The BIG Number



2007 Release:
The Big Number changeover is, or at least should be, very old news with the last of the automatic migration measures being switched off on April 28th 2001. BT closed it's websites (see links below) detailing the changes some time ago but they are still available in various incarnations via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Despite the fact that most people will have incorporated these area code changes long ago I still get requests for this program. It has formatting features that can tidy up numbers so that, for instance, you can choose whether all area codes should have brackets around them or add international dialling prefixes to all UK numbers. This can aid the process of synchronising the Outlook contact database with personal organisers and mobile phones. The latest version includes a custom replacement feature, handy if you become affected by a new area code change or have used a number format that Outlook doesn't interpret properly. Another recent addition is an option to remove all spaces from the numbers as some mobile devices can't handle them.

The techniques I developed for this program would be useful for any other projects that need to systematically retrieve and access or modify contact information from Microsoft's Outlook and Exchange products - just drop me a line. Although this program was written for the UK, I have produced modified versions for Australia & Belgium and will consider other localisations on request.

A number of UK area codes changed on April 22nd, 2000. This utility was designed to automatically update phone numbers held in Microsoft Outlook Contacts. It is compatible with all versions of Outlook up to & including Outlook 2007. The program incorporates all the area code changes for the UK Mainland & Northern Ireland and all changes to Pagers & Mobiles as detailed by British Telecom and NumberChange. In all over 80 code changes are catered for. In a typical run, The BIG Number took less than 1 minute to check a 1000 records, identifying 1200 numbers that needed correcting. If you were thinking of updating contacts by hand, think again.... 

The BIG Number updates all contacts that are stored in designated "Contacts" folders within an Outlook profile, whether stored in local personal folders (*.pst files) or on an Exchange Server. If you've more than one profile, simply open each one in turn and run the program.

As well as implementing all the "Big Number" dialling code changes, The BIG Number includes a range of options to set the format of phone numbers to suit a variety of national and international conventions.

Recent versions of Outlook incorporate an access control feature to prevent viruses from harvesting email addresses. In order for The BIG Number to process your contacts you will need to grant permission when this dialog appears:-

The BIG Number produces a running log of all the changes it proposes or makes which can be quickly reviewed while the program is running or stored for later checking in Notepad/WordPad.

The BIG Number was developed with Visual Basic 6 (Service Pack 3). If you already have the VB6 runtime libraries installed on your system you should be able to download and run the executable file, otherwise download the full setup package.
Both files are compressed with WinZip for faster downloading.

The current build is, created 05/06/2007

        The BIG Number Demo (Executable File) (27Kb)

        The BIG Number Demo (Setup Package) (1.55Mb)

ow price!
The demonstration version that you can download here will produce a report detailing all the changes that should be made. You are welcome to use this report to manually correct your contacts but for just 10, I will send you the full unrestricted version of the program that will automatically make all the corrections for an unlimited number of contacts. This version previously sold for 30.

To order, simply send me a cheque for 10 made out to Steve MacGuire to the address below and include a note of the email address you would like me to deliver the program to.

            Steve MacGuire
            1 Cutlers Terrace
            N1 4BF

or use PayPal and I will send you a copy of the full program on receipt of payment.

This program has been thoroughly tested, however before running the program you should take a backup of your personal folders file or Exchange mailbox and should review the result of a simulation before proceeding to update all your contacts.

In testing the program I've come across a number of non-standard ways that people format telephone numbers, particularly international ones. Although the program works correctly with all of these it is possible that an obscure style could be misinterpreted. If you find any problems with a simulated run, please let me know and I will attempt to update the program accordingly.

For more information contact me on 07931 263736 or by email to steve@{remove} NB remove {remove} from the preceeding address.