Create and share contacts as Electronic Business Cards

Electronic Business Card The Electronic Business Cards feature, new in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, streamlines the tasks of creating and sharing contacts. An Electronic Business Card is another view of a contact that captures specific information from the contact and allows you to share that information with other people in a highly recognizable form.

Creating a new contact creates an Electronic Business Card that is associated with the contact, and vice versa. Also, any changes that you make to a contact are made in the Electronic Business Card, and vice versa.

Electronic Business Cards look like their paper counterparts and can be shared just as easily.

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Advantages of Electronic Business Cards

  • Shared information fields make creating and saving new contacts quick, with fewer errors. Although the contact form (contact form: A view of an individual contact that contains all the information stored in the contact.) contains all the information about a contact, the Electronic Business Card displays only the contact information specific to a particular audience or purpose.
  • A Business Cards view in Contacts adds visual elements, such as corporate logos, photos, and color, that make your contacts easy to scan and recognize.
  • You can easily share contact information in a familiar and visible way by including Electronic Business Cards in messages to other people.
  • A wide variety of design options allows extensive customization of the card layout, text size, and text color and allows the use of photos and company logos.
  • You can include an Electronic Business Card in your e-mail signature to send your contact information to other people, either automatically or as you choose.

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View contacts as Electronic Business Cards

Outlook offers a variety of Contact views, so that you can find and view information in a way that best fits your work style. In Office Outlook 2007, the default view is Business Cards view. In this view, all the contacts appear in the traditional look of paper business cards in your Outlook window. The alphabetical index enables you to quickly find the contact you want.

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See more of your contacts in Business Cards view

Business Cards view shows your contacts with company logos and designs, individualized backgrounds and layouts, as well as photos or other images. These design features help to make your contacts quickly recognizable when you need to locate them. You and the size of your Outlook window determine how many cards you can view at a time.

By positioning the fields manually when you edit a card, you can choose what information is visible on the card in Business Cards view. You can modify the information for your own card and the cards that you receive from other people. If there is more contact information than can be displayed in Business Cards view, double-click the card to see the contact form (contact form: A view of an individual contact that contains all the information stored in the contact.), and then complete the contact information.

Change the number of cards displayed in Business Cards view

To change the number of Electronic Business Cards that are displayed at one time in Business Cards view, you can change the size of the cards. If you are trying to see as many cards as possible, make your Outlook window as large as possible.

Change the card size in Business Cards view

  1. In Contacts, in the Navigation Pane, click Customize Current View.
  2. In the Customize View: Business Cards dialog box, click Other Settings.
  3. Under Card fields, change the number in the Card size % box. A smaller number displays more cards, and a larger number displays fewer cards.
  4. Click OK.

 Note   You can also get to Other Settings on the View menu. Point to Current View, and then click Customize Current View.

 Tip   If you use a Microsoft IntelliMouse pointing device, you can change the number of cards displayed by holding down CTRL and rotating the IntelliMouse wheel. Rotate the wheel forward to see fewer and larger cards, and rotate it back to see more and smaller cards.

The view that you just created is now your default Business Cards view, even after you exit and restart Office Outlook 2007, until you change the view.

You can also view the cards in Business Cards view in Contacts by scrolling through the list of cards and using the alphabetical index to the right of the cards.

Change to Business Cards view

Although Business Cards view is the default view in Contacts, you may have exited Outlook when you were working in a different Contacts view. When you exit, Outlook saves the last active view, and this is the view that you see when you restart Outlook, until you change it.

  • In Office Outlook 2007, in Contacts, in the Navigation Pane, under Current View, click Business Cards.

ShowI don't see the Navigation Pane

The Navigation Pane may be turned off or minimized.

  • On the View menu, point to Navigation Pane, and then click Normal.

Change the default view in Contacts

When you exit Outlook, Outlook saves the last active view, and this is the view that you see when you restart Outlook. Generally, the view that you work in most often is your default view, until you change it before you exit Outlook.

  1. In Contacts, in the Navigation Pane, under Current View, click a view that you want.
  2. Exit and restart Outlook.

ShowI don't see the Navigation Pane

The Navigation Pane may be turned off or minimized.

