What is a vCard?

A vCard is the digital equivalent of a business card. vCards can be used to represent email or mobile contacts, allowing for a standard format of detailed information that goes beyond just name, email address and/or phone number. Once a vCard is imported to a program, it can be traded through various methods as attachments to emails or as downloadable contact information from a website such as the UNC Directory. vCards will commonly be used at UNC in email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird. Likewise, vCards are compatible with most phones, so vCards may be used as the contact information for phone contacts. For more information, see the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vcard.

How do I download a vCard from the UNC Directory?

Once you have found the directory entry you are searching for, the entry will have a link at the bottom of the page called “Download vCard”. Click the link and you can choose to “save” it to your computer or “open” it with your default vCard program. If you open it with a program like Microsoft Outlook, the vCard Entry will open as a contact entry where you can add information to it if you want. After viewing the card, be sure to save it so that it is now available as one of your contacts. On most mobile devices, there will be similar options for saving the vCard as a contact. If you choose to initially save the vCard to your computer or mobile device without opening it, you may need to use import options in your program of choice for using the card so the contact is properly imported to the program.

Why should I use vCards?

Since vCards store all of the public directory information for a particular contact, you may find it easier to reference data such as secondary phone numbers or location information without going back to the directory to look it up. This detailed information might not have been readily useful when you were only looking for a phone number or email address. Likewise, the vCard is easy to attach to an email if you are instructing someone to get in touch with another person. You would attach the vCard instead of typing out the contact information manually. The vCard can also be used as your signature in email clients, making the format of your signature uniform and consistent with many other University email users as well as providing more in-depth contact information to those you communicate with.

What if I change my information in the Directory?

If your information in the directory is changed, you may need to delete your current vCard and download the new one because the vCards are dynamically created at the moment you download them. All of the vCards from the UNC directory contain a link to the original location of the card, so you can open the vCard from your contacts and follow the link to get the newest version of the card. Some programs automatically check back with the original location and automatically refresh any new data. You will need to research your particular application to find out if it does this.