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Sunday, February 20, 2011

How do I import vCards and groups of contacts?

As users begin to feel comfortable with their phones, one of their first major tasks is to add contacts, a list of names, phone numbers, and email addresses to their devices. Contacts can be added from electronic business cards via email attachments, brought in from VCF files stored on the phone's SD card, or imported from the computer via the Google cloud, which refers to the online address book associated with a Gmail account. At this time, adding the sender of an email to contacts is not accessible in K-9 Mail.

The information in this post covers working with electronic business cards (VCards), using VCF files stored on the phone's SD card, and importing contacts from the Google cloud.

For information on adding individual contacts from the Call Log, the text messenger, and the contacts app or on managing and using contacts in general, refer to the previous post.

Users coming to Android from Nokia may be interested in J.J. Meddaugh's post on transferring contacts from Nokia to Android.

Users working with the Motorola Motoblur UI may find more helpful information about adding and managing individual contacts in Motoblur in the post by Chris Gilland.

Users working with the Samsung Touchwiz UI may find more helpful information about navigating the Touchwiz Call Log in the post by John J. Herzog.

Adding Contacts from an Email Attachment in K-9 Mail

Users who receive electronic business cards can quickly and easily copy the information from the vCard to Contacts, using K-9 Mail. The steps are as follows:

1. In K-9 Mail, open the message with the vCard attachment.
2. In the open message, navigate to and press the selector on the Open button on screen. The button can also be accessed by pressing the Menu button on the device.
3. If the Android system screen opens, navigate to and press the selector on Contacts, or navigate to and press the selector first on Use by Default for this Action, then on Contacts.

The Contacts app opens, and focus moves to the View Details screen for the newly imported contact. Users can edit or simply close with the Back key.

Adding Contacts from the SD Card

Contacts can be added from VCF files stored on the SD card. VCF is the file format used for electronic business cards or vCards, and it is also commonly used for sharing contact information among applications. Files of this type may contain single contacts or groups of VCF files. To import information from VCF files to the phone, do the following:

1. Open Contacts.
2. Press the Menu button.
3. Navigate to and press the selector on Import/Export.
4. Navigate to and press the selector on Import from SD card.
5. Wait a few seconds for the phone to search the SD card and import the files.

Focus returns to the main Contacts screen, so users may search for the new contact to make sure it has been properly added to the list.

Adding contacts from the Computer

Moving Contacts from the computer to the Android phone is a 3-step process. First, Contacts are collected into a file from the email reader on the computer. Second, the Contacts file is uploaded to Google. Third, the Contacts are downloaded from Google to the phone. In some cases, there's a fourth step, which is to ensure that new contacts added to the phone are uploaded to Google. While the process may seem complicated, it’s actually just a matter of following these steps:

1. Turn the Contacts on your computer into a CSV or VCF File. CSV and VCF files are simple text files that contain address book information. The acronyms stand for comma separated values and vCard files. For specific instructions on how to make these types of files, run an internet search by typing the name of your email reader and the term “CSV file” for Windows or the name of the app and "VCF" for Mac. Most likely, the procedure for individual contacts will include going into Files, then Save As, and for groups of files, it will probably involve going into Files, then Export.
2. Upload the CSV or VCF file to Google.
a. Go to your Gmail page on the computer.
b. Make sure you are in Standard View by using your screen reader or browser to locate the word "standard." You should find a line of text that says, "Gmail view: standard." If what you find is a Standard View link, pres enter on it and check the screen again.
c. Find the Contacts link, and press enter to open a new page.
d. Find the More Actions button, and press enter to access additional options.
e. Find the Import Contacts link, and Press enter to reach the upload screen.
f. Find a combo box that asks where you want your contacts imported. Open it with alt+down-arrow and select the My Contacts option. Tab once to get out of that combo box.
g. Find the Browse button, press it, and navigate through your hard drive to the CSV file you made in Step 1, pressing open/choose when you locate it. Your computer takes a moment to upload the file.
h. Tab to the Import button and press enter to move the contacts into Google.
i. After a few seconds, find the word "CSV" or "VCF." If the upload process is successful, a notification that X number of contacts has been imported from the CSV/VCF file appears on the screen.
3. Most likely, your contacts sync to the phone automatically. If they do not appear on the phone within a few minutes, adjust the sync settings on the device by going into Settings, then Accounts and Sync and doing the following:
a. Navigate to Background Data and check it.
b. Navigate to Autosync and check it.
c. Navigate to the item with your Gmail account and press the selector; then check Sync contacts.
4. Make sure the new contacts you add to the phone are synced to the Google Cloud. In most cases, contacts added to the phone are also uploaded to the cloud, but if they are not, try the following procedure, which you should only have to do once:
a. Go to your Gmail page on the computer.
b. Make sure you are in Standard View by using your screen reader or browser to locate the word "standard." You should find a message that says, "Gmail view: standard." If what you find is a Standard View link, pres enter on it and check the screen again.
c. Find the Contacts link, and press enter to open a new page.
d. Find the More Actions button, and press enter to access additional options.
e. Find the Import Contacts link, and Press enter to reach the upload screen.
f. Find a combo box that asks where you want your contacts imported. Open it with alt+down-arrow and select the Start with Android option. Tab once to get out of that combo box.
g. Tab to the Import button and press enter.

7 comments:

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  3. This is good information. I find the App route easiest to use and used CoJu app in Android to
    export a single vCard file with all contact and imported into iPhone using MCBackup.

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  4. My wife's Samsung is know importing about 1000 .vcf format contacts from an SD card - it's happening terribly slowly and the message bar's been full of blinking download icons for about 20 minutes. We start worrying a bit now...

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