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I have a tab-delimited text file with all of the phone numbers I've called or received calls from in the past year. The phone numbers are all based in the US, so the format is ###-###-####. For tax purposes, I need to know which calls were personal and which ones were business-related. I could enter them all one-by-one into Google, but that will take forever because there are hundreds of numbers to check.

Is there a program, MS Office plugin, or website that I can use to look up all of the numbers at once? If not, is there some way to create an Excel macro to do the lookups for me?

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closed as off-topic by fixer1234, Raystafarian, DavidPostill, bwDraco, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Feb 7 '15 at 15:57

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This is very dependent on country and what telephone service and search providers are available for you. Where I'm from there are several easy ways to do this, e.g. by giving the number as an URL parameter to a certain number search page and parsing the result, which probably is what you want to do, but as I said: it is fully dependent on location. – Daniel Andersson Apr 10 '12 at 7:30
All the numbers I need to look up are US-based numbers. If there isn't a batch lookup readily available and I need to code something anyway, is there an API I can use instead of parsing results from HTML? – rob Apr 10 '12 at 7:44
First off, this isn't really a computer problem, because you're not using an existing software program to do so. Second, you don't provide us with any information about the format of the phone numbers, so any solution would have to guess how they are stored and what output would be most useful. I think you'd need to think the problem through a bit more, pick a tool to solve it (Excel perhaps?) and ask how to solve it using that. If it involves programming, it doesn't belong here, but like this your question will be closed on Stack Overflow as well – Ivo Flipse Apr 10 '12 at 13:20
@IvoFlipse: I was asking if there was some existing software program or webapp to do the bulk lookup. Certainly "Is there a program or website that does X?" is a valid question on Superuser, and Daniel seemed to get what I was asking. I mentioned in the comment that I need to look up US phone numbers. I don't see why it matters whether I have the phone numbers in Excel, Notepad, or carved into stone tablets. I'm just looking for something that won't require me to type numbers one at a time into a search engine, because I need to look up more than 100 numbers. – rob Apr 11 '12 at 1:00
Could someone please elaborate on the "too localized" downvotes? Geographic area too small? I'd think not, because it includes the US and anyone who makes calls to the US. Specific moment in time? No. Extraordinarily narrow situation? Anyone who pays for phone service and pays taxes could potentially benefit from answers to this question. – rob Apr 11 '12 at 20:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Take a look at Sobolsoft. I do not know anything about the company or their software, but if it does what it says, it is what you are asking for. It was the only bulk solution I was able to find.

In the future, it might be a good idea to keep a phone log as you go.

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This looks promising; I'll give it a try later. – rob Apr 11 '12 at 20:11
When you are finished, please update your question with what you've tried and what worked. This allows anyone who searches for the same thing to find your process of solution. Thanks. – CharlieRB Apr 12 '12 at 17:04
The results weren't as good as what I had hoped for (it couldn't do the reverse look-up on a lot of the numbers), but this tool was easy to use. It took me about 6 passes to identify a good portion of the numbers. First I used Sobolsoft, then the WhitePages and OpenCNAM APIs that Scott Chamberlain suggested. After that, I went through all the contacts saved on our cell phones, then tried entering the remaining phone numbers into Google. Finally, I called any remaining toll-free numbers. – rob May 31 '12 at 21:56

You can upload up to 10,000 phone numbers via a tab delimited text or csv file into the searchbug reverse phone batch append tool. The fee is only charged for hits (matches) so if nothing is found for one or more numbers their is no charge for those.

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This would be a great solution if it works. I would certainly be willing to pay a small fee if it can produce better results than the other tools and APIs I tried from other people's answers. – rob Feb 9 '15 at 3:54

What you need is a Reverse Phone Lookup API. There are several out there however I have yet to see one that is free for the volumes you are looking for or is not some form of closed alpha/beta.

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opencnam looks promising; I'll try that if CharlieRB's suggestion doesn't work. As you hinted, unless the lookups are free or cheap (in both money and time), I'd be better off not even trying to deduct the phone calls as business expenses on my taxes. – rob Apr 11 '12 at 20:35
opencnam didn't work quite as well as I had hoped. It was very easy to use, but returned blank results for most numbers. Out of the original 100+ numbers on my phone, it didn't identify any. Out of the additional several hundred on my wife's phone, it identified perhaps one or two dozen. Whitepages might work better, but since it returns XML, it's less convenient to use. – rob Apr 16 '12 at 9:05
Thanks for the update, good luck on finding a good service. The XML should be fairly easy to handle. Do this tutorial (replace the xsd file from step three with the xml on this page) and you will have nice strongly typed objects you can work with. – Scott Chamberlain Apr 16 '12 at 14:17
If you rather have a DataSet replace /classes with /dataset in step 4, then use LoadXML from the generated DataSet to load the data. – Scott Chamberlain Apr 16 '12 at 14:23

You need to look for a database for your local country, or perhaps ask your ISP. If no such database exists then you could opt to OCR a phone book, in case there is no electronic version available. Alternatively, a call log with such information could do the job, most only contain phone numbers though. Some might not give information to you out of privacy reasons, so it might be that this is impossible.

Once you get access to an API or database, you can query it for more details. How to do this depends on the database you gain access too, it would be too tedious to summarize that all...

Lesson learned: Keep track of something that might become valuable in the future...

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OCRing a phone book is a creative solution but it wouldn't help. Keeping a call log is a good idea but anything that isn't automatic is not likely to be maintained, for many reasons. Getting the list of calls is as easy as logging into my cell phone account and downloading a file, but divining the nature of each call is the part that takes time. Maybe doing the lookups once a month or once a week instead of at the end of the year would make the task more bearable...but doing it all in one big batch would be the least painful if the lookup part can be automated. – rob Apr 11 '12 at 20:29

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