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Create Links for All Telephone Numbers in Datafile

Even though your Mac may not be able to make a phone connection itself, it can be used to make a call by way of your iPhone.

It takes a bit to get a datafile set up for dialing this way, but it's pretty easy after that. This article explains how to add clickable links for phone numbers in the Freeform Text Area of any datafile.

A bonus is that when a datafile that contains such links is opened in iData Mobile Plus, those same links can be dialed by simply tapping them.

Setting Up the Mac, iPhone, and FaceTime to Work Together

1.

Creating Telephone Number Templates

The first step is to create templates in the Dialing tab of the iData Pro Preferences dialog.

   1. Run iData Pro.

    2. Select Preferences... under the iData Pro menu.

    3. When the Preferences dialog window comes up, select the Dialing tab. The window will then look something like this:



    4. Click in the Telephone Number Templates: field and type templates to represent common telephone number patterns that you use in your datafiles.

    Use the letter 'n' to represent any number. You can use hyphens to separate groups of numbers, and you can also include parentheses and actual numbers. HOWEVER, templates that include spaces won't work as links.

    For example, here are some templates, followed by some typical phone numbers that would fit them:

nnn-nnnn
555-1234
555-0945
555-9394
nnn-nnn-nnnn
360-555-1234
828-555-0945
785-555-9394
(nnn)nnn-nnnn
(360)555-1234
(828)555-0945 (785)555-9394

    5. Close the Preferences window.

Setting Links for Telephone Numbers

There are two ways to set links for telephone numbers in a datafile.

    1. The first is to use Create Links for All Telephone Numbers in Datafile under the Format menu.

        a. Open a datafile that includes some phone numbers in the Freeform Text Area. Here's a typical one, containing three phone numbers:



        b. Select Create Links for All Telephone Numbers in Datafile under the Format menu. The time required will vary with the size of the datafile. The result will be that all phone numbers that match the templates that you set up will show up as links:



        c. To see what an actual link looks like, select a phone number and click the  link button in the toolbar. A sheet window will open to display the link. Note that the highlighted telephone number is preceded by tel://, which is the telephone link prefix.



        d. When you tap a telephone link, FaceTime will open within a few seconds, and you should see something like the following in the upper right corner of the screen. Click Call or Cancel, as you wish.


   
        e. Note that this process depends on the text being plain Mac-style text. Text that has been copied and pasted from a non-Mac (e.g. Windows or a Web page) source may potentially contain invisible characters that will cause apparent phone numbers to be skipped over. If your datafile contains a phone number that matches one of your templates, but it doesn't get a link set for it, you can try retyping the number and running Create Links for All Telephone Numbers in Datafile function again.

           Or, you can try adding the link manually, as explained in paragraph 2, below.

    2. You can also add links manually for individual numbers in the Freeform Text Area of any record. In fact, you can add a telephone link to non-numeric text (or even to an image) in the Freeform Text Area.

        a. Select the text or image that is to receive the link.
        b. Click the  link button in the toolbar. This will bring up a sheet window with an empty Link Destination: field.

            (1) Type the desired number, preceded by tel://  in the Link Destination: field.

                 For example, if the number were 345-555-1234, you would type tel://345-555-1234.

        c. Click the OK button, and you will see that the selected text now shows up as a link. (However, linked images do not show as links. That is, they will not show the typical blue underline.)



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