How often have you seen a meeting request which says…
To join the conference call, please dial 0306 999 0348, then type in your access number (07700 900 951) followed by the hash or pound key.
What a faff! If you’re reading the message on your phone you have to flip back and forth as you try to remember which numbers to dial.
Well, there’s a better way! You all know the standard keys on a phone –
# – what if I told you there were two more?
Yes! That’s right! Two hidden and incredibly useful commands.
- A comma , used for “Pause”.
- A semi-colon ; used for “Wait”.
Here’s how they work, with a brief demonstration of how you can use them.
To introduce a pause in dialling, you add a comma to the number – e.g.
This will dial the number then, two seconds after the call has been answered, send the next set of numbers and the hash key.
You can add it, on Android, by hitting the menu button in the dialler, or by holding down the * key.
With that saved in your phone’s address book – you can dial into just about any system with ease.
For example, if your bank has an automated telephone line which allows you to check your balance after selecting option 1, then 2, then 5, you might save a phonebook entry for them like:
Wait is a slightly more complicated command. It will display a prompt to the user asking them if they want to dial the next set of numbers.
To introduce a wait prompt, you add a semicolon to the number – e.g. to enter your PIN after being prompted
You can add it, on Android, by hitting the menu button in the dialler, or by holding down the # key.
It’s also possible to combine the two. For example, when I want to pay for a car parking space, I have to press 1 to select the car I want to park – if the parking space is chargeable I can then dial my account PIN, followed by a # to confirm.
This is what’s stored in my phone:
+44 7700 900 307,1;7890,#
How To Use
Some phone operating systems are smart enough to recognise things like phone numbers – including pauses and waits. For those that aren’t, simply including it as a single line of text will mean that it can be copy & pasted into the dialler.
<a href="tel:+441483604781;4">Dial with a Wait</a>.
Dial with a Wait.
A quick word about security
(’cause it wouldn’t be an @edent blog without a security angle!)
Some credit card companies will let you access your balance if you input your full card number, date of birth, and telephone pin.
+44113 496 0868,1;4644464359501543,040577,1234#
If you store this in your phone book – and someone steals your phone, you’re gonna have a bad time. Don’t be silly – storing credit card numbers and passwords like this is a bad idea!