The Importance of Country Codes & Organised Contacts

Recently, after switching to a SIM from a different country while traveling, I discovered my contacts list was left a mess. To make matters worse, phone syncing was no help and I was left with a slew of numbers I did not recognize and I needed to edit every American number before making any calls. I realise I could have totally prepared and avoided this situation with just a few changes in my contacts list...

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3 Key Steps to Getting Your Contacts in Order:

1. Clean out duplicate entries. Are both John and Johnny Smith entries in your phone book? Most contact software is smart enough to catch entries with the same name, but this is not true of nicknames. Merge entries manually if need be before saving the info to the cloud to be the default for your contacts.

2. Enter the complete number. To save time when entering contacts, I usually leave off the international dial prefix because my Windows Phone has a feature called International Assist which fills in the correct prefix (you know +61, +44 etc). This is all fine and dandy when using that handset, however since that contact set is shared across devices, this meant disaster when it came time to use them in a phone that does not have that feature. If you don't have the complete number with country code written out, the country prefix that is used (unless you have International Assist) will be the one associated with the SIM card that you're using. In other words all my American numbers that were missing the US country code now had a UK prefix when I switched to a UK SIM. This meant that every number missing a country code was not associated with the right name in my phone book and I had to edit every number before making any calls. I also had no idea who was sending me text messages because the numbers were not matched with the names. Take the time to enter the complete number and save yourself some hassle down the road.

3. Delete the old. I have a very bad habit of simply adding a new number for a friend as a new type entry as opposed to deleting the old number. This means that for some old friends who have, for example, moved or change their mobile often, I will have 4 home numbers and numbers for pager, mobile 2, etc which is just plain confusing. When a friend changes their number, replace the appropriate entry in your contacts.

What are your tips for keeping your contacts tidy?

(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)

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Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.

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