  • On the View menu, point to Navigation Pane, and then click Normal.

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How Electronic Business Cards appear to recipients

Electronic Business Cards can be included in e-mail messages to send the contact information that you want to share and to visually communicate a corporate or personal identity. Depending on the e-mail application that your recipients use, they may see the Electronic Business Card or just receive the information that is included in the card in an attached .vcf file.

.vcf attachment in a message header

Double-clicking the attached .vcf file opens the contact form (contact form: A view of an individual contact that contains all the information stored in the contact.), which can then be saved to the recipient's contact list.

Recipients who use Office Outlook 2007    see the Electronic Business Card in the message, just as you sent it. The recipients can right-click the card to save the information in it to their Outlook Contacts.

Recipients who use earlier versions of Outlook or other e-mail applications that use HTML to view e-mail    also see the Electronic Business Card in their message. These cards are only images and are not clickable. However, recipients also receive an attached .vcf file that contains the information in the Electronic Business Card. The recipients can open the .vcf file and save that information in their contact lists.

Recipients who view their e-mail messages in plain text    do not see an image of the Electronic Business Card in the message, but they receive the .vcf file attachment that contains the contact information that they can save to their contact lists.

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Create Electronic Business Cards

When you create a new contact in a contact form (contact form: A view of an individual contact that contains all the information stored in the contact.) or save a contact from someone else, that same information can be displayed as an Electronic Business Card. You can still create and edit each view individually, but in both cases, the contact form and the Electronic Business Card, the basic information for the contact is available to add to. By entering information only once (or saving it directly from another card), you can reduce errors.

For example, when you receive an Electronic Business Card from someone and save that card to your Outlook Contacts, the information that is included in the card can also be viewed in a contact form or other Contacts view. When you update the information in one view, it is also updated in the other view, unless you choose otherwise.

When you create a new contact by opening a new contact form and typing the contact's information, the corresponding fields are automatically filled out in an Electronic Business Card view of that contact.

Electronic Business Card shows a subset of the information in the related contact form

Callout 1 A contact form that contains Jon Morris's information.
Callout 2 A view of the Edit Business Card dialog box, with the corresponding fields filled in for Jon Morris's Electronic Business Card.

Create a new Electronic Business Card from:

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An Electronic Business Card you receive in a message

This is a quick way to add new contact information to Outlook. When you save an Electronic Business Card from an e-mail message, you create a new contact. If you already have a contact by the same name, you can save the duplicate as a new contact or update the original.

To make changes to the card after you save it, see the instructions in the following section about creating a new Electronic Business Card from an existing or blank Electronic Business Card.

  1. In an open message, right-click the card, and then click Add to Outlook Contacts on the shortcut menu. The new contact opens in the contact form.
  2. On the Contact tab, in the Actions group, click Save & Close.
  3. If you already have a contact with the same name, Outlook detects the duplicate. Do one of the following:
    • Select Add new contact.

This creates a duplicate contact, including a contact form and Electronic Business Card.

  • Select Update information of selected Contact.

Existing duplicate contacts are listed. Double-click the contact to update it, and then update the information on the contact form and save it.

The new contact information is now saved in Contacts, available as an Electronic Business Card and in other views. You can make changes to the contact information both before and after you save it.

 Notes 

  • You can also right-click the attached .vcf file in the message header to open the shortcut menu and add the contact or choose other options.
  • If you click the Save & New option in the contact form, the open contact is saved, and a new, blank contact form opens.

An existing or blank Electronic Business Card

Create a new Electronic Business Card from a blank card, or use an existing card as a "template" on which to build another, similar card. You can change any of the information, and you can also change any of the layout and design elements. Basing a new card on another is a quick way to create Electronic Business Cards for different purposes that share some common contact information. For example, you might want to have three cards, one for work, one for home use, and one for a club membership.

As you create a new Electronic Business Card, you are also creating a new contact. When you save the new card, Outlook creates a new contact in your Contacts list. You can have contacts with duplicate names. When you save new cards with the same names, they are added to your Contacts and listed with their similarly named counterparts.

 Tip   Business Cards view is a good choice of views in which to see enough information to distinguish contacts with duplicate names.

