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Style Manual

Telephone numbers

Write telephone numbers so people can read and use them easily. There are rules for grouping the numbers, using spacing and creating links.

Space digits to help people read telephone numbers

Use spaces consistently with landline, mobile, national and international formats.

Example

02 1234 4321 [A landline number in NSW or the ACT]

0400 000 000 [A mobile number]

1300 975 707 [An Australia-wide landline number]

13 00 00 [An alternative Australia-wide landline number]

+61 2 1234 4321 [An Australian landline number in international format]

+61 400 000 000 [An Australian mobile number in international format]

Put a non-breaking space between the blocks of digits

Use a non-breaking space between groups of digits. The non-breaking space means that line breaks don’t split up the parts of telephone numbers.

Apply a non-breaking space by holding down the control and shift keys while entering a space.

You can also apply a non-breaking space with the Unicode U+00A0.

For print, use a ‘thin space’ between the sets of numbers. You can apply a thin space with the Unicode U+2009.

Write Australian telephone numbers in the national or international format

Australian telephone numbers consist of 10 digits:

  • Landlines – 2 digits for the area code followed by 8 digits for the rest of the telephone number.
  • Mobiles – 10 digits (there is no area code).

An exception is numbers in the 13 category, which have only 6 digits.

The national format

Use this format when giving Australian telephone numbers for use within Australia.

For landline telephone numbers write the 2-digit area code and put a non-breaking space after it. Then write the rest of the number in 2 blocks of 4 digits.

Write mobile telephone numbers in 1 block of four digits and 2 blocks of three digits.

Example

02 1234 4321 [Telephone]

0400 000 000 [Mobile]

The international format

Use this format when giving Australian telephone numbers for use outside Australia.

Start with a plus sign (‘+’) and add the country code.

Example

+61

For landlines, write:

  • the area code without the ‘0’
  • the telephone number in blocks of 4 digits.
Example

+61 2 1234 4321 [Telephone]

For mobile numbers:

  • omit the first ‘0’
  • write the mobile telephone number in blocks of 3 digits.
Example

+61 400 000 000 [Mobile]

Make telephone numbers accessible through ‘click to call’ functionality

‘Click to call’ allows users to call a telephone number by selecting (clicking) the number shown in content. When the user selects a number, the user’s mobile phone, other mobile device or personal computer (if it has a relevant supporting application) calls the number.

‘Click to call’ makes telephone numbers more usable because users don’t need to copy the number manually. ‘Click to call’ also works with screen readers.

Devices sometimes recognise when a number in content is a telephone number, and will automatically treat the number as a click to call link. This is not always the case, so use HTML code to support this functionality. Seek specialist advice if you’re unsure how to do this.

Using HTML for click to call

Use ‘tel:[telephone number]’ as the URL. Remove spaces between the numbers.

Remember that all webpages can be accessed internationally. Include the international dialling prefix if appropriate.

Example

02 5550 0000 [HTML: <a href="tel:0255500000">02 5550 0000</a>]

61 2 7010 0000 [HTML: <a href="tel:61270100000">61 2 7010 0000</a>]

61 491 570 156 [HTML: <a href="tel:61491570156">61 491 570 156</a>]

Avoid ‘phone words’

Always display the telephone number as digits. Don’t use ‘phone words’. Use the relevant 13 number instead.

Write this

13 00 00

Not this

13CAT

Some organisations use phone words to advertise their telephone number as a digit-word combination.

Don’t do this, because some people find it hard to convert letters to numbers.

Release notes

The digital edition expands on information in the Content Guide about telephone numbers. It provides more examples and advice about spaces in telephone numbers.

Apart from mentioning the thin space for telephone numbers, the sixth edition did not include information on telephone numbers.

The Content Guide had information about the format of telephone numbers and how to include a clickable link on webpages.

About this page

References

Australian Communications and Media Authority (2020) Choose your phone number, ACMA website, accessed 4 June 2020.

Microsoft Corporation (2019)Keyboard shortcuts in Word: insert international characters, Microsoft website, accessed 4 June 20020

Owen M (2018), How to type accented letters in macOS three different ways, appleinsider website, accessed 4 June 2020.

The Unicode Consortium (2020) ‘General punctuation’, Unicode 13.0 character code charts, Unicode website, accessed 4 June 2020.

The Unicode Consortium (2020) ‘Latin-1 punctuation’, Unicode 13.0 character code charts, Unicode website, accessed 4 June 2020.

WebAIM (n.d.) Links and hypertext, WebAIM website, accessed 4 June 2020.

Web Fundamentals (2019) Click to call, Web Fundamentals website, accessed 4 June 2020.

This page was updated Tuesday 22 September 2020.

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