How to use Universal Search

HOW-TO / 09.16.11 / tywill1

Universal Search

Being able to find information on your BlackBerry® smartphone is really easy thanks to the Universal Search feature built into BlackBerry® 6 and BlackBerry® 7 OS smartphones. Universal Search is designed to allow you to search for help, contacts, documents, files, photos and other information right from the BlackBerry smartphone home screen.

Today I’d like to provide an overview of how Universal Search works and why you should start using it to help you stay on top of almost everything!

To get started with Universal Search, all you need to do is start typing the search term on the home screen, or tap on the magnifying glass icon that appears on the home screen and enter the search term. As you are typing your search term you’ll notice that results start showing up right away.

Universal Search

In addition to search results found on your BlackBerry smartphone, you will also be given the ability to perform an extended search, which allows you to search across other apps and services (such as the BlackBerry App World™ storefront). To stop a Universal Search, press the call end key, or press the escape key twice to remove the search results and take you back to the home screen.

Universal Search

If you are using a BlackBerry 7 OS smartphone, after tapping on the magnifying glass you’ll notice a microphone icon appear. Tapping on this icon will allow you to perform a voice enabled search instead of having to type your search term. In order to use voice search, you’ll need to make sure you have a connection to the wireless network.

To help you get the most out of Universal Search, there are two things you should know: First, know which data sources and extended providers searches will be performed against. A data source refers to content stored on your BlackBerry smartphone, whereas an extended provider is content you access that isn’t currently stored on your BlackBerry smartphone. For example, if you are looking for a restaurant location, you can enter the name in the search field and the Extend Search option will allow you to quickly search BlackBerry® Maps for the restaurant’s location.

Universal Search

To review and modify these settings, complete the following steps:

  1. Select the magnifying glass icon to access Universal Search
  2. Enter the search term ‘search’
  3. Select ‘Options (1)’ (in case you are wondering, (1) refers to the number of search results within Options)
  4. Select Search
  5. Toggle the checkboxes for desired data sources and extended providers
  6. Press the Menu key and select Save

The second thing you should know is that you have two options to access Universal Search if you are using a BlackBerry smartphone with a physical keyboard, such as the BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900 smartphone.

The first method that I mentioned earlier is to start typing the search term while on the Home Screen or by selecting the magnifying glass on the home screen to perform a search, or voice enabled search if you are using BlackBerry 7 OS.

My preferred method, however, is to enable Home Screen Shortcuts, which allow me to use shortcuts on my home screen if the BlackBerry smartphone has a physical keyboard. If you enable this feature, performing a Universal Search is as easy as pressing the S key followed by typing the search term.

For example, let’s say I am on the home screen of my BlackBerry smartphone and I want to search for things that mention my dog Taz. All I need is do is type S, followed by T, a and z to start a search, which I find to be a total time saver.

For information on how to set this up, check my post on how to use shortcuts from the BlackBerry home screen. I would recommend trying this out for a day because you might fall in love with this feature like I did!

What do you think about Universal Search? Leave a comment and let me know!

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