What Is a VCF File?

How to open, edit, and convert vCard files

A file with the VCF file extension is a vCard file used for storing contact information. Besides an optional binary image, VCF files are plain text files and might include details like the contact's name, email address, physical address, phone number, and other identifiable details.

Since VCF files store contact information, they're often seen as the export/import format of some address book programs. This makes it easy to share one or more contacts, use the same contacts in different email programs or services, or back up your address book to a file.

VCF Files
VCF Files.

VCF also stands for Variant Call Format and is used as a plain text file format that stores gene sequence variations.

How to Open a VCF File

VCF files can be opened by a program that lets you view the contact details but the most common reason to open such a file is to import the address book into an email program, like one online or on your phone or computer.

Before proceeding, it's important to realize that some applications have a limit to the number of contacts that can be imported or opened at one time. If you're having troubles, you might go back to your original address book and export only half or 1/3 of the contacts to VCF, and repeat that until all of them have been moved.

Windows Contacts is built into Windows Vista and newer versions of Windows and can be used to open VCF files, as can vCardOrganizer and VCF Viewer. On a Mac, VCF files can be viewed with vCard Explorer or Address Book.

iOS devices like iPhones and iPads can also open VCF files by loading them directly into the Contacts app via an email, website, or some other means. If you're on an Android device, use the Contacts app to find Settings > Import, and then choose the .vcf file option to browse for the vCard file on your phone or Google Drive account.

VCF files can also be imported into online email clients like Gmail. From your Google Contacts page, find the Import button and choose the VCF file from the Select file button.

If a VCF file includes an image, that part of the file is binary and won't show up in a text editor. However, the other information should be completely visible and editable in any program that works with text documents.

Microsoft Outlook and Handy Address Book are two alternatives that can open VCF files but neither is free to use. For instance, if you're using MS Outlook, you can import the VCF file through the File > Open & Export > Import/Export > Import a VCARD file (.vcf) menu.

Import and Export Wizard in Outlook

Since you might have a few programs on your computer that can view VCF files, know that if you wish, you can change which one opens the file when you double-click it.

How to Convert a VCF File

CSV is a common format to convert VCF files to since it's supported by Excel and other applications that would prefer to import contacts from CSV. You can convert VCF to CSV online with vCard to LDIF/CSV Converter. There are options to choose the delimiter type as well as to export only the contacts that have email addresses.

The Handy Address Book program mentioned above is one of the best offline VCF to CSV converters. Use its File > Import menu to open the VCF file and see all the contacts. Then, select the ones you want to export and go to File > Export to choose the output type (it supports CSV, TXT, and ABK).

Still Can't Open the File?

If you can't open your file with the programs mentioned above, you might consider rechecking the file extension. It's easy to confuse file extensions when they're spelled similarly.

VFC (VentaFax Cover Page), FCF (Final Draft Converter), and VCD (Virtual CD) are just a few examples. If you really have one of those files or something different, do some research to learn about the format and which program you need to open it.