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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, using the FaceTime app.

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 fields and Freeform Text Area of any datafile.

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

See the full Continuity article from Apple.

Use iPhone Cellular Calls with any Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch that meets the Continuity system requirements. It works when your devices are near each other and set up as follows:

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:

(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 the Create Links for All Telephone Numbers in Datafile function under the Format menu. Paragraphs a, b, and c describe the function results for the Freeform Text Area, while paragraphs d, e, and f describe the results for any fields that contain telephone numbers. Paragraphs g and h explain what happens when a telephone number link is clicked.

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

        b. Select Create Links for All Telephone Numbers in Datafile under the Format menu. Because iData Pro has to scan every bit of text in the datafile, 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, highlight a phone number link 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.

NOTE: When a datafile that contains telephone number links in the FTA is opened in iData Mobile Plus, those numbers can be dialed by tapping them and holding briefly, until a white-background box with rounded corners appears behind the number. As soon as the box appears, lift your finger.

        d. As an example, here is what fields containing telephone numbers might look like.

        e. After the function completes, each phone number will be preceded by the tel:// URL prefix.

        f. When a field containing is clicked, the link in that field becomes active.

NOTE: When a datafile includes records with fields that contain telephone numbers preceded by the tel:// URL prefix, those numbers can be dialed in 

        g. When you click an active telephone link in a field or in the FTA, 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.

            If FaceTime is set up properly on your Mac, the FaceTime window will open. Otherwise, you will see something like the following alert in the upper corner of the screen. In this case, you can correct your settings and click Try Again.


        h. 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.

Manually Adding Telephone Links in the Freeform Text Area

        a. Select the text or image that is to receive the link. This can be any text, not just phone numbers.
        b. Click the  link button in the toolbar. This will bring up a sheet window with an empty Link Destination: field.

        c.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.

        d. 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.)

Manually Adding Telephone Links in a Field
        a. Click in a field that contains a telephone number.

        b. Type tel://  in front of the telephone number.

        c. Click in another field, then click back on that field. Every time you click in that field, you'll see that it shows up as a clickable link.

        d. At this point, if you click the link, FaceTime will come up and let you dial the number.

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