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Beginners Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts

CrackBerry.com's BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series
By Adam Zeis on 22 Jul 2008 12:57 am EDT
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If you're new to the BlackBerry world, you are surely overwhelmed with all the buttons and ports on your device.  You are learning things as you go, finding out something new everyday.  Well you may or may not know that there are a multitude of keyboard shortcuts for your device that will help you speed through many things on your BlackBerry in no time at all.  Here we will take a look at some of the various shortcuts you can use for messaging, browsing, composing email/SMS and more.  Lets jump right in.  (Keep in mind these are the default shortcuts and should work for most devices)

The Convenience Key

Convenience Key

The first and most basic of all shortcuts is the Convenience Key.  This is the one key that you hold the power to.  You have the option to change this to whatever you find to be the most useful - to lock your keys, activate the camera, compose an email - you name it.  To change this option, go to Options > Screen/Keyboard and set it under Convenience Key.

Create a Signature with AutoText

Auto  SMS

Many people have asked how to easily create multiple signatures for emails or SMS.  The simplest way is by creating an AutoText entry with your preset signature.  To do this, go to Options > AutoText.  Select "New".  Under "Replace", type a shortuct (ie. sig, zz - something quick and easy).  Under "With" type your desired signature ("Sent by Adam") then choose save and you're set!  Now in your SMS just type your shortcut and hit Space and you're signature will appear.

Standby Mode

One of the greatest tips to save on battery life and keep from calling people with yourr device in your pocket (hey, we've all done it) is to put your device into standby mode.  To do this, simply hold the Mute key on top of your device for 3 seconds.  Your Berry will go into standby mode, where you will be prevented from accidentally pressing any keys, but all your alerts and calls will still come in.  To exit standby mode, just tap the Mute key.  

Now we will go through a list of all the shortcuts for various areas of your device. 

Basic Shortcuts

The following shortcuts can be used in many applications:

  • To exit a screen (or to move to a previous page in a browser) press the Escape key
  • To select or clear a check box, press the Space key  
  • To switch applications, hold the Alt key and press the Escape key. Continue holding the Alt key and select an application, then release the Alt key
  • To return to the Home screen, press the End key  


Phone Shortcuts

The following shortcuts can be used in the Phone application or during a phone call:

  • To answer a phone call, press the Send key
  • To view the call log, press the Send key from any screen
  • To insert a plus sign (+) when typing a phone number, hold the letter O
  • To add an extension to a phone number, press the Alt key and the X key, then type the extension number
  • To assign a speed dial number to a key, from the Home screen or in the Phone application, hold the key you want to assign. Type the phone number
  • To type a letter in a phone number field, press the Alt key and the letter
  • To move to the top of the Phone screen, press the Space key
  • To change between headset, speakerphone and handset, press the menu key and choose an option, or better yet, Tap the $ (dollar sign) key on your keyboard to turn speakerphone on/off during a call
  • To stay in a call and return to the home screen, press the Escape key and select Ok


Message Shortcuts

In a message:

  • R - Reply To Message
  • L - Reply To All
  • F - Forward Message
  • I - File Highlighted Message
  • To view the email address of a contact, in a message, highlight the contact. Press Q. To view the display name again, press Q.

In a message list:

  • C - Compose Message
  • ALT+U - Mark Message As Opened/Unopened
  • ALT+I - View Inbox
  • ALT+O - View Outbox
  • ALT+V - View Voicemail
  • ALT+S - View SMS
  • ALT+P - View Call Log
  • To view all your messages again, press the Escape key
  • SHIFT+SPACE - Move to the top of a screen
  • SPACE - Move to the bottom of a screen
  • T - Go to top of a message
  • B - Go to bottom of a message
  • N - Move to the next date
  • P - Move to the previous date
  • U - Move to the next unopened item
  • J - Move to the next related item
  • K - Move to the previous related item
  • F - Search for text in an attachment/web page
  • G - Move to the last cursor position in a message after closing and reopening an attachment