 Note   You can start by editing the contact information in an existing contact form, before you position and format the text in the Edit Business Card dialog box. You can also edit all the information from within the Edit Business Card dialog box. Either preference allows you to add new information as you work. If you choose the first option, make those changes before you start the steps below.

Edit Business Card dialog box

Callout 1 Before you add or change the contact information, choose the layout and background for your card. Add any pictures or other graphics. Each of these elements helps you to position the text when you start adding the information.
Callout 2 Clicking Add displays a list of standard fields. After you select the field, it is added to the Fields list. Four custom fields are also available.
Callout 3 After you choose a field, type the text for that field in the box under Edit. As you type, the text appears in the card preview.
Callout 4 Assigning labels for information such as a home phone or business address is optional. You can use the field names or type your own labels.
Callout 5 Blank Line fields enable you to include empty line spaces on the card.
Callout 6 Click the arrow buttons to move a selected field up or down on the card.

Do the following to make changes to an existing Electronic Business Card or to create one from a blank card:

  • Choose the layout and background    
    1. In Contacts, click New.
    2. In the contact form, click the business card to open the Edit Business Card box.
    3. In the Card Design section, in the Layout list, select a layout. A Text Only layout is available for a card with no picture, logo, or other image.

 Note   When you start, the default Outlook card layout is visible in the preview box next to the Card Design section. You can also use this image and the layout choices for your card.

  1. If you want a background color for the card, click Background, and then click a color.

 Note   If you use an image as the background for a card, to eliminate distortion the image should be the same size as the face of the card, 248 pixels by 148 pixels. (The card itself has a one pixel border on all asides.)

  1. If you want to add an image, such as a picture or company logo, use the image options to find, add, and position the image.

 Note   To delete the default or other image on the card, you must select Text Only in the Layout list.

  • Add contact information    
    1. In the Fields list, select a field or blank line space above where you want your text to appear.
    2. Click Add, point to Name, and then click Full Name.

 Tip   Only the type of information appears in the Fields list. After you enter the text for the information, that text appears above the Fields list in the preview box.

  1. Under Edit, type the name for the card.
  2. If you want the name to have a label, in the label list, select Left or Right.

 Note   A label can clarify the type of information on a card, and Left or Right indicates where the label is positioned next to the information. For example, in the Electronic Business Card entry Jon Morris, proprietor, Jon Morris is the name, and proprietor is a label for the name.

  1. In the Label box, type the label for the name.

 Tip   Field names make convenient, familiar labels.

  1. Continue to add information to the card, following steps 1 through 5.
  2. To remove a field from the card, click the field, and then click Remove.
  3. To add empty line spaces, click the field above where you want the empty space, click Add, and then click Blank Line.

 Tip   By default, empty line spaces on a card show as Blank Line fields. As you add information to the card, you can add new information fields between the Blank Line fields. For example, click Blank Line, click Add, and then click a field. The field appears beneath the blank line.

  1. To position text on the card, click a field, and under the Fields list, use the Up and Down arrows to move the fields.
  2. If you want to format the text, use the formatting and style buttons under Edit. The text formatting toolbar in the Edit Business Cards dialog box

Some options include:

  • Resizing text
  • Using colored text
  • Positioning (aligning) text left, right, or centered
  1. When you finish adding information to the card, click OK.

 Note   If you click Reset Card, the card reverts to the default Outlook design and the information that is entered in the default fields in the contact form.

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Save a contact or Electronic Business Card

When you receive contact information as an Electronic Business Card or a contact form (contact form: A view of an individual contact that contains all the information stored in the contact.) (as a .vcf file) in an e-mail message, you can right-click the card or the attached .vcf file and choose options from the shortcut menu. If you already have a contact by that name, you are prompted to choose how you want to address the duplicate — by updating the earlier contact or by creating a new one.

Save an Electronic Business Card that you receive

  1. In the message, right-click the card, and then click Add to Outlook Contacts on the shortcut menu. This opens the card in a contact form in Contacts.
  2. On the Contacts tab, in the Actions group, click Save & Close.

