Paul Calnan
Published August 15, 2013

One of my clients uses a phone bridge for conference calls. I usually call in to the bridge using Skype. Each regular conference call I have uses a different access code. It works like an extension number: you call the bridge, wait a few seconds, dial the access code, press #, wait a few seconds, and press # again.

On a cell phone, you can usually add commas to the phone number to insert a pause when dialing, allowing you to save extensions and access codes like this in the contact information. Of course, Skype doesn't support that.

I found an AppleScript on a Skype discussion board that shows a way to dial a number using Skype followed by a DTMF string to be sent after the call connects. I wrote a Python wrapper for it. Commas are interpreted as 2 second delays.

Now, I can call the phone bridge and dial the access code all with the following command:

$ skypecall 800-555-1212 "12345#,,#"

This dials the number +18005551212, waits for the call to connect, waits 10 seconds, then dials the string 12345#, waits 4 seconds, then dials #.

Here's the Python script:

It's fairly easy to go from that to any of a number of shortcuts (Alfred, LaunchBar, an Automator action, etc.) to quickly place a call.

UPDATE: I created an Alfred Keyword action named bridge which triggers a shell script that looks like this:

The case statement maps from keyword arguments (monday, wednesday, or friday in this example) into access codes (12345, 23456, or 34567 respectively). To run it, I invoke Alfred (Cmd-Space on my computer) then I type:

bridge monday

This causes Skype to dial +18005551212, and enters the access code 12345 with the right pauses and #s. If I wanted to use an arbitrary access code that doesn't have a corresponding keyword, I could do so like this:

bridge 24680