How to include vCards as QR codes in email signatures

Problem:

You would like to insert a vCard as a QR code in an email signature added by CodeTwo software. You want to have this QR code personalized so that every user has their individual vCard added to their signature.

Solution:

The vCard standard is a popular and easy way to share contact information. In most PC operating systems, double-clicking the vCard (.vcf) file adds a new entry to the address book of the default email program (e.g. Outlook).

VCF files are plain text files with appropriate fields inside. That is why vCards can be converted into QR (Quick Response) codes. QR codes can be very useful, for example to quickly share contact information with mobile devices: by scanning a vCard converted into a QR code with your phone's camera, you can automatically add a new contact to your address book (Fig. 1.).

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Fig. 1. Cameras in mobile devices can read vCard information from QR codes.

How to insert QR codes (containing vCard info) into email signatures

CodeTwo signature-adding programs allow you to generate a QR code image from text input and add it to email signatures. You can also include Active Directory attributes of your users in the generated QR codes so that the QR code changes depending on the message sender.

To generate a QR code image based on a text value, you need to:

  1. Open your signature template in the CodeTwo software that you use.
  2. Select a place in your signature where you would like to add a QR code, click the AD attributes button on the Editor's ribbon, and go to Other > QR Code image (Fig. 2.).

Older versions of CodeTwo programs

If you use an older version of CodeTwo software, you can insert QR codes by clicking the Dynamic Field button and choosing GeneralQR Code Image.

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Fig. 2. Adding a QR code image in CodeTwo Editor.

  1. The QR Code image configuration window opens (Fig. 3.). Here, you can provide a text value that will be converted into a QR Code image. You can also specify the size of the image, see a live preview of the image, and insert AD placeholders.

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Fig. 3. The QR Code image configuration window.

  1. If you want to create a QR code image that includes a vCard, you need to open your vCard (.vcf) file in any text editor, copy the file content (text), and paste it in the QR Code image configuration window, as shown in Fig. 3. If you see the Limit exceeded notification, increase the size of image via the drop-down menu.
  2. If you want to create a QR code that displays personalized data (that dynamically changes based on the sender), you need to replace some of the text with AD attribute placeholders. See the example below.

Example: Let's suppose that your vCard text looks as below.

BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:2.1
FN:Simon Luck
ORG:CodeTwo
TITLE:Marketing Manager
TEL:+ 1 888 725 33 64
EMAIL:simon@codetwo.com
END:VCARD

If you want the QR code to change depending on the sender, you need to replace some parts of the text (in bold in the sample code above) with appropriate placeholders, by using the Insert placeholder drop-down menu. For example, replace Simon with the First name field, Luck with Last name, and so on. The result should look like the code below:

BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:2.1
FN:{First name} {Last name}
ORG:{Company}
TITLE:{Title}
TEL:{Phone}
EMAIL:{E-mail}
END:VCARD
  1. The last step is to save the signature template and then save the program's settings.

That's all - now when someone sends a message that meets the rule's conditions, a signature with a vCard encoded as a QR image is inserted into the message, and the vCards content depends on who is the sender.

The VCF code provides much more fields to be defined - the full list is available here.

Tip

If the sample vCard above is not displaying correctly (some fields are missing) on your mobile device, this may mean that the app you are using does not support vCards in version 2.1. To fix this, change the vCard code to version 3.0, as shown below.

BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:3.0
FN:{First name} {Last name}
ORG:{Company}
TITLE:{Title}
TEL;TYPE=WORK,VOICE:{Phone}
EMAIL;TYPE=PREF,INTERNET:{E-mail}
END:VCARD