 Notes 

  • If you already have a contact with the same name, when you click Save & Close, a dialog box appears with options for either adding a new contact or updating the information for the selected contact.
  • In the Actions group, you can also click Save & New, which saves the contact and then opens a new, empty contact form.

Save a .vcf file that you receive

  1. In the header of the message, double-click the .vcf file attachment. This opens the card in a contact form in Contacts.
  2. On the Contacts tab, in the Actions group, click Save & Close.

 Notes 

  • If you already have a contact with the same name, when you click Save & Close, a dialog box appears with options for either adding a new contact or updating the information for the selected contact.
  • In the Actions group, you can also click Save & New, which saves the contact and then opens a new, empty contact form.

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Send Electronic Business Cards to other people

Electronic Business Cards make sharing contact information easier. They can quickly be inserted into messages that you send and are immediately recognizable by the recipient. You can send your corporate Electronic Business Card or a personal one that you customized. Or you can send someone else's contact information as an Electronic Business Card. You can also forward the cards. In each case, in an HTML-based message, the person who receives your message gets a visible identifier to quickly save as a contact.

.vcf attachment in message header

Double-clicking the attached .vcf file opens the contact form (contact form: A view of an individual contact that contains all the information stored in the contact.), which can then be saved to the recipient's contact list.

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How do Electronic Business Cards appear to other people?

People who use Office Outlook 2007     The Electronic Business Card appears in the message, just as you sent it. The recipient can right-click the card and save the information to Outlook Contacts.

People with earlier versions of Outlook or other e-mail applications who use HTML to view e-mail     The recipients see the Electronic Business Card in their message. These cards are images only, however. Recipients also receive an attached .vcf file that contains the card's information. They can open the .vcf file and save that information to their contact lists.

People who view their e-mail in plain text      The visual repsentation of the Electronic Business Card is not available in the message, but they receive the .vcf file attachment, which contains the contact information that they can save to their contact lists.

Insert an Electronic Business Card in a message

  1. In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Business Card, and then click a name in the list.
  2. If you don't see the name that you want, click Other Business Cards, click the name in the Filed As list, and then click OK.

 Notes 

  • The Business Card menu shows the last 10 contact names that were inserted as Electronic Business Cards in messages.
  • You can insert more than one Electronic Business Card in a message.
  • To help distinguish between duplicate names on the Business Card menu, click Other Business Cards. You see more information, including a card preview, in the Insert Business Card dialog box.
  • If you drag a business card from Business Cards view into a new message, only a .vcf file is included when the message is sent. This attached .vcf file opens the contact form with all the information that the recipients can save to their contact lists. If a recipient is using Office Outlook 2007, the Electronic Business Card is visible in the contact form.

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Design Electronic Business Cards

Now everyone can have a business card, whether it is a polished professional corporate card, a creative one indicating a flair for design, or something more informal that reflects your personality. Whatever your choice, you can design an Electronic Business Card that best represents you or your organization. And you can have more than one, designing them for business, personal, or other purposes. You can also find templates for Electronic Business Cards online.

Sharing one design across your organization

To ensure that a business or group is represented consistently and accurately, organizations can create Electronic Business Card "templates," either as new designs or as mirrors of their printed business cards. Employees or other organization members can then personalize the cards as necessary.

The following are some design features and options that are available for Electronic Business Cards. You can find the step-by-step instructions for creating cards in the previous sections.

Designing the layout

  • Choose from six different card layouts. Position an image (or the default Office Outlook 2007 logo) right, left, top, or bottom, or use a text-only design. You can also use an image for the background.
  • Background color can make your card stand out from others. Choose from a large palette of colors, or define custom colors.
  • Pictures or other images saved in most graphics formats, such as .bmp, .jpg, and .wmf, can be added to the card. Images such as corporate logos and personal photos make your card more easily recognized.
  • After you add the images, they can be sized and positioned with precision for further customizing.

Designing the information

  • The fields provided for information types include those most commonly used on traditional cards, such as Business Phone, Organization, E-mail, and Job Title.
  • You can also create your own custom fields for the information of your choice.
  • Some fields include multiple lines for information, such as those for addresses. Custom fields can also have multiple lines.
  • Labels help identify information. The available labels are those listed on the Add menu for the information types. You can also create custom labels.
  • Blank lines, used to add empty line spaces, not only add to the readability of the card, but also help to organize and group related information. For example, if you have more than one phone number on a card, use a blank line above and below the phone numbers to help readers quickly find and distinguish the phone numbers from other information.
  • Different font colors and sizes allow for more fine-tuning for visibility and space.

