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Ask Me Anything - CUCM Bulk Administration Tool: Practical Things You Can Use Every Day

Community Manager
Community Manager

This topic is a chance to clarify your questions about Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) Bulk Administration Tool (BAT) and the best practices to solve its common issues.
This session will help CUCM administrators with using BAT to solve day-to-day administrative tasks. If you've ever thought "I wish I could…” bulk edit the description field for all of your phones; find a way to make the Home Cluster checkbox consistent in multiple clusters; migrate a single phone to a new model; modify the Voice Mail Profile field on lines in bulk; deploy Access Lists for Single Number Reach users in bulk; deploy a set of Abbreviated Dials across multiple phones, or work with CSV and TAR files for editing the database.

To participate in this event, please use the Join the Discussion : Cisco Ask the Expertbutton below to ask your questions

Ask questions from Tuesday 14th to Friday 17th of January, 2020

Featured expert
maren.jpgMaren Mahoney has been in the information system industry for more than 25 years with roles in employee development, technical support and helpdesk administration, network administration, management and engineering, and networking courseware development and instruction. She is a Senior Technical Instructor at Sunset Learning Institute and teaches a range of technologies but specializes in Unified Communications. Before she joined Sunset Learning Institute (SLI), Maren worked for Cisco Systems as a Network Consulting Engineer. She also worked for several Cisco Reseller Partners in engineering and technical instructor roles. Maren is an official Cisco Certified Systems Instructor (CCSI). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Russian studies and plans one day to gain a master’s degree in Mathematics. Maren holds different certifications in Routing, Switching, and Data Center and a CCIE in Collaboration (#50569). Maren is also a US Army veteran.
Maren was recognized as a Cisco Designated VIP in 2019 for her contributions to the Cisco Community in the IP Telephony category.

Maren might not be able to answer each question due to the volume expected during this event. Remember that you can continue the conversation on the Unified Communications Infrastructure community.

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20 Replies 20


We didn't get to this in the webex, can you give the steps for:

Another example (time permitting): Add a set of speed dials or abbreviated dials
to a set of phones (with or without a KEM)


There is two ways.

First is use API.

Second - Export Phone - All Details - Edit in Excell columns with SD - Save - Import as Phone All Details.



Here is a set of instructions I sent to a student of mine that needed to do this (which is how I figured it out). BE SURE TO DO TEST RUNS before you do this on a widespread basis.

NOTE: The following works for a single phone model. If you have multiple phone models you will need a different Phone Template for each model and a separate job.

Step 1: Set up a BAT Phone Template:

  1. Navigate to BAT > Phones > Phone Template
    • Note: The existing phone's configuration will override anything here. The template is just a placeholder.
  2. Add New, select model and protocol
  3. Configure only required fields on phone (no line config)
    • Device Name
    • Description
    • Device Pool
    • Phone Button Template
    • Device Security Profile
    • SIP Profile

Step 2: Create Phone File Format

  1. BAT > Phones > Phone File Format > Create Phone File Format
  2. For Device Level Fields:
    • Device Name
    • Description
    • Device Pool
    • Phone Button Template
    • Device Security Profile
    • SIP Profile
  3. At the bottom, set number of Speed Dials to 99
  4. Leave all other fields alone

Step 3: Export the Phones to be Modified

  1. BAT > Phones > Export Phones > Specific Details
    • Do a query to find the phones you want
    • Click Next
    • Give your export a name
    • Select the file format you created in Step 2
    • Run the job

Step 4: Modify the resulting CSV file and re-upload to CUCM

  1. Download the file from Step 3
  2. Change the extension to CSV so you can edit in Excel
    • Be careful if you have E164 numbers or masks (with the +) in Excel. It wants to convert those to a formula.
  3. Add speed dials in the appropriate slots and Save
    • Note that the each speed dial has a "Number" column and a "Label" column.
  4. Upload the resulting file into BAT:
    • Select Target: Phones
    • Select Transaction Type: Insert Phones - Specific Details

Step 5: Use Insert Phones to Apply the Changes

  1. BAT > Phones > Insert Phones
  2. Select your file from Step 4
  3. Select the Template you created in Step 1
  4. Select "Overwrite the existing configuration"
  5. Optional: Check "Delete all existing Speed Dials before adding new Speed Dials"
  6. Run your job

I have successfully used this procedure several times. That said, I sent these instructions to one of my students and he could not get it to work even after we worked together (via message) to verify steps. This tells me I may have mis-worded a step but I don't know which one. Essentially, I'm saying to use your best judgement and that you may have to poke around a bit to get it to work in your environment.


Milos Megis


I would like to ask regarding Phone Templates.

