S685IP and the VCard format

Last night my wife harangued me about not having her phone directory installed on our new handsets so she can see who is calling.

She sent me a spreadsheet with all the contacts and their respective numbers. The manual for the S685IP is a little unintuitive regarding the formatting and options for the vcard format so I started doing some digging about.

Firstly, I created a dummy entry in my handset using all the fields I could find. Then I turned on Bluetooth and transferred it to my laptop so I could see what it looked like. The Bluetooth link worked great. I could have got the vcard from the handset via the web interface, but I just wanted to test the Bluetooth functionality. Here it is:


I didn’t find a perfect csv to vcard converter for this structure, although this online one worked pretty well and only needed a bit of local massaging to import correctly. I also tried a rather old but still useful ruby project from sourceforge here, that also worked but left out the vital VERSION:X.X line altogether.

Anyway, as you should be able to see from above, the name field N: takes two parameters separated by a semicolon and does not use the discreet FN: and LN: format. Note that it is last name first.

The rest should be obvious. If you don’t have data for a field, leave the entire field out. I didn’t try sending a blank field to the handset, but leaving the fields out entirely worked just fine.

The only other “gotcha” is that the file containing your vcard data needs to be DOS formatted and not Unix formatted: CR+LF vs LF. If you are on Windows then you won’t have a problem but Linux users will need to use the tofrodos package (Ubuntu users just do sudo apt-get install tofrodos) and run the file through the unix2dos command before sending it to the handset. If you don’t, the transfer fails.

Once you have the format right, using the Web interface on the base station to upload the directory seemed to work absolutely fine. I was able to send a directory containing 70 entries to each handset. It isn’t blisteringly fast (I guess it took about 2 minutes/handset), but it’s a whole lot quicker than typing the entries in by hand!

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  • Stephan says:

    I had a similar problem and wrote a small tool – maybe this is also interesting for you: http://www.stephan-brenner.com/?page_id=211

    • Alan Lord says:

      Thanks for the info Stephan, can you provide the source so someone could try to create a cross-platform version (perhaps in Java, or Python or something?) I don’t use Windows or Mono (The .net framework for Linux) so unfortunately I can’t use it. If you release it under a GPL or similar license, then anyone can improve your programme but they must give the improvements back to the community if they distribute it.

      Thanks again,


  • Martin says:

    I tried a round trip using the VCARD facility on the S685IP Web Interface – saved a directory to my PC – transfered the VCARD back to the handset. The VCARD name format was correct (N:Last;First) but when it was read back the directory contained a Last Name of “Last;First” and no First Name. Is any body else seeing this?

    • Rick says:

      Yes; the S685IP web configurator vCard transfer is a bit of a disaster (at least in the current firmware 02191). If you download the directory and then upload it again you end up with every entry duplicated since the transfer is not symetrical. The unload merges the phones’ Surname and First Name fields into the vCard N: field, separated by a semicolon. But the upload just moves the N: field contents back to the Surname field without taking account of the semicolon field separator.

      Also, the upload automatically translates a prefix plus sign in the phone number TEL field to the currently set International Access Code (usually 00 in western Europe). From my perspective it would be better stored as + and substituted on-the-fly as it is in most cell phones.

      There doesn’t seem to be anyway of getting something into the First Name field through the web configurator route at present. There may be a way of loading the directory properly via the bluetooth interface but the quirky client software (Gigaset QuickSync) only seems to work with Windows Address Book or Outlook Contacts files, and I haven’t fiddled about with that yet.

      • Carl says:

        The same goes for the 675IP. Does anyone know where I can download the previous firmware verion (.bin file) ? The gigaset page only contains readme files.

  • Stuart says:

    According to the latest firmware readme for the 11/09 update (2214 I think). The vCard problem is fixed, about time. I just tried a transfer with a single entry and it split the name correctly with no ; showing. Hurrah!

    • Martin says:

      Seconded! However if you export from Outlook (using something like vCard Wizard) then you may find you have to remove all the non number fields as the importer chokes on these. To get ~40 cards imported I had to renove all but the N, FN and TEL entries. I’ll produce a script at some point to do this and I’ll think about how to make it work for anyone…

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