Setting up Outbound Call Rules

Creating Outbound Call Rules

An outbound rule denotes on which VoIP gateway/provider an outbound call should be placed. Based on who is making the call, the number that is being dialled or the length of the number.


When configuring a VoIP Gateway or a VoIP Provider, you will be asked to create an outbound rule that will be used to route calls to the Gateway or Provider. You can also edit these rules or create new ones from the outbound rules node.

Screenshot - Creating a New Outbound Rule

To create an outbound rule:

  1. On the 3CX Management Console menu, click Add > Outbound Rule, and enter a name for the new rule.
  2. Now specify the criteria that should be matched for this outbound rule to be triggered. In the ‘Apply this rule to these calls’ section, specify any of these options:
  1. Calls to Numbers starting with (Prefix) – apply this rule to all calls starting with the number you specify. For example, specify 9 to specify that all calls starting with a 9 are outbound calls and should trigger this rule. Callers would dial ‘9123456’ to reach the number ‘123456’
  2. Calls from extension(s) – Select this option to define particular extensions or extension ranges for which this rule applies. Specify one or more extensions separated by commas, or specify a range using a -, for example 100-120
  3. Calls to Numbers with a length of – Select this option to apply the rule to numbers with a particular digit length, for example 8 digits. This way you can capture calls to local area numbers or national numbers without requiring a prefix.
  4. Calls from extension group – rather than specifying individual extensions, you can select a an extension group
  1. Now specify how outbound calls matching the criteria should be handled. In the ‘Make outbound calls on’ section, select up to 3 routes for the call. Each defined gateway or provider will be listed as a possible route. If the first route is not available or busy, 3CX Phone System will automatically try the second route.
  2. You can transform the number that matches the outbound rule before the call is routed to the selected gateway or provider using the  ‘Strip digits’ and ‘Prepend’ fields:
  1. Strip digits – allows you to remove 1 or more digits from the called number. Use this to remove the prefix before it is dialled on the gateway or provider if it is not required. In the example above, you would specify to remove 1 digit, in order to remove the prefix ‘9’ before it is dialled.
  2. Prepend – allows you to add one or more digits at the beginning of the number if this is required by the provider or gateway.
  1. You can configure these options per outbound rule, since a rule that applies to a VoIP gateway connected to the local PSTN would normally require different criteria than a rule that applies to a VoIP provider.

A complete example showing how to create an outbound rule in 3CX Phone System can be found at

Creating DID Numbers / Inbound Rules

Many companies provide users and/or departments with “Direct or DID numbers”, which allow their contacts to call them directly, bypassing the receptionist. DID numbers are referred to as DDI numbers in the United Kingdom and as MSN numbers in Germany. Even if you make use of a digital receptionist, a direct line / number is often preferable because it’s more convenient for the caller.


Direct numbers can be easily implemented using DID numbers. DID numbers are provided by your VoIP provider or Phone Company and are virtual numbers assigned to your physical lines. Usually you are assigned a range of numbers, which is linked to an existing BRI/T1/E1. There will be an extra charge per number or per range, but this will be a fraction of the cost of adding physical lines. Enquire with your Phone Company or VoIP provider for more information on DID numbers.

Screenshot - Configuring DID Numbers

Adding DID’s

Screenshot - Selecting where to Route Calls to this DID

To add a DID:

  1. Click on the ‘Create DID’ button in the 3CX Management Console in the toolbar.
  2. Enter a name for the DID (for example sales). Note: The DID name can be pre-pended or appended to the Caller ID so as to identify on which number a caller has called. You can enable this from the Settings > General > Global options page under ‘Append/Prepend name to caller ID’.
  3. Now enter the DID number as it will appear in the SIP “to” header. 3CX Phone System will match the number inserted in this field with the “to” header, starting from the last part of the received string, thus avoiding any differences in the format of the number. For example, if you are based in the UK and your DID number is 0845-2304024, then you can enter the number 2304024. This will match any DID number inserted in the “To” field ending with these numbers, including +448452304024, 08452304024, 00448452304024, and, of course, 2304024.
  4. Now select for which Gateway or Provider ports you wish to add this DID. If the DID number is associated with multiple ports, then you must select each port. An inbound rule will be created for each port that you select.
  5. Now specify where you wish to direct calls made to this DID:
  1. End Call
  2. Connection to extension
  3. Connect to Queue/Ring Group
  4. Connect to Digital receptionist
  5. Voicemail box for extension
  6. Forward to outside number
  7. Send fax to email of extension
  1. You can specify that an incoming call is routed differently if it is received outside office hours. De-select the ‘Same as during office hours’ option to specify a different route.
  2. Click OK to create the DID / Inbound rule.

