A Versatile Phone Dialer
|It's hard to overemphasize how useful the dialer can be.
I use it constantly and, as a result, over time I've added quite a few
enhancements. Few users are aware of all the features in this
dialer, which is unfortunate.
Uses your modem to dial numbers. Almost all computers have modems. Normally they are used to dial the internet or data centers, but they dial the telephone. This feature uses your modem to dial numbers recorded in your InfoMagic documents. If you have your friends, stores, doctors, library, school, city offices, etc. in InfoMagic (and you should) then you can dial them automatically.
What may not be obvious is, you can also dial the many numbers you're asked to enter by pressing buttons on your phone -- see Dialing Prescription & Credit Card Numbers below.
If you don't already have a phone at your computer, just plug a cheap phone into the back of your modem, or where your modem plugs into the wall.
Double-Clicking on a number enters it in the dialer. There are a couple of ways to enter a number into the dialer so you can start dialing. You can put the cursor in the middle of the number by clicking once and then click the Dialer icon (picture of telephone). But, the easiest way is to Double-Click on the number. This opens the dialer and inserts the number.
Of course, after clicking the Phone Icon to open the dialer you can dial numbers copied from places like email or the Internet by pasting them into the number box.
Pressing Enter dials the number. You can Click the Dial button to start dialing and Click the Stop button to quit dialing. Or, you can do what I do -- I press Enter once to start dialing and a second time to stop dialing.
It has a call timer. A timer shows you the elapsed time for the call. I find this useful for knowing how long I've been on hold or kept in one of the "tone jails" you have to wait in everywhere you call today.
Dials prescription & credit card numbers. I'm constantly being asked to enter credit card numbers, prescription numbers, account numbers, my social security number, my insurance code, etc. I keep these numbers in InfoMagic and use the dialer to enter them. You won't have to look back and forth between the phone and your paper to "Tone In" a number and, if you're like me, you'll get one of the 16 digits wrong and have to do it again and maybe yet again.
Prefix buttons A, B, C & D add whatever you want to numbers. You can put whatever you want in the four buttons at the bottom of the dialer form. Click the button and it's added to the phone number. This is useful when you have to dial access numbers before dialing the actual number, also for the 10-10 long-distance services, the star (*) something numbers that enable or disable phone system features, etc. You can configure these buttons in the dialer Preferences menu (shown above), or you can Right-Click on a Button to change it.
Converts letters to numbers. I really dislike "cute" phone numbers like 1-800-MyDentist. I find it tedious to decipher and dial letters instead of numbers. If you paste such a number into the dialer number box it will convert it to numbers.
Warns of bad area codes. My long-distance service costs me 3-5 cents per minute, but if I call a number in Canada it can cost me almost a dollar a minute. Also, there are numbers you can call that start billing you at some outrageous rate even if you dialed it inadvertently. These are in special area codes, like 900. This feature warns you if you are dialing any of these area codes that will be expensive. You can add area codes to the list if you want. This feature only works where three digit area codes are used. And the default list of area codes are only useful in the USA.
Will remove characters from numbers. I leave the dashes, parentheses and other separators in credit card numbers, prescription numbers, account numbers, etc., to make them easier to read. But, often web entry forms won't accept the separators and require you to enter numbers only. If you enter a number from an InfoMagic document into the dialer it can remove all such extra characters. This is optional, you don't have to use this feature. This feature is used in conjunction with the 'Copy to Clipboard' feature, so you can then paste the result into a web form.
Copies number to Windows Clipboard. The button at the top of the form copies any number in the number box to the Windows Clipboard. This feature is normally used in conjunction with converting letters to numbers and removing separator characters from from numbers.
Goes to next or prior phone number in document. You can move to the next (or previous) number in an InfoMagic document by clicking the Next or Prior buttons. Pressing PgDn and PgUp does the same thing. I find this useful when calling list of people or when calling a pharmacy who will then want me to enter prescription numbers one after another.