unity how to administer public distribution list ( pdl ) over the phone

Unanswered Question
Feb 15th, 2008

The Unity documentation says that the owner of a public distribution list ( pdl ) can adminster it over the phone. How is this done? The president of our company's administrative assistant needs to do this. She was able to do it with the legacy Octel system. We are getting blasted constantly with, "We could do it in the old system". Please tell me that this can be done so I don't have to have to face her with another "No" answer.

I have this problem too.
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rob.huffman Fri, 02/15/2008 - 11:03

Hi Charles,

Only Private Distribution Lists can be Administered over the phone :( I remembered reading about this awhile back. Here is the answer from *Jeff Lindborg*, have a look;


If it was a Private List :) Have a look;

Sending a Voice Message by Phone

When you send a message, Cisco Unity sends the message to your intended recipients without ringing their extensions. You can send voice messages to Cisco Unity subscribers, and to public and private distribution lists.

You can address a message to more than one recipient or type of recipient. You address a message by using the phone keypad to either spell the subscriber name or to enter the extension of the subscriber.** When you address messages to private lists, you must use number entry.**

Do the following procedure to send a voice message when using either standard or Optional conversation 1 styles.

Step 1 Log on to Cisco Unity.

Step 2 Press 2.

Step 3 Follow the Cisco Unity conversation to address your message. Press ## to switch between spelling and number entry. (To address the message to a private list, you must switch to number entry.)

Step 4 Press 1 to add another name or list. Or Press # to record the message

Step 5 Press # to send the message. Or Press 1 for message options.

From this good Unity doc;


Hope this helps! Sorry man,


cmccready Fri, 02/15/2008 - 12:03

thanks for the reply. unfortunately this is a public list rather than a private list. it is frustrating. there is a place for an "owner" and the documentation says this person can admin over the phone but it appears cisco is lying. looks like one more "feature" that helps doom the end user view of the product. i'll bet it's an easy thing to make available too.

ranpierce Fri, 02/15/2008 - 13:57

Rob is on the right track. This is just a naming convention thing. (PDL) in legacy voicemail systems = Private Distribution List in Unity.

I have run into this issue many times in the past at past jobs.


cmccready Fri, 02/15/2008 - 14:54

thanks for the input.

this public list is utilized by all members of the list, which is why i need it to be public rather than private. the 'owner' of the list needs to be able to administer it from a phone.

ranpierce Fri, 02/15/2008 - 15:23

And which legacy pbx voicemail system was that?

Randy, I am going to check into it.

cmccready Fri, 02/15/2008 - 18:23

the legacy at that site was octel. i have not personally modified a list on octel. i was told by the owner of the list that she could do it.

rob.huffman Fri, 02/15/2008 - 18:41

Hi Charles,

We still have an Octel in use. If you would like me to lab something up for you I could give it a try. I am curious how many users are on this PDL. I'm 99% sure that anything that can be done on the Octel can be matched on Unity. We can figure this out for sure. I am off Campus until the latter part of next week :( I'll keep an eye here if you can let me know some details of what exactly she wants here. You could probably set up a Private Distribution List under a dummy name with a shared password so multiple users can access it.

Just a thought,


cmccready Sun, 02/17/2008 - 19:41

Rob, I appreciate the offer. It would be great to prove/disprove whether the Octel can indeed permit phone modification. However, whether the result is proven or disproven I still have the problem of providing a phone-modifiable public distribution list to the president of our company. I offered the private distribution list option but was told it was too complicated. I would love to argue that point but would probably end up causing myself some career damage. The unfortunate thing is that they DO have a point. Cisco should be able to to provide a phone-modifiable public list. They already do it for private lists so we know it's possible. They even have an "owner" placeholder for the public lists.


Aramark Uniform

ranpierce Mon, 02/18/2008 - 09:59

Every object in Unity has an owner, that does not mean it is editable over the TUI. Private Distribution lists are becausee and I am sure you know, because they are owned by a subscriber.

Since Rob is out I will check into how Octel does this.


cmccready Fri, 02/22/2008 - 09:50


another question i have is how to record the description of the list from a phone. with private lists we have done this by clicking on the record button and the unity system calls the owner's phone. the same option exists in public lists but i have no idea what extension is dialed.

ranpierce Fri, 02/22/2008 - 10:59

In Unity you need to add an ext on the profile page of the public distribution list.

In Unity you can not have duplicae extentions.

In call manager or your pbx you need to create an ext. I use a CTI route point in CCM.

To Leave voice mail for DL from work phone

1. Press the Messages button on your phone.

2. Enter your password

3. Press 2 to leave a message

4. Enter the extension of the DL, and press #

5. You will be prompted with many options, press # to record the message

6. Press # again and you will be prompted to start recording after the beep

7. Press # again when finished recording and press # again to send the message.

All members of the Distribution List will get a copy of the voice mail in Outlook and the light on their phone will light up notifying them of a new voicemail message.

Note: Messages sent to DLs should only be sent at off peak hours (close to closing is best). For every member that checks his voice mail a port on the system is being used and there are limited number of ports. This would be a business impact.

To Leave voice mail for DL from external phone

1. Dial the number to get to your opening greeting.

2. Enter your ID which is your work extension

3. Enter your password

4. Press 2 to leave a message

5. Enter the extension of the DL. and press #

6. You will be prompted with many options, press # to record the message

7. Press # again and you will be prompted to start recording after the beep

8. Press # again when finished recording and press # again to send the message.

this is all over the TUI and is a public list, the owner of the list needs to have COS right to public distribution list. check that out or I can help here too.

Hope this helps some


ranpierce Fri, 02/22/2008 - 11:06

I did find out a lot of information on the Octel also. It behaves a lot like a Private List.

(This from a friend)

If this is an Octel Aria, the PDL is really a System Distribution List(SDL). PDL refers to Personal Distribution list.

How it works is that anyone can send a message to the SDL from their mailbox. However, the numbers listed in the SDL is set up by the Administrator via TUI.

With Octel (Aria), the user goes into their mailbox, creates a message, and sends it to the mailbox number of the SDL.

(Kinda like sending a Voice Network Message, except the mailbox number of the SDL is used as the destination mailbox number.)

Note: this will only on the local system.

I think we can get Unity doing that



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