Creating a Conference Calling Shortcut

By Lisa Salinger

Have you ever wanted to attend a conference call but dreaded dialing in? If you use an iPhone, this process can seem especially daunting. I find it hard to hear VoiceOver to enter a number when I am being given directions by the recording that plays when I first connect to a conference.
With a little planning, this process can be made much easier. In fact, it can be used for other situations too. For example, if you call to check your bank balance, you can make this easier for yourself by automating the process. Below, I’ll walk you through the steps to do this.
What we will do is to create a contact that contains all the numbers you will need to dial. Then, any time you want to call into that conference, your bank, or any other automated system, it’s as simple as selecting that contact.
I make the assumption that you are familiar with basic VoiceOver commands. If this is not the case, consider asking a friend or tech instructor for help. Let’s get started.
1. Go into the Phone app on your iPhone, and select Contacts.
2. Find the Add button, either by flicking to it, or by locating it in the top right corner of your screen. Double tap the Add button.
3. Enter any fields you want. For this example, I will enter “PCB Discussion” in the Last Name field. You might want to go ahead and enter the details for an actual conference or similar that you want to use.
4. To enter the phone number, double tap the Add Phone button. Type the number into the edit box. For example, I could type 6054754715 into the text box. Note that no dashes are necessary.
5. At this point, if you had dialed the number on your phone and pressed Send, you would connect to the automated service. If you were calling the PCB Discussion line as in our example, the system would ask you to enter the code, followed by the pound sign. You will enter these numbers into your phone, but you will need to create some pause time so the automated system has long enough to process your entry. If you do not put in these pauses, it is likely that this time-saving shortcut will not work for you.
6. We have our test number entered, and now we need to enter two commas. Generally, two commas will insert a pause that is long enough for our purposes. In this particular screen, the numbers are laid out in the standard touchtone phone pattern. However, Shift is below the 7 key, and Delete is below the 9. Activate the Shift key, and the layout of the numeric keypad will change. Some of the numbers are still present, but they are dimmed, which means they cannot be dialed. They exist more as points of reference. The comma is in the number 4 position, so be sure to enter it twice. After you enter the first comma, it will go back to the standard number configuration, so you will need to press shift a second time to enter another comma. Should you need it, the semicolon is in the position normally occupied by the number 6, the Star is in the 7 position, and the Number or Pound sign is in the place normally occupied by the number 9. Shift and delete are on the left and right of the bottom row, with shift on the left and delete on the right, and the 0 is replaced by a Plus. If you want to avoid entering the information on the touch screen, you can use a Bluetooth keyboard for this purpose if you have one.
7. I would then enter my conference pass-code of 815419 and follow it with the # sign. I will find this by pressing shift, and then looking for that symbol in the position usually occupied by the number 9.
8. At this point, I want to check to make sure I have entered all numbers correctly. I would double tap on the edit field containing the numbers to be taken to the top. Then, I would rotor to Characters and flick down to read one number at a time. Using my test case, I should hear, “6054754715 comma comma 815419 number sign.”
9. If the information is not correct, edit it and then press the Done button in the upper right corner of the screen.
10. Make the call and see if it works as planned. If not, you may need to make the pauses longer by adding additional commas.
11. Next time you want to call in, just find the contact and activate it.

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