Five Tip Friday – Efficient BlackBerry Smartphone Keyboard Shortcuts

For those of you who use a BlackBerry® smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard, here are five tips to help make you more efficient while using your smartphone. I’ll show you how some keys have a dual personality and how others can be customized to get what you need fast.

Before we begin, if you are not sure what a QWERTY keyboard is, I suggest reading the post how to use shortcuts from the BlackBerry home screen. That blog post also is also about keys, so I recommend taking a look regardless – let’s consider it tip number 6 for today. 😉

I will also be providing tips for using the convenience and media keys; depending on which BlackBerry smartphone you have, these can be in different locations on the device. To familiarize yourself with the locations of keys on your BlackBerry smartphone, check out the Getting Started guide for your device.

With that being said, let’s get started!

1. Lock the keypad to enter numbers

Need to type a lot of numbers? Lock the Alt button when you need to type a sequence of numbers, such as a phone number while composing an email. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. While typing, press the Alt and Left Shift key together
  2. To turn off number lock, press the Alt key or one of the Shift keys

2. Lock the Keypad to enter capital letters

Need to write an acronym or get your point across on BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™)? Follow these steps:

  1. Press the Alt key and the Right Shift Key together
  2. To unlock, press the Alt key or one of the Shift keys

3. Set the Convenience Key(s) to open an often-used app or feature

Depending on your model of BlackBerry smartphone, it will have one or two convenience keys. (For devices with two convenience keys, they will be identified as “Left” and “Right”.) A convenience key can be customized to perform a task or open an app. To change the functionality of a convenience key, do the following:

BlackBerry® 6 & BlackBerry® 7 OS

  1. From the Home screen or a folder, select “Options”
  2. Select “Device” and then “Convenience Key”
  3. Next to “Convenience Key Opens”, select an option to assign it to that key
  4. Press the Menu key and select “Save”

Tip: Find it fast – type “Convenience” or “Key” from the Home screen to find the convenience key options using Universal Search.

BlackBerry® Device Software 5.0 and below

  1. From the Home screen or a folder, select “Options”
  2. Select “Screen/Keyboard”
  3. Select the desired function or app next to “Convenience Key Opens”
  4. Press the Menu key and select “Save”

4. App switch using the Menu key

You can quickly switch from one application to another without having to back out to the Home screen or a folder to click on the icon. Pressing and holding the Menu key will display all the apps running on the device. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Menu key from the Home screen, folder or an application
  2. When the app switch screen appears, highlight and select the desired app

Tip: Want to know how this feature can help you extend your device’s battery life? Read our blog post about extending BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry 7 battery life.

5. Media keys, dual functionality

When using your BlackBerry smartphone as a music player, the up and down volume buttons also become a quick way to skip to or go back a track. For devices that also have a mute button, it can also pause the song you are listening to.

  • To skip ahead one track: Press and hold the Up Volume button
  • To go back one track: Press and hold the Down Volume button
  • To pause the current track: Press and hold the Mute button

Have a BlackBerry 7 OS device? The Mute and Volume keys can be disabled from controlling play, pause and skip. Follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen or a folder, select “Music”
  2. Press the Menu key and select “Options”
  3. Next to Allow “Mute and Volume keys to control play, pause, and skip” select or clear the checkbox

BONUS TIP: Press and hold a letter key to get a capital letter

There is another way to type an upper case letter when needed:

  • Press and hold a letter key

The lower case letter will appear on screen, and shortly afterward it will change into an upper case letter.

Have a tip of your own you’d like to share? Leave a comment and let us know!

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