Designing and Using Electronic Business Cards with Outlook 2007

One practice that’s common across virtually all businesses is the exchange of business cards. Microsoft chose to honor that common practice by adding electronic business cards to Outlook 2007. This brings them in line with most other modern email and contact management products.. These cards, created using the industry standard vCard (.vcf) format, not only look good on the screen, but can be exchanged easily with most any other modern email or contact management program.

However, while working with electronic business cards in Outlook 2007 is easy, designing an effective, attractive business card, whether electronic or printed, can be an elaborate production with designers, focus groups, and so on. That side of things is clearly out of the scope of this article. So we’ll talk only about how you create and use electronic business cards. It’ll be up to you to come up with a design you are proud of.

How to Create an Electronic Business Card

Whenever you create a contact, Outlook automatically creates a very basic electronic business card for it. These are nothing more than lists of the basic contact information (name, address, and so on) for that contact, along with a copy of the contact’s picture (if you have one). The procedure that follows is a very basic set of instructions for creating more stylish cards to that replace these basic default cards.

To design a better electronic business card for any given contact, follow these steps:

  1. Open the contact you want to work on. You’ll see the current version of the card on the right side of the contact window.
  2. Right-click the current electronic business card, then click Edit Business Card. This opens the Edit Business Card dialog box.
  3. You’ll see numerous options and controls for modifying and controlling every aspect of the business card. Microsoft really made our lives easier here. They’ve included an image of the contact’s card that changes as you use the controls in this dialog box. That means you can see the results of each change right away. That also means you can undo changes you don’t like and allows you to freely experiment with different options.
  4. Once you’ve finalized what information you want visible on the card, switch your attention to the top of the Card Design section and work your way down each control, experimenting with different settings until you get a design that you like. If you have a particular picture you want to include on the card stored on your computer, click the Image button to insert it. Click Background to apply a background color to the card.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as many times as necessary to get a design you like. Click OK when you’re done designing.

Working with an Electronic Business Card

Your new business card design will now be visible in Business Card view and whenever you attach it to a message you’re working on. To attach your electronic business card to a message, first position the cursor in the message at the location where you want the business card to appear. Then go to the Include section of the ribbon and click Insert Business Card. The card appears at the location of the cursor in the body of the message. The card is also attached to the message in .VCF format so the recipient can easily save it.

Learning how to work with electronic business cards is just one of the topics covered in the fourth lesson of the 6-week online course, Introduction to Outlook 2007. If strengthening your Microsoft Outlook 2007 skills in this time of uncertain job prospects makes sense to you, I strongly suggest you visit http://IntroToOutlook2007.info to see if the course is available through a school near you.


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