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Digium Phones provide a Contacts application that integrates speed-dial, device busy-lamp field and user presence. The Contacts application is related to the Status application in that both are concerned with presence. The Status application is concerned only with setting the local user's presence. The Contacts application is concerned with the presence status of other users - those to which it's been programmed to subscribe.

Contacts without presence subscriptions may be loaded locally onto the phone by the phone's user; however, this is not recommended. Most deployments of Digium phones will see the administrator specifying XML lists of contacts to load onto phones. Here, we will discuss the methods to direct the phone to load contacts as well as the contents of the contacts XML files.

Loading a Contact List

Contacts files that the phone should load are separate files, defined by DPMA or configured in the phone's main configuration XML file. For DPMA, Contacts files are specified for a phone configuration using the phone configuration parameter:

  • contact

as noted above. Multiple "contact" lines may be used for each phone configuration.  For XML configuration, Contacts files are specified using the <contacts> element.

Rapid Dial Keys

Rapid Dial, or BLF, key subscriptions are set using the phone configuration parameter:

  • blf_contact_group

This parameter, whether configured in res_digium_phone.conf for DPMA or in the blf_contact_group setting in XML, must be set to the group_name of the contacts group for which you wish subscriptions to be made.  Subscriptions cannot be made to more than one group_name.  Subscriptions will not be made if the blf_contact_group parameter is undefined. If you have skipped this step, you will not have blinking lights.  The use of Smart BLF capabilities is not independent of this setting; this setting must still be used for deployments using Smart BLF BLF Items lists.

If the Smart BLF capabilities of the phone are being used, whereby a BLF Items sheet is being loaded onto the phone, then each and every contact to be placed on a Rapid Dial key must be explicitly defined.  If no BLF Items sheet is loaded onto a phone, as-is the case with phones using firmware prior to 1.4.0, then the order of the contacts in this group is important. In that case, the named contacts here fill in the BLF-keys in the same order as given in the xml, and those contacts are subscribed to, in order.

Contacts XML skeleton


Because Contacts, BLF Items and Display Rules are constructed in XML, and because Digium phones do not point out XML errors to you, it is very important to verify the syntax of your XML before sending it to the phone. If your syntax is invalid, the XML file will fail to load, and you might wonder why your Contacts don't show up, your BLF Items don't seem to work, or your Display Rules are ignored. So, you should use an XML editor or some other tool (Chrome, xmllint, etc.) to verify your syntax before sending XML to the phone.


A basic Contacts XML structure is defined here:

Contactx XML Structure example

And, a more fleshed-out example looks like:

XML Contact Example

Contacts Element






Defines the name of a contacts group. This name is used in the Contacts application to organize contacts by group



Unique identifier for a group

Contact: Child Element of <contacts>




server_uuidstringOptional. Specifies the uuid of the server to which this contact is attached. If this is a contact on a DPMA-enabled server, this should be the same as the server_uuid of that server. If server_uuid is set for contacts, it must also be set in the DPMA general section. If it is only set in one location (contact or general) instead of both, forwarding of voicemails to contacts is not permitted.



Sets a unique identifier for the contact, used by blf_item definitions



Sets the prefix title for a contact, e.g. "Mr."



Specifies the first name for a contact



Specifies a second name for a contact



Specifies a final name for a contact



Sets a suffix for a contact, e.g. "Jr."


sip, special, zap, virtual and many more

Specifies the type of contact. SIP contacts are subscribed to for device and user presence, so this type should be used for DPMA-configured contacts. Special contacts are subscribed to for device presence only, so this type should be used for all other contacts that require any state awareness. Zap contacts are Switchvox-configured DAHDI-based contacts. Virtual contacts correspond to Switchvox virtual extensions. A full listing of contact_types may be found here -



Sets an organization for a contact



Specifies a job title for a contact



Sets a location for a contact, e.g. "Las Vegas"



Allows for provision of notes about a contact



If the contact is associated with a contact local to the system, the PJSIP endpoint name for a contact



If the contact is to have a SIP subscription associated with it, the SIP URI. The SUBSCRIBE will only be made, even if this parameter is populated, if the group_name of this contact's group matches the blf_contact_group phone setting - as defined in res_digium_phone.conf or in the phone's XML config.

pictureURLSpecifies the location of the picture for the contact
pickup_actionstringSpecifies the action to be called for call pickup activity cards on the D80.

Make sure to include definitions for both first_name and last_name in your contacts XML file, even if one of them is to be blank. Failure to do so will lead to irregular sorting inside the phone's Contacts application.

Subscription URI


For SIP endpoints that are attached to a DPMA-configured Digium phone, the subscribe_to parameter should point to a special hint automatically created by DPMA. This hint is in the format "auto_hint_<peer>," e.g.:

In this case, it is not necessary to create a dialplan hint, as it is automatically created by DPMA.

For non-DPMA-configured endpoints, no "auto_hint" is created, and subscriptions should be a normal SIP URI that is provided by the target system, e.g..:


If your phone is registered using a transport other than the default, UDP, then the subscribe_to URI should look like:



or, simply to an extension, where the phone will automatically subscribe to the registered server, e.g.:

Also, when DPMA is not used, it is necessary to create a dialplan hint, e.g.:

exten => 1234,hint,PJSIP/mypeer
exten => 1234,1,NoOp()
exten => 1234,n,Dial(PJSIP/mypeer,20)

Users of DPMA with older versions of Asterisk, or chan_sip instead of chan_pjsip, should note that the callcounter sip.conf parameter is necessary.


Email: Child Element of <email>






The e-mail address of the contact



A description of the e-mail address, e.g. "Work" or "Home"



Sets an email as the primary e-mail for a contact. Only one primary email per contact is permissible.