Configuring Different Office Hours per DID

Businesses working globally across different timezones, will want to configure different office hours and holidays per DID. For example a company’s 24 hour world wide support. To do this:



  1. Go to the “Inbound Rules” node.
  2. Click “Add DID” .
  3. Give the Rule a descriptive name. This will be used to identify which DID has been used when troubleshooting and can be seen in the logs. It will also be used for identifying which DID is being called in the Caller ID of the destination phones, if the option is selected in the Global Options to prepend the name of the DID.
  4. Type the DID number/mask. This can be a whole number, or a wildcard, both formats will be considered for processing. For example 1235551234 or *234.



  1. Choose the provider/gateway port. This is used to identify over which line the call will be coming in from. A VoIP Provider will only have one available port. A VoIP (PSTN) Gateway, will have one port for each physical line, depending on the make and model. Patton gateways for example will have one port for each line. Beronet gateways will only have one port per gateway.



  1. In order to enable custom DID opening hours, uncheck the “Apply the same routing logic Outside of office hours” box.



  1. Choose where you want to route out of office hours calls in the “Outside Office Hours” section.



  1. Check “Set up Specific Office Hours”. This option will only be enabled if you disable “Apply the same routing logic Outside of office hours”. Click “Set up Specific Office Hours” to open up the dialog box.



  1. Set your office hours and click “OK”.
  2. Check “Play Holiday Prompt on Public Holiday” to play the holiday prompt whenever there is a holiday.
  3. Click “OK” to accept the configuration of both the routing of the call as well as the opening hours of the DID.
  4. Go to the “Settings” node > “General”.



  1. In the “Office Hours” section Click on “Configure Holidays”. This will open up a special dialog box, where you can define holidays and record or select pre recorded .wav files to play for the holidays



  1. Give the Holiday a Name, for example “New Year”.
  2. Choose the date for the holiday, for example 1 January. Since New Years Day recurs every year, you can choose “each” instead of a year. Holidays with a steady date each year can be defined like this, and dates which do not have a steady date each year can be defined as and when a holiday doesnt have a steady date, for example a bank holiday, you can define the current year or the next year.
  3. Choose a prompt to play for the Holiday. Click “Add”.



  1. Choose a prompt from the list of files already in the repository, and click “OK”.
  2. Click “Add”  to add the holiday and prompt to the PBX.
  3. Click “OK” to exit the holiday configuration
  4. Click “OK” in the General Settings to save the configuration.


Troubleshooting DID Numbers

If you have created the DIDs, but calls are not being forwarded as expected, do the following:

  1. Go to the Server Activity log node in the 3CX management Console. The Server Status screen lists current server activity and logs calls that are being received and for which number they were received.
  2. Call the DID number that you configured, and monitor the Server Status log. You will see a line similar to:
    Incoming call from 1000 to <sip:789456123@3CXPhone System>
    where “1000” is the internal number of the line configured to receive calls from the VoIP Gateway or VoIP Provider and <sip:789456123@3CXPhone System> is the content of the “To” header of the INVITE, i.e. the intended recipient.
  3. Now analyse the “To” header carefully and ensure that the DID number you have dialled is present in the “To” header: <sip:789456123@3CXPhone System>.
  4. If you see a text ‘Review invite & adjust source identification, you need to configure Source identification. See the chapter ‘Adding a VoIP Provider / SIP Trunk’ for more information.

Exporting & Importing DIDs

Exporting DIDs

If you need to export your extensions to a CSV file format to either save them as backup or to make changes to follow the next steps:

  1. Log into the 3CX Management Console
  2. Click on the ‘Inbound Rules’ node and select the DID’s that you want to export
  3. Click on the ‘Export’ button to begin exporting your DID rules.
  4. Select a location and a file name for your exported DID rule file and press ‘Save’. Your rules will be exported and saved in the CSV file.

Importing DID’s

If you want to create multiple did rules you can do so by creating the necessary fields on a CSV file using the correct format and then importing them back into 3CX by using the import function.

To import your DID’s into 3CX from a CSV file follow the next steps.

  1. Log into the 3CX Management Console
  2. Click on the ‘Inbound Rules’ node and click on the ‘Import’ button
  3. Browse to the file that contains the DID rules that you want to import, select it and click ‘Open’.
  4. The rules will be imported in the 3CX Phone System.

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