Dialing From Documents

by Kendall Callas

Do you dial the phone much? If so, it's time to enlist your PC to help you find and dial phone numbers. Perhaps you've already typed into the computer the firm's phone list or your personal Rolodex file -- now it's time to make the machine dial, too. Several programs can dial the phone for you, even WordPerfect!


You'll need a modem if you want your computer to dial for you. It connects the phone line to your computer and translates ("modulates/demodulates") the signals between them. Then plug a phone into the other jack in the modem.

You'll also need a modem to access information services:

You can spend as little as $50 for a plain Jane 2400 bps modem. (A "fax/modem" can also send and receive faxes for only $100 more.)

To use a modem, you'll need a normal analog phone line with modular connections. (Most phones are analog; if in doubt, you can tell your telephone is analog if you have a rotary dial or if it shows on the bottom a "Ringer Equivalence Number" or REN.) If you have digital electronic phones, or a PBX, you may need to make special arrangements with your vendor or the phone company -- the same arrangements you made when you installed your FAX machine.


DIAL is a feature-packed macro for WordPerfect 5.1 (for DOS). It scans your WordPerfect document to pickup a phone number from your text and dials it. First, you may optionally add a "1" prefix for toll calls, or add a Comment to record the call in a phone log (which may be sorted to produce a usage report). You may redial the last call at any time. Once dialing begins, the number is redialed every 15 seconds until you hit a key. (Beat that busy signal!) Press Cancel/F1 at any time to quit. It works fine with WordPerfect Office and is smarter than some commercial programs -- it won't think the date is a phone number.

The program is especially helpful for 2 types of intensive dialing tasks:

Voicemail support. You may trail a phone number with digits to press to select from computerized voicemail and information systems. You know, press 1 for your balance, 2 for product information, etc. This might include your account #, password, menu selections, # and * symbols, but no letters. Use commas to add two-second pauses, to wait for the phone system or the computer on the other end.

A typical number might look like one of these:

979-5879,,, 01, 258263*,4-2-1

After the macro highlights a phone number, you may press "N" (Next) to skip down through several phone numbers until it finds the number you want. If too much of a phone number has been highlighted, the left arrow may be used to trim the highlighting. The starting point of the highlighting may be repositioned with any movement key (say, Home Home Left or Home Up) and Next will find a phone number starting from that point.


Using the computer avoids dialing errors -- you can check a number before you dial it. Moreover, you can dial phone numbers from a document, such as a phone list or Rolodex file.

Rolodex in WordPerfect 5.1 merge format -- can be searched, sorted, selected:

Ms. Campion{END FIELD}
Ms. Jodi Campion{END FIELD}
Major Legal Services{END FIELD}
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA  94105{END FIELD}
415-905-1473{END FIELD}
office{END RECORD}
Ms. Hubka{END FIELD}
Ms. Chris Hubka{END FIELD}
Proctors' Reporting Service{END FIELD}
500 Ignacio Valley Road, Suite 310
Walnut Creek, CA  94596{END FIELD}
510-935-6656{END FIELD}
vendor{END RECORD}

Also important, the Comment feature of this macro optionally logs the call for later reference. The number, time and date, along with your comments, are stored in a phone log document which can be searched and sorted. It's easy to look up a phone number from your phone bill to see who it was you called, or you can look up a name, name fragment, or keyword to retrieve the phone number. You can also sort/select the phone log into a usage report, ordered by date, time, phone number, or words in the comment.

The advantages are even greater in firms with many computer users. The firm's phone list can be created as a WordPerfect document. On a network updates are instantaneous -- as soon as a correction or addition is made to the central file, every user has the new information. Print it for your non-computer users. Distribute it on diskette to your standalone PC users. With a single easy-to-update reference point, you'll no longer risk out-of-date phone numbers or addresses, nor will you need to update printed phone lists or Rolodex cards on each desk.

Once the information is stored in a WordPerfect file, it's fast and flexible to use Search/F2 to find an entry by looking for a number, word, or fragment thereof. It's easy, for example, to find an entry by searching for a first name, title, or part of a company name.


After you've pressed Enter to dial a highlighted phone number, you may press "C" to type some comments for a phone log. Your comments and the phone number, date, and time will be added to the bottom of your phone log file.