Typing Shortcuts

  • To insert a period, press the Space key twice. The next letter is capitalized
  • To capitalize a letter, hold the letter key until the capitalized letter appears
  • Alt + Left Shift - NUM Lock
  • Alt + Right Shift - CAPS Lock
  • To turn off NUM lock or CAP lock, press the Shift key
  • To insert an at sign (@) or a period (.) in an email address field, press the Space key
  • To highlight a line of text, press the Shift key and roll the trackball
  • To highlight text character by character, hold the Shift key and roll the trackball left or right
  • To cancel a text selection, press the Escape key
  • To cut highlighted text when typing, press the Shift + Backspace/Delete key
  • To copy highlighted text when typing, press the Alt key and click the trackball
  • To paste highlighted text when typing, press the Shift key and click the trackball


Browser Shortcuts

  • To insert a period in the Go To dialog box, press the Space key
  • To insert a slash mark (/) in the Go To dialog box, press Shift+Space
  • To open the browser options, in the browser, press O
  • To stop loading a web page, press the Escape key
  • To hide the browser, press D
  • To close the browser, hold the Escape key
  • To view the address for a link, highlight a link. Press L
  • To move forward a screen, press the Shift key and the Space key
  • To move to a previous screen, press the Space key
  • G - Move to a specific page
  • H - Return to the home page
  • K - Open bookmarks
  • A - Add a bookmark
  • I - View recent web pages
  • R - Refresh page
  • P - View page address
  • S - Save web page
  • U - Hide browser banner
  • X - View thumbnail version of a page
  • T - Move to the top of a page
  • B - Move to the bottom of a page



Media Shortcuts

  • Mute Key - Pause/Resume a video/song
  • R - Rotate pictures
  • I - Zoom In
  • O - Zoom Out
  • W - Original Size


Calendar Shortcuts

  • C - schedule an appointment
  • A - Change to Agenda view
  • D - Change to Day view
  • W - Change to Week view
  • M - Change to Month view
  • Space - Move to the next day/week/month
  • Shift+Space - Move to the previous day/week/month
  • T - Move to the current date
  • G - Move to a specific date



An easy way to access the default applications is through keyboard shortcuts as well.  To use these, you must have Dial From Home Screen set to "Off".  (Phone > Options > General Options).  You will now have to use the Send key to access your phone and make a call, but you will have the following shortcuts available:

  • W - WAP Browser
  • R - Alarm
  • T - Tasks
  • U - Calculator
  • O - Options
  • A - Address Book
  • S - Search
  • D - Notes
  • F - Profiles
  • H - Help
  • K - Lock keypad
  • L - Calendar
  • M - Messages
  • B - Browser
  • N - BlackBerry Messenger
  • V - Saved messages
  • C - Compose


Other helpful shortcuts:

  • ALT+Shift+H - Access Help ME! screen (status info etc.)
Help

  • ALT+LGLG - Access Event Log
  • ALT+Right Shift+DEL - Soft Reset

You can change the display of the 'signal strength' on your screen to read in real numbers. While at the home screen, hold down the ALT key while you type NMLL. The bars should change to numbers. For the 'signal strength', if you are in the 100 area (that means -100 dBm), you will be transmitting at maximum power. Anything at -90 to -50 is a very good signal.  

Signal

On top of the AutoText there are also some short codes for common device information that you can type into SMS or email messages that will return a value:

  • myver - Device Model/Version
  • mypin - Device PIN
  • LD - Local Date
  • LT - Local Time

Once you get the hang of it, using these shortcuts will make you much quicker on the draw and help your harness the full abilities of your device.  They will not only save you time, but help you easily navigate through all aspects of your device. 

Find me Shortcuts and BlackBerry How tos in our BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series and FAQ, Tips and How To forum!

Reader comments

Beginners Guide to Keyboard Shortcuts

70 Comments

Hey Kevin, thanks.....I've had my berry for a couple months now and although I had found SOME of those short cuts, I didn't have all of them, nor did I know some of those were possible!! I love blackberry 101 and send ALL of my blackberry customers not only to crackberry.com, but to this lecture series. Some I even bookmark it for them on their browser. THANKS FOR ALL THE HARD WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have noticed that on my 8310 after upgrading to 4.5.0.52 the "Media Shortcuts" I & O ( Zoom In and Out )stopped working, but I think these are new: R for Zoom In, C for Zