Saturday, March 10, 2012

Share Contact for Windows Phone 7


Unlike other contact sharing applications for Windows Phone 7, Share Contact allows you to both (easily) send and receive contact details. Other apps allow you to send contact information or turn it into a QR code, but Share Contact is one of the few (or possibly the only app) that allows you to easily save contact data from an SMS or email message into your phone book. Like other apps you can share a contacts details via email, SMS or QR code. The receive function works best with data that was also sent by Share Contact, but can also handle data from a number of other popular contact sharing applications in the WP7 marketplace. Note that when you want to receive a contact’s details via QR code, you don’t need an app on WP7 at all – just use Bing Vision Search.


Finding a Contact


Finding a contact works much like the people hub in Windows Phone 7. You are presented with a list of contact which you can scroll through by flicking or panning vertically with your finger. Alternatively you can press one of the boxes with a letter in it to bring up a ‘jump list’ which allows you to quickly move to a particular location in the list if it’s very large. Finally, you can press the search button in the app bar at the bottom of the screen to display a search field, simply key part of a name into the search field and the list will be filtered to show only contacts that match your search criteria.

On the settings screen you can also choose to filter out contacts that don’t have certain types of information (i.e phone number or email). More on that later.




Sharing a Contact

Once you’ve found a contact, just tap on them once to bring up the share screen. On the first page of the share screen you’ll Share2see options for which kinds of data you want to share, i.e business details, personal details, website etc. Check the box next to each kind of information you want to share. You can now either press one of the share option buttons at the bottom of the screen (SMS, Email or QR code). If the contact you’ve selected has multiple profiles linked together then the information from each profile will be merged together into a single set of information to be shared.

Share3If you want to share information only from one profile for this contact, such as a specific Microsoft Exchange account then flick left or right with your finger to pan through the linked profiles for this contact. Each page will show the name of the account and then the contact details that account contains for this contact. When you find the account with the details you want to share, press one of the share buttons in the app bar at the bottom of the screen. The choices you made on the first screen for what kinds of data you want to share will still apply, so if you chose to only share business contact details and the profile you’ve selected contains both personal and business details, only the business data will be included.




Using Favourites


You can mark a contact as a favourite by performing a tap-and-hold  on the contact in the main contact list, then tapping on the ‘favourite’ menu that pops-up. When you mark a contact as a favourite it moves to the favourites page and becomes an animated tile, switching between the contacts name and profile image. You can access the favourites list by swiping left or right with your finger while on the main screen showing the contact list.

If you tap on a favourite tile for a contact the share page for that contact is shown. Using favourites can be very convenient when you have contacts you often share, such as work colleagues.




Sharing Your Own Details

Often you want to pass your own details on to somebody. This couldn’t be easier. From the main screen with the contacts list displayed, just tap on the ‘share me’ button (which looks like a person with an arrow sticking out of them). If you’ve already setup your contact details then you’ll go straight to the share page for yourself. If you haven’t setup your details yet, you’ll be prompted to do so. You can add or edit information about yourself at any time on the settings screen, and if you have yourself in your phonebook as a contact you can even loaded your details automatically from that contact record. Unfortunately due to restrictions on what 3rd party applications can do, we can’t automatically read your phone number, name and email addresses etc. from the phone, so you need to setup this information at least once.

Receiving a Contact from SMS or Email

Receive1Receiving a contact from SMS or email is pretty much the same process, although slightly easier for SMS messages. First you need to open the SMS or email message and copy the text of the message. For an SMS message just tap-and-hold on the balloon for the message, then choose ‘copy’ from the menu that pops-up. For email messages, you need to tap once on a word inside the email message so the word highlights, then drag the arrows at the end of the highlight until the full message is highlighted. When all the text is highlighted, tap the copy icon (two pages in a circle) that will be displayed just above the selected text.

When you have copied the text, open Share Contact and flick left to go to the ‘Receive’ page. Tap in the large boxReceive2 display, and then press the ‘paste’ button just above the keyboard (looks like a clipboard in a circle). The text of your message will now be shown in the box you tapped in before. Now just tap the ‘save’ button (looks like a floppy disk in a circle) in the app bar at the bottom of the screen. This will bring up the standard WP7 Save Contact screen with all the field prepopulated for you. You can edit the data if you want, or else just choose to save the contact by pressing the save button at the bottom of the screen again.






The settings screen has two pages. The first page allows you to choose settings for how the application works and looks. The options include filtering out contacts that don’t have a particular type of contact information such as phone number, email address or physical address. These options are used in an ‘or’ fashion, so if you check phone number and email, then contacts that have either a phone number, an email address or both will be displayed.

You can also choose whether or not a link to Share Contact is automatically included in SMS and email messages sent from the application, to make it easier for people receiving the message to make it easier to find the app and download it themselves.

Finally, you can choose whether contacts are sorted by first or last name when displayed in the contact list.

If you swipe left or right on the settings screen, you’ll go to the ‘my details’ page which allows you to enter and edit your own contact details for later sharing. There is also a ‘load from contact’ button which will import your details from an existing contact record, if you have yourself loaded as a contact for some reason.