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Phone Number


I want to mark up a phone number as callable link in an HTML document. I have read the microformats approach, and I know, that the tel: scheme would be standard, but is quite literally nowhere implemented.

Skype defines, as far as I know, skype: and callto:, the latter having gained some popularity. I assume, that other companies have either other schemes or jump on the callto: train.

What would be a best practice to mark-up a phone number, so that as many people as possible with VoIP software can just click on a link to get a call?

Bonus question: Does anyone know about complications with emergency numbers such as 911 in US or 110 in Germany?

Update: Microsoft NetMeeting takes callto: schemes under WinXP. This question suggests, that Microsoft Office Communicator will handle tel: schemes but not callto: ones. Great, Redmond!

Update 2: Two and a half years later now. It seems to boil down to what you want to do with the number. In mobile context, tel: is the way to go. Targeting desktops its up to you, if you think your users are more Skype people (callto:) or will more likely have something like Google Voice (tel:) installed. My personal opinion is, that in doubt use tel: (in line with @Sidnicious answer).

The tel: scheme was used in the late 1990s and documented in early 2000 with RFC 2806 (which was obsoleted by the more-thorough RFC 3966 in 2004) and continues to be improved. Supporting tel: on the iPhone was not an arbitrary decision.

callto:, while supported by Skype, is not a standard and should be avoided unless specifically targeting Skype users.

Me? Id just start including properly-formed tel: URIs on your pages (without sniffing the user agent) and wait for the rest of the worlds phones to catch up :) .

The best bet is to start off with tel: which works on all mobiles

Then put in this code, which will only run when on a desktop, and only when a link is clicked.

Im using http://detectmobilebrowsers.com/ to detect mobile browsers, you can use whatever method you prefer

tel: works on all phones to open the dialer with the number

callto: works on your computer to connect to skype from firefox, chrome

As one would expect, WebKits support of tel: extends to the Android mobile browser as well - FYI

I keep this answer for "historic" purpose but dont recommend it anymore. See @Sidnicious answer above and my Update 2.

How do I dial a phone number from a webpage on iPhone?

RFC3966 defines the IETF standard URI for telephone numbers, that is the tel: URI. Thats the standard. Theres no similar standard that specifies callto:, thats a particular convention for Skype on platforms where is allows registering a URI handler to support it.

Although Apple recommends tel: in their docs for Mobile Safari, currently (iOS 4.3) it accepts callto: just the same. So I recommend using callto: on a generic web site as it works with both Skype and iPhone and I expect it will work on Android phones, too.

Since callto: is per default supported by skype (set up in Skype settings), and others do also support it, I would recommend using callto: rather than skype: .

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