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Working with Telephone Formats

Telephone formats specify how phone numbers are formatted when users enter the numbers in phone number fields. You can have only one phone format for each country code. The phone format is applied only when users enter numbers without other formatting symbols, such as a slash (/), or dash (-).

Before users enter phone numbers, perform the following tasks:

  • Set the default locale. The default phone format is determined by the locale setting. For more information, see Setting Up Locales.
  • Define phone formats for countries that do not have a format already defined. For more information, see Specifying Phone Formats.

If a user enters a phone number from a country for which the format has not yet been specified, the phone number might be formatted incorrectly.

NOTE:  If you define any new phone formats, coordinate with communications administrators who specify CTI functionality and define dialing filters. For more information, see Siebel Communications Server Administration Guide.

CAUTION:  If you modify the phone formats that are provided with your Siebel application, make sure that you thoroughly test the changes.

North American Phone Formats

The default format for North American phone numbers is (000) 000-0000. The phone formatting logic for North American phone numbers works as follows:

  • If the user enters 10 digits in a phone number field, it is formatted as (123) 123-1234.
  • If the user enters more than 10 digits, the first 10 digits are formatted as (123) 123-1234, and the rest of the digits are formatted as the extension number. The user can enter up to 40 digits.
  • If the user enters fewer than 10 digits, an error message appears.
  • If the user begins the phone number with a zero (0), an error message appears.

This formatting logic is followed even when the default locale is not North America.

International Phone Formats

An international phone number is a phone number for a country other than the current default country.

To enter an international phone number in a phone number field, the user must enter a plus sign (+), followed by the country code. For example, the user can enter +44. If the user does not enter a country code, the default country code is assumed.

When a user enters an international phone number in a phone number field, the formatting of the number depends on the following:

  • The number of digits that the user enters
  • The number of digits specified for the country in the phone format

Table 5 describes the formatting logic.

Table 5. Formatting Logic
Number of Digits
Formatting Details

Same as in format

Formatted as specified.

More than in format

First digits are formatted as specified. The rest of the digits are formatted as an extension number.

Fewer than in format

Entry is accepted without an error message to accommodate phone numbers of different lengths.

If there is no phone format for the indicated country, the number remains formatted in the same way that the user enters the number. No error message appears.

Maximum Length for International Phone Numbers

Table 6 shows how to calculate the safe maximum length for international phone numbers.

Table 6. Maximum Length for International Phone Numbers
Is there a phone format for the country?
Then, the safe maximum length for international phone number is


C + 2N + E + 2 40


2C + 2N + E + 2 40

In the formulae in this table:

  • C is the length of the country code.
  • N is the length of the city code and the subscriber number, including any formatting, such as spaces or hyphens.
  • E is the length of the extension number.

Figure 1 shows an example.

Figure 1. Example Calculation of Maximum Length of International Phone Number

Specifying Phone Formats

If your users must enter phone numbers for countries for which a format has not been entered in your Siebel application, you must specify phone formats for those countries.

To specify phone formats

  1. Navigate to the Administration - Data screen, then the List of Values view.
  2. Query the Type field for the entry PHONE_FORMAT to see the existing phone formats.
  3. Create a new record, and complete the necessary fields.

    Some fields are described in the following table.



    Select a value of PHONE_FORMAT.

    Display Value

    Type the format string for the display value.

    Language-Independent Code

    Type the language-independent code. Use the number zero (0) to represent required digits, the # character to represent optional digits, and other formatting characters to represent how to format the phone number. Do not include any alphanumeric characters other than zero. For example, to format an Australian phone number, which includes a two-digit area code and a six- or eight-digit number, use (00) 000# 000#.

    You do not need to include characters to represent the country code in the format. When a user enters a number, the country code is automatically shown if the default country is different from the country code.


    Type the country code of the new format. When adding new codes, make sure that no country code is a prefix of any other. For example, because India's country code is 91, do not add a country code of 9 or of 910 (or any other number beginning with 91).

  4. Stop and restart the Siebel Server.

NOTE:  When you change or add a phone format, the existing phone numbers are not automatically updated.

CAUTION:  When a user enters phone numbers, the user can enter letters in place of digits, but computer telephony integration (CTI) features, such as outbound dialing, do not work for these numbers. Queries for such numbers must include the letters, not the numeric equivalents. Siebel Business Applications do not detect or warn users if they enter Q or Z (letters that do not appear on all phones).

Examples of Formatting of Phone Numbers

Table 7 shows how phone numbers appear under various circumstances. In this example, the default country is the United States. Therefore the default format is the North American format, (000) 000-0000. The 00-000-0000 format has been entered for country code 91.

Table 7. Examples of Phone Number Formatting
User Enters
Number Is Formatted As


(123) 456-7890


(123) 456-7890 x123


The following error message: Invalid data has been entered.




+9112-345-6789 x10






?0+9112345678 (you see the '?' and the '0')


?0HelloWorld (you see the '?' and the '0')

Sorting Phone Numbers

Phone numbers are stored in the Siebel database without special format characters, so the special format characters have no effect on the sort order.

Querying Phone Numbers

When performing a query on a phone number, do not include any format characters such as commas (,), hyphens (-), periods (.), the letter x, or spaces.

You can query for only country 61 by typing +61* but you cannot query for only North American phone numbers this way, because +1* returns all phone numbers. To query for North American phone numbers, type the following: not like +1*.

When you use a phone number in a query, the country code of the default locale is automatically added to the query, unless the default locale is North America. If the default locale is North America, no code is added. For example, if the default locale is Germany, and the user types 0181 in the phone field of a query, the German country code (+49) is added to the query. The query becomes +490181*.

To find a number for a country other than the default country, the user must specify the country code in the query. To avoid limiting the query to one country, the user must refine the query, and remove the country code portion of the query specification.

To see a demonstration of this behavior, look at the Contacts screen. Every phone number for a country other than the default contains +n at the beginning, while every phone number for the default country code appears as local (without a plus sign). Phone numbers that have the +n require explicit queries. The user must specify the country code and the number. Local numbers are returned normally.

Table 8 provides examples of how to query phone numbers.

Table 8. Phone Number Queries
Query Result
Query Criteria

(123) 456-7890


+61(123) 45.67.89 x0

+611234567890 (if 61 is defined as a country code)

Country code 61 phone numbers


All phone numbers


All North American phone numbers

not like +*

415 area code numbers (North America only)


Null phone numbers

is null

415 area code or null (North America only)

415* or is null

(800) SKY-PAGE


Importing Information with EIM

Siebel Enterprise Integration Manager (EIM) manages the exchange of data between Siebel database tables and other corporate databases. When you use EIM to import information that includes international phone numbers, the numbers are handled as described in Working with Telephone Formats. For more information about EIM, see Siebel Enterprise Integration Manager Administration Guide.

Updating the Phone Format with EAI Adapter

When you update the phone format using Siebel EAI Adapter, the plus (+) sign and the country code are required, but the phone format can be in any form (not only US format).

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