems to be ignored.

ADR handling

Appears to not support the post-office-box sub-property of ADR.

Escaped Commas

Outlook 2003 does not strip the backslashes from escaped commas (i.e., SR-PS\, Inc.) on import.

Microsoft Outlook 2003

The following was verified on Outlook 2003 SP2 running on Windows XP Pro SP2


URL is changed to URL;HOME: and is not visible anywhere normally in Outlook. It is visible in the Contact Properties window under the "All Fields" when selecting "Frequently-used fields" from the "Select from:" drop-down box. It is also exported when exporting as a vCard.


ADR; is changed to ADR;POSTAL:

ADR; is copied to LABEL;POSTAL;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE: with city/state/zip changed to use carriage return and comma seperation. IE:


is changed to:



Copies FN into N when N is blank.


Drops TEL if TYPE is not specified.

TEL;TYPE=work: is changed to TEL;WORK;VOICE:


GEO is dropped.

LOGO (lack of support)

Will not import or export vCard image references, but does support images internally in it's own contact management system.

Windows Address Book (WAB)

Version 6.00.X Win98 and Win XP Pro


UTF-8 encoded vCard import prompts error as unrecognised vCard format. US ASCII 20127 encoded vCard successfully imported


If you do NOT specify TYPE=HOME,WORK,... then no address information is imported


If you do NOT specify TYPE=HOME,WORK,... then no address information is imported


Does not support Images


According to the example in the RFC spec, all commas should be escaped, but WAB does not Un-escape them, leaving \, in the notes field.

Microsoft Entourage

On Mac OS X. Entourage versions 10 and 11.

general comments

  • Entourage versions 10 and 11 export vCard files as UTF-16, big endian, with Mac classic line endings (a single CR). The file does contain the proper UTF-16 BE BOM at the start, making identification of the file contents simpler.
  • Importing vCards: Entourage 11 will look for a BOM when importing a vCard file. It respects UTF-16 BE, UTF-16 LE, and UTF-8 BOMs. With no BOM, Entourage 11 will attempt to import the vCard file as an 8-bit stream using the current system encoding (for example, Mac Roman).
  • Entourage 12 (under development) is expected to have better vCard standard conformance, exporting vCard files as UTF-8 (with individual fields properly labelled with "charset=utf-8") and using Windows (CR+LF) line endings. When importing vCard files without a BOM, it wil assume UTF-8 encoding but will respect "charset=" tags if present.

Apple Address Book

On Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) and 10.4 (Tiger).

general comments

  • There are issues with importing UTF-8 vCards. Apple Address Book appears to treat .vcf files in the file system NOT as UTF-8, but rather perhaps Mac Roman?
    • Workaround: Explicitly specify the UTF-8 charset for vCard properties/fields that have non-ASCII-7 characters.
  • Importing multiple vCards with the same fn/n results in duplicate entries in the Address Book. Basically, Address Book assumes that every vCard present in a single .vcf file represents a different person, even if the fn/n are the same etc.
    • Workarounds:
      • Only markup one hCard per person, per page (has potential implications for hResume).
      • Have the converting application/service (e.g. X2V), do automerging of hCards with the same fn/n and generate a .vcf stream with one vCard per unique fn/n.
  • Apple Address Book 4.0.4 (Mac OS X 10.4) exports vCard files as UTF-16 big endian with no BOM and Mac (CR) line endings, if the vCard record contains any non-ASCII data (for example Japanese characters). If the entire vCard record can be represented in ASCII, it is exported as an ASCII encoded file with Windows (CR+LF) line endings.

organization vs. individual

Summary: FN==ORG organization semantic supported for both import and export.

For organization contact info, sets the FN and ORG to the name of the organization and N to empty on exported vCards.

Also treats imported vCards like that as organization contact info cards visibly in the UI.

geo (lack of support)

The GEO field is ignored on imported vCards. It is only saved as part of the NOTE.

source (lack of support)

The SOURCE property is not supported on imported vCards. It is only saved as part of the NOTE.

logo (lack of support)

The LOGO property is totally ignored and not even saved as part of the NOTE.

photo (limitations)

The PHOTO property can only take inline encoded data. URL values for are ignored.

url (limitations)

Only ONE URL property value is supported (whereas multiple *should* be supported, just like EMAIL).

adr (behaviour)

If you do NOT specify which type of address information it is (like HOME or WORK) it is assumed to be a WORK address.

categories (behaviour)

Behavior confirmed on versions:

  • default on OSX.3
  • Version 4.03 (483) on OSX.

Summary: Exports native "Groups" as vCard CATEGORIES. Ignores CATEGORIES field when importing a vCard.

The UI lets you create distinct "Groups" which you can then drag contacts into. Contacts can be in more than one group. Upon exporting a contact that is in one or more Groups, those Groups are listed in the CATEGORIES field.

However, when importing vCards, the CATEGORIES field is totally ignored by Address Book.

  1. It does not add vCards with a category that matches a current Group to that Group.
  2. It does not create new Groups for vCards with new categories.
  3. It does not even add the CATEGORIES to the end of the notes field.

Though presumably it SHOULD do #1 and #2. Would also be nice if it simply let you edit the groups/categories for a contact simply as a list of tags for that contact.


On Linux.

geo (lack of support)

  • ichigo, Frederic to fill in details

Nokia series 60 address book

Line endings

The Contacts application on Nokia series 60 handsets will only open vCards with Windows (\r\n) line endings. Any other line ending styles will cause an error message.

This is actually reasonable behaviour because the vCard spec explicitly states \r\n should be used, but many applications will accept \n delimited vCards without complaint, and may microformat services produce \n delimited output.