Jerry Leventer

Notes On vCard VCF File Syntax Specifications

August 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Computer Technology & Technical Support

Notes On vCard VCF File Syntax Specifications

File Extension = .vcf
Commonly Referred To As: Address Book or Contacts

URI = Uniform Resource Identifier
Character Set is UTF-8
Elements are NOT Case Sensitive

For clarity, I Choose to define the following –

PROPERTIES are defined in STATEMENTS.
One STATEMENT appears on each line of the vCard file. (Provided there is not any line folding.)

ELEMENTS

According to the specification, an ELEMENT is any defined component of the syntax specification.
A new ELEMENT may be defined according IANA. (10.2) I refer to this as a CUSTOM element. The only custom elements I use are TYPE VALUES. Since TYPE is a reserved word in the syntax, I do not refer to “Types”, I refer to Type Values.

LINE FOLDING

Line Folding requires white space at end of line to be ignored when the first character of the next line is white space.

SPACE CHARACTER

Space Characters in Property Type Values will not export properly from the Samsung Galaxy S4. For example, using a custom type value of “My Membership” (without quotes) Will export as, TEL;:8005551212 . For this to work, you must include a hyphen character between words rather than a space character. This will then export correctly as, TEL;TYPE=X-My-Membership:8005551212 (vCard Version 2.1). Gmail will import this as “Other”. For Gmail to import properly, you must convert the Samsung export to the syntax accepted by Gmail, as follows,

item1.TEL:8005551212
item1.X-ABLabel:My-Membership

PROPERTIES TYPE VALUES (v3.0)

N
FN
URL
NOTE
TEL
Home, Work, Mobile, Cell (Converts to Mobile), Home Fax, Work Fax, Callback, Pref, Other, Custom
ADR
Home, Work, Pref, Other, Custom
EMAIL
Home, Work, Pref, Other, Custom
IM
AIM, Yahoo, Skype, Windows Live, QQ, Hangouts, ICQ, Jabber, Custom
EVENTS
Birthday, Anniversary, Other, Custom
RELATIONSHIP
Assistant, Brother, Child, Father, Friend, Manager, Mother, Parent, Partner, Referred By, Relative, Sister, Spouse, Custom

SYNTAX

TEL[;TYPE= type *[“,”type]]:
ADR[;TYPE= type*[“,”type]]:
EMAIL[;TYPE= type*[“,”type]]:

EXAMPLES

TEL;:7778884444 (NOTE: Omitting the colon will result in a failed import to the phone.)
TEL;TYPE=Cell:7778884444
TEL;TYPE=X-Custom-Type-Value:777888444

Do Not Confuse Numbers with How They Are Dialed
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3966

As an example, in many countries the E.164 number “+1-212-555-3141”
will be dialed as 00-1-212-555-3141, where the leading “00” is a
prefix for international calls. (In general, a “+” symbol in E.164
indicates that an international prefix is required.)

REFERENCES

vCard v4.0 Specification
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6350

vCard 3.0 Specification
http://www.evenx.com/vcard-3-0-format-specification

vCard 2.1 Specification
http://www.imc.org/pdi/vcard-21.txt

Telephone Numbers
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3966

Reserved Property Names and Other Words
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6350

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