How to use shortcuts from the BlackBerry home screen

Tips & Tricks

BlackBerry smartphone home screen

Today I’d like show you a trick which will allow you to quickly navigate around your BlackBerry® smartphone using shortcut keys on your home screen. If you consider yourself a BlackBerry smartphone power user, this is a setting you will want to check out as it will allow you to quickly access specific applications! All that’s required is a BlackBerry smartphone with a traditional QWERTY keyboard.

You might be wondering at this point, “What’s a traditional QWERTY keyboard and do I have one?”

Simply put, it is any BlackBerry smartphone that has a traditional keyboard, such as the BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphone, the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9000 smartphone or the BlackBerry® Style™ 9670 smartphone, for example. However if you own a BlackBerry® Pearl™ 9100 smartphone, your device has a condensed QWERTY keyboard and uses SureType® technology – as such, the shortcuts for it would be different than what we’re discussing here today.

Tip: To learn more about SureType technology and what shortcuts are available to you, see our SureType Technology page. I would also recommend reviewing the User Guide for BlackBerry smartphones, which can be found on the BlackBerry Documentation page, as well as the post on Inside BlackBerry about Hotkeys for Twitter and BBM for the BlackBerry® Pearl™ 3G 9100.

Provided you have a QWERTY keyboard, the next step would be identifying which version of BlackBerry® Device Software you are using, as the settings to enable this feature differ between versions. Using the steps below, you can identify which version of BlackBerry Device Software you have before continuing on with this article.

  • BlackBerry Device Software 4.x & 5.x = Options > About
  • BlackBerry® 6 = Options > Device > About Device Versions

Enabling Shortcuts

If you use BlackBerry Device Software 4.x or 5.x

To enable Shortcuts from the BlackBerry smartphone home screen, you will need to modify the ‘Dial From Home Screen’ setting. To make this change, complete the following steps:

  1. Press the Phone key
  2. Press the BlackBerry key and select Options
  3. Select General Options
  4. Set Dial From Home Screen to No

If you use BlackBerry Device Software 6

When BlackBerry 6 was released, this setting was changed and is now referred to as Application Shortcuts. To enable this setting, complete the following steps:

  1. On the home screen, press the BlackBerry key
  2. Select Options
  3. Set Launch by Typing to Application Shortcuts

(Note: By doing this, you are turning off the ability to launch Universal Search by typing on the Home Screen, you can still use it by tapping the magnifying glass that appears in the top right corner of the BlackBerry home screen)

Finding and Using Shortcuts

After completing part one, shortcuts are now available for use on your BlackBerry smartphone, so the next step would be identifying which shortcuts you can use. If you notice in the above screenshot, the M in Messages and the N in BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) are underlined. The underline indicates which letter will open the application – in this example, hitting N will open BlackBerry Messenger. Take a look at your BlackBerry smartphone and see what shortcuts you can identify!

Listed below are several of the shortcuts I use daily on my BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone. Depending on which version of BlackBerry Device Software you’re using, the shortcuts may differ. To view more shortcuts – including shortcuts that work within a specific application – review the User Guide for your BlackBerry smartphone.

M Messages
L Calendar
N BlackBerry Messenger
A Address Book/Contacts
O Options
B Browser
K Password Lock
P Phone

If you have any questions about this feature, please leave a comment on this post or visit the BlackBerry Support Forums!

About Ty Williams

Community Content Manager & Blogger @ BlackBerry. Follow me on Twitter or Google+

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