Mobile phone numbers are displayed improperly

Problem:

The telephone numbers of contacts created in the desktop version of Outlook do not appear correctly on mobile devices, for example the + sign is missing. As a result, you cannot make calls to these contacts from your mobile device.

Solution:

This problem is directly related to the way Outlook processes contacts. Possible workarounds differ between Outlook versions.

Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016

All Outlook versions newer than 2010 no longer use the regional settings to format phone numbers. However, this works only as long as you don't click buttons used to format phone numbers (Fig. 1.).

Outlook - numbers
Fig. 1. Avoid buttons used to format contact's numbers.

Some of our clients reported an alternative solution that may work in some cases: you can add one number more at the end of the phone number. Let us say, you have a number 4901234567 that is incorrectly displayed. You can add one digit at the end (49012345671). Supposedly the extra digit will be ignored on the mobile device when making a call.

Outlook 2010

In the case of Outlook 2010, your contacts are automatically formatted while using the Check Number button. If you do not use that button, you should not encounter any issues. However, if you are looking for a permanent solution, you can change the dialing preferences in your system, as Outlook behavior depends directly on them:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to the Phone and Modem applet.
  3. For every location defined on the list, click the Edit button.
  4. Change Country/Region to the International Freephone Service (Fig. 2.)
  5. Apply the settings by clicking the OK button and restart your Outlook.

Editing Location setting
Fig. 2. Editing Location preferences.

Alternatively, to solve the problem with missing plus sign at the beginning of a number, you can set as a value of City/Area code (Fig. 3.).

Area code contact
Fig. 3. Setting Area code to zero.