Outlook: Sending Contact Information with Email Messages

When I forward a vCard, the Categories field and any associated flags don't accompany the card. How can I send a vCard with this information?

Unfortunately, Microsoft's support for vCards is incomplete. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Request for Comments (RFC) 2425 and RFC 2426 govern the vCard format. RFC 2426 defines a Categories field that can hold a comma-delimited list, but Outlook doesn't support such a field. Also, nothing in the RFC corresponds to Outlook's reminder flags for contacts.

To work around these limitations, you can send an Outlook contact item instead of a vCard. To do so, go to the Inbox and click Actions, New Mail Message Using, Rich Text to create a new Rich Text Format (RTF) message. To insert the contact by using the regular Outlook editor, choose Insert, Item, then select the contact you want to add. To insert a contact by using the WordMail editor, you must copy the contact as an attachment by dragging the contact from the Contacts folder into the body of the message. If you use the latter method, you should include instructions in your message telling the recipients that if they want to add the contact to their own Contacts folder, they can drag it from the mail message to the folder.

If you're sending to someone outside your Exchange organization, you need to perform a few other steps to make sure they'll get an RTF message. If you use Outlook 2002, choose Tools, Options, Mail Format, then click Internet Format. Under Outlook Rich Text options, select Send using Outlook Rich Text format (this step isn't necessary for earlier versions). Also, before you send the message, double-click the recipient address and make sure that it's marked for rich text.

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