 Note   Not all contact information may show on the Electronic Business Card, even though it is included on the contact form (contact form: A view of an individual contact that contains all the information stored in the contact.). When you design the information content of a card, you can see in the preview box how the information fits into the card.

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Include an Electronic Business Card in your e-mail signature

By adding your Electronic Business Card to your e-mail signature, you can automatically include your contact information in each message that you send. You can also have a signature that contains only an Electronic Business Card. Recipients can right-click the card in the signature (or right-click the .vcf file) to save it directly to their contacts list.

How a signature with an Electronic Business Card appears in a message

Callout 1 When you send a message with a signature that includes an Electronic Business Card, a .vcf file is attached that contains all the contact information. This enables recipients with other e-mail applications to view and save the contact information.
Callout 2 The card is displayed in the signature.
Callout 3 When you receive a message with a card in the signature, right-click the card image in the signature and click Add to Contacts, the contact form opens for that contact. Then you can view it or save it.

For example, perhaps your company policy states that all employees must include their basic contact information in company e-mail correspondence. After the company designates a card design, employees can fill in their contact information, include the card in their official company signatures, and have the signatures automatically added to each message they send from their business e-mail account.

You can have as many signatures and as many Electronic Business Cards as you want, so you can create multiple signatures for a variety of purposes, such as business, family communications, and more.

To include signatures with Electronic Business Cards in messages, you must first create the signature and then insert it into the messages. You can manually insert a signature in each message or designate a default signature to be automatically inserted into every message that you send.

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Create a signature and include an Electronic Business Card

  1. In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then click Signatures.
  2. On the E-mail Signature tab, click New.
  3. Type a name for the signature, and then click OK.
  4. In the Edit Signature box, type the text that you want to include in the signature.
  5. To format the text, select the text, and then use the style and formatting buttons to select the options that you want.

 Note   These options are not available if you use plain text as your default message format.

  1. To add an Electronic Business Card, place your insertion point where you want the card to appear in the signature text, click Business Card, and then click a contact name on the Filed As list. Then click OK.
  2. To add a picture, place your insertion point where you want the picture to appear in the signature text, click Insert Picture, choose an image, and then click OK.
  3. To add a hyperlink, place your insertion point where you want the link to appear in the signature text, click Insert Hyperlink, choose a hyperlink, and then click OK.
  4. Under Choose default signature, in the E-mail Account list, click an e-mail account with which you always want to associate the signature.
  5. In the New messages list:
    • If you want a signature automatically inserted in each message that is sent from the e-mail account that you choose, select a signature in the list.
    • If you do not want a signature automatically inserted in each message that is sent, select none in the list.

 Note   You can also insert signatures manually in individual messages.

  1. If you want a signature included in message replies and in forwarded messages, in the Replies/forwards list, select a signature. If not, select none.
  2. After you finish creating the signature, click OK.

Insert a signature in a message

You can set a default signature to be inserted into all your outgoing messages, or you can insert a signature manually into outgoing messages on an individual basis.

Do one of the following:

  • Insert a signature automatically    
    1. In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then click Signatures.
    2. On the E-mail Signature tab, in the Select signature to edit list, select the signature that you want.
    3. Under Choose default signature, in the New messages list, select the signature that you want.
    4. If you want a signature to be included in message replies and in forwarded messages, in the Replies/forwards list, select the signature. If not, select none.
    5. Click OK.
  • Insert a signature manually    
  1. In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then select the signature that you want.

 Note   You can also access the signature options on the Insert tab in an open message after you click Reply, Reply to All, or Forward.

  1. If you don't see the signature that you want, click Signatures, select the signature name in the Select signature to edit list, and click OK.
  2. In the message, click Signature, and then select the name of the signature.

Download free electronic business card templates  Use the professionally designed card templates on Office Online or get ideas for designing your own.  You can also find printable and Community-submitted card designs.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007