Sorting the phone log. The phone log file may be easily searched (with Search/F2). It can also be sorted with Sort/Ctrl+F9. Select a paragraph-type sort and specify:
Line Field Word To sort by
1 1 1 Phone number (spaces or slashes in phone # will require further sort by word2, word3, etc.)
1 2 1 Month
1 2 3 Day
1 2 3 Year
1 2 -1 Day of week
2 1 1 First word on first line of text you typed
2 1 -1 Last word on first line of text you typed

You can get more sort mileage out of your phone log if you adopt a routine of typing your contact's name, company name, or account # as the first or last item on the first line of text.

Note: If you plan to sort, don't use TAB or INDENT (or ENTER more than once) within the comments you type as these serve as field delimiters.


Use these keystrokes to enter the Macro Editor: [Home] [Macro Define/Ctrl+F10]. Name it DIAL. Use the [Ctrl+PgUp] pick list to select {Commands} by pointing. For keystrokes such as {Block} and {Enter} that can't be directly typed in, begin with Ctrl+V, then press the key. You may use the TAB key to format, but no spaces. And watch those tildes (~)!


The DIAL macro printed here works only within WordPerfect. It also cannot find numbers in document comments. So, if you want to dial phone numbers from a dBASE database or your time and billing software, you'll need to use a memory resident program.

Popular memory resident programs that will pick a phone number off any screen and dial (with street price):

Equip your computer to dial for you. If you make a lot of calls, invest $100 in a headset, too; it's valuable to have one's hands free to take notes or use a PC. Once you've set up your modem and dialing software, put your Rolodex in the machine. It will change the way you use your phone!


( _ represents spacebar)
{ASSIGN}PORT~COM1:~                   {;}Change to "COM2:" if needed~

{ASSIGN}DIALCMD~ATDT~                 {;}Use "ATDP" or "ATDT9," if
{ASSIGN}MIN#~7~                       {;}Minimum number of digits in
phone #~
{ASSIGN}prefix~1~                     {;}Prefix for toll calls~
{ASSIGN}LOG~C:\PHONE.LOG~             {;}Log filename - All Caps!~ 
{IF}{STATE}&128~{Block}{END IF}       {;}block off~ 


{Block}{End}{Macro Commands}aLINE{Enter}
{IF}"{SYSTEM}right~"=""~{ASSIGN}EOF~1~{END IF}

   {IF}  {KTON}{MID}LINE~{VARIABLE}N~~1~~>47&
   {END IF}

{IF}"{VARIABLE}got#~"="1"~{GO}found#~{END IF}


{Block}{End}{Macro Commands}aNUMBER{Enter}


   {;}note spacebar on next line~ 




{CHAR}X~{^Q}Use Up/Down arrows to highlight #; 
   {^V}Enter{^Q} to dial this or last #; Highlight {^V}N{^Q}ext #~



{Macro Commands}aFON#{Enter}


{ASSIGN}LNumMsg~ ... {^V}R{^Q}edial last call {VARIABLE}LASTNUM~~

{CHAR}key~{Up}{Up}{Del to EOL}{Enter} {^V}Enter{^Q} to dial 
   {VARIABLE}FON#~    F1 to quit
{Del to EOL}{Enter} and log {^V}C{^Q}omment; add {^V}1{^Q} 
   prefix {VARIABLE}prefix~{VARIABLE}LNumMsg~~


      {;}note spacebar req'd on next line~ 


{STATUS PROMPT}{^Q}Type comment for phone log 
   [{VARIABLE}LOG~]  ({^V}F7{^Q} to quit)~

{PAUSE KEY}{Exit}~
{Block Append}{VARIABLE}LOG~{Enter}

{Setup}ID{Enter}{Exit}     {;}reset date format~


{LABEL}dial~   {;}spacebar req'd on next line~


   {PROMPT}{^Q}Pickup phone, then press any key to disconnect 
   modem  [{VARIABLE}COUNT~] -- {^V}R{^Q} to redial now~



Copyright (C) 1992 by microCounsel, (415) 921-6850. All rights reserved.

[ Home Page | Articles List | Top of this article ]