Action: Child Element of <actions>






mandatory, unique identifier for the action, used by blf_item definitions. One id with the reserved name "primary" should be used for each contact, to designate the primary action, that occurs when no other action is matched.

Magic action ids "intercom," "monitor," "sendtovm" and "dial_vm" will result in special icons displayed for the action.



optional, number, e.g. 1234, or URI like sip:host or sip:[email protected], to be passed to the phone application and dialed for this action



optional, number to be prepended before dial, where be passed to the phone application and dialed for this action



optional, identifier for an application to which events or functions are sent. The identifier should be either one of the phone default applications (contacts, voicemail, parking, status, queues) or should be the identifier of a user-loaded custom application.



mandatory, pertinent information about the number for the Contacts application, e.g. SIP Extension, Cell; appears to the left of the number or application within the contact's information screen



mandatory, a name for this action, used as its language key within applications, e.g. custom applications; appears to the right, in square brackets, of the number or application within the contact's information screen

Headers: Child Element of <actions>
Header: Child Element of <headers>






Key value of the header applied to the action



optional, value to be matched with the key, may incorporate wildcard values

Wildcard Variables

Wildcard Variables can be used in Action Headers as part of the "substitute_value" of a Header. The following variables are allowed:

  • %_ACCOUNT_USERNAME_% - The username of the account that is performing the action.
  • %_ACCOUNT_SERVER_% - The server host of the account that is performing the action.
  • %_ACCOUNT_PORT_% - The server port of the account that is performing the action.
  • %_ACCOUNT_TRANSPORT_% - The transport used for SIP traffic on the account performing the action.
  • %_ACCOUNT_ID_% - The unique account ID.
  • %_ACCOUNT_AUTHNAME_% - The authentication string for the account.
  • %_ACCOUNT_LINE_LABEL_% - The line label for the account.
  • %_ACCOUNT_CALLER_ID_% - The caller ID string for the account.
  • %_ACCOUNT_OUTBOUND_PROXY_% - The outbound proxy for the account.
  • %_ACCOUNT_OUTBOUND_PORT_% - The outbound port for the account.
  • %_ACCOUNT_ALT_SERVER_% - The alternate server for the account.
  • %_ACCOUNT_ALT_PORT_% - The alternate port for the account.
  • %_ACCOUNT_ALT_TRANSPORT_% - The alternate transport for the account.

Display Rules

Beginning with phone firmware 1.4, the Contacts application works in concert with the Smart BLF functionality provided by the rapid dial keys.  As actions are assigned to a contact, those actions are, by default, displayed when viewing the contact's information.

Whereas actions are tied to BLF keys using the Smart BLF capabilities, allowing differing functions depending on the state of the phone and/or of the target phone, Display Rules allow selective display of actions within the Contacts application also depending on the state of the phone and/or of the target phone.  A common scenario for this is the display of Intercom or Monitor actions.  When a contact is idle, it is reasonable that a user's phone might have an action to Intercom that contact, but might not have an action to Monitor that contact - if the contact isn't on a call, there's no reason to try to barge into a non-existent call.  And, while that same contact is on the phone, it is reasonable that a user's phone might have an action to Monitor that contact - if the contact is already on a call, it's not necessarily  a good idea to Intercom their phone.

Display Rules are configured using an XML fragment.  For DPMA users, the fragment is loaded from the file_directory as specified by the contacts_display_rules phone option.  XML configuration users may simply append the display_rules child node to the "contacts" appconfig.

Display Rules XML Example

Display Rules XML Example  Expand source

Display Rules are parsed top down. and act as a black list.  Unless an action_id is present here, it will displayed at all times.  A way to show an action in only one state is to set it's show=0 then take that same action and show=1 in a specific state.

Display Rules Configuration

idunique idA unique identifier for this display_rule, e.g. 0, 1, 2, etc.
action_idA valid action as defined in the phone's Contacts fileSets the action_id for the display rule to act upon
phone_stateidle, hold, transfer, incoming/transfer, incoming, connected, dialing, calling, failedDefines the state of the local phone during which the rule will be acting. If not specified in a rule, all states are matched. Note that this list of states differs from the larger list of states available for BLF key action mappings.
target_statusunknown, idle, on_hold, ringing, on_the_phone, on_hold_ringingOptional. Sets the status of the subscribed to contact that must be matched for this display rule to be in effect
showBooleanIf set to yes, shows a particular action; if set to no, hides the action. To hide an action for all states and only show it for some states, first declare the action to have a false show, then declare it to have a true show for only a particular state or states.

Voicemail Forwarding

Digium phones have a Voicemail application that allows the forwarding of voicemails to a Contact.  When a user engages the forward function from within the Voicemail application, the user is then presented with a filtered list of contacts to whom forwarding is possible.  The filtered list of contacts is defined by the set of contacts that are contained on a server with the same server_uuid as the current phone, that are of the type 'sip', 'zap', or 'virtual,' and that have an account_id that matches the target voicemail box.  Further, the receiving contact must also have a phone and line entry in res_digium_phone.conf.

Contact Pictures

Digium's D80 telephone can display pictures for contacts within its Rapid Dial application and Drawer as well as the picture for the phone's local user within the Navigation drawer.  Pictures should be in PNG format, 150 pixels wide, and 200 pixels high.  To find the local match the D80 will compare its own account_id from its account configuration to the account_ids of its loaded contacts for a match, and display the appropriate picture.  The D80 will download and cache contact pictures and will only perform a new download if the URL of the picture changes.

For Contact pictures, the D80 telephone can connect to regular HTTP urls as well as TLSv1.0 encrypted HTTPs URLs. For Contact pictures, the D80 does not support TLSv1.1 or TLSv1.2 HTTPs connections.

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