Guidelines for Writing a Telephone Number

A proper international presentation should include the country code (UK is 44), the area code and the phone number as three distinct parts, each separated by a space:

Tel: +44 (0)1234 212123
Fax: +44 (0)1234 232321

The + sign is to remind people that they must add this number to the dial-out code for the country from which they are calling. It is different for every country so you could not tell them it here.

(To dial out of the UK we must add 00 to the front of such numbers. To call Wagga Wagga 12345 in Australia or +61 69 123456 as it would appear on a business card, you would dial 0061 69 123456)

The use of brackets () suggests an option - when dialling the whole number as shown, from outside the country, the (0) should be left out. However, you do need to dial (0) from inside the country when you would also leave out the country code 44.

Telephone numbers for use only within the country are usually simplified to:
(but remember we are a very small island in today's global village)

Tel: 01234 212123
Fax: 01234 232321

The first part of the number is the area code that you do not need to dial if you are inside the area, it is therefore optional and sometimes seen surrounded by brackets. However, if you did put brackets around the area code then that would conflict with the convention above. It doesn't actually matter if you do dial the area code from inside the area and it is not optional anyway when dialling fax numbers so it is better to avoid using brackets at all.

Page last updated 23/05/2003 Copyright, I.D.Lee, Didcot Girls' School.
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