For example I am going insert phones using BAT --> Phones --> Insert phones.

What is purpose of Phone template ? Does it mean that data in CSV file have priority and all other options (which are not in CSV file) will be configured according to phone template ?

Thank you in advance

Good question!

You can think of the phone template (and the line templates that you build into the phone template) as the 'common settings for all phones/lines built on that template'. The rules of the interaction between the CSV file and the template are:

  1. If the field is in the template, but is not in the CSV file, then the setting in the template is applied to the phone.
  2. If the field is in the template and is also in the CSV file and the field is populated in the CSV file (is *not* blank), then the setting in the CSV file is applied to the phone.
  3. If the field is in the template and is also in the CSV file and the field is *not* populated in the CSV file (is blank), then the setting in the template is applied to the phone.

So, essentially, you are correct in saying that the CSV file has priority over the template during imports.

Let me know if you have further questions.


Thank you


Ms. Mahoney,


I recently came across an issue when trying to import calling party transformation patterns using an export file. I'm getting the following unmapped exception, 'Unmapped Exception bad header in block 0 record 3, header magic is not 'ustar' or unix-style zeros, it is '76737871328065', or (dec) 76, 73, 78, 71, 32, 80, 65'


Are there additional files required as part of the upload? The export contains a header.txt text file. Is that required to be uploaded as part of the .tar file containing the CSV? 


Thank you,




Let me answer your second question first. Yes, the header file is required as part of the import TAR file. The header file tells the Import function which files are available for import. (Via: BAT > Import/Export > Import) If you use the same header file from the export TAR in the import TAR file, you should be fine.

As for that specific exception, let me say that I have imported called and calling transformation patterns without a problem in the past. So the problem is either the TAR file itself or the CSV inside the TAR file.

If you are editing the CSV file, it is possible the text is not formatted correctly. After finishing your edits and saving, open the CSV file in Notepad++. First, make sure that carriage returns, numbering (like E164) and such look okay. Second, do a "save as" and ensure that the file is saved as UTF-8 (rather than ANSI) text. UTF-8 is common in CUCM for text formatting. As but one example, the jabber-config.xml file must be UTF-8 formatted to be correctly read by CUCM.

And for the TAR file, use 7-Zip rather than WinZip or Microsoft's native compression function.

Let me know how this goes. If you do all of the above and it still doesn't work, I'll ask you to upload your TAR file (or send it to me privately) and I'll take a look.


Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @Maren Mahoney thank you for the amazing session, we have learned lots.

Please help to answer some remaining questions from the live session

  • Can you mention something about the product specific configuration layout?
  • How do I open a backup file using 7zip? I get an error, "Cannot open file"
  • Are importing or exporting data memory intensive?

Let me take these three questions in reverse:

  1. Importing and exporting data may or may not be system-resource-intensive depending on the number of records you are working with. If you are importing, let's say, 20 phones, or if you are running a report against 100 directory numbers, or exporting 500 user accounts, the impact on the system will not be enough to notice. However, if you are importing 2000 phones you will notice. So, it depends.  Also, if you are in a relatively large environment, your Publisher will not be doing call-processing so any impact would only be to those services being provided by the Publisher (other than the fact that it's the publisher).
  2. When the system does a backup it creates a randomly-generated password for the backup file itself, and then it encrypts that password with the system's Security password and includes the now-encrypted password in the backup file itself. So you can't open it with 7-Zip or WinRAR. However, there are decrypters out on the Internet that can extract the information providing you have the Security password. I have used tools from here: with a lot of success. But they are not my tools so I make no promised or warranty about them.
  3. As for the "Product Specific Configuration Layout", I'm not sure exactly what you are asking about. I *think* you are asking if those fields are BAT-able. They are, using Export/Import only. Most other BAT tools, while phone model specific, don't include those fields.


Community Manager
Community Manager

In one of the last scenarios Maren presented, what will happen to the delated phone? Would the phone profile will be completely removed, or would it be still available when you search it in the DN or MAC address?

I think you are referring to the "Migrating a Single Phone to a New Phone Model" scenario, so I'll answer that question.

The answer is: If you use the method shown to migrate a single phone to a new phone model the old phone is removed from the database. It is a true migration. (Thank you, Cisco!)


Community Manager
Community Manager

When editing, Maren used the csv to make edits but changed it back to text to upload. Is this a standard to upload the text file or leave it as a csv?

If you are working with the Export/Import feature, you will want to leave files in CSV format.

For other BAT tools (like Insert Phones or Update Users) CUCM is expecting a TXT file (UTF-8 format, if that ever comes up) which contains commas as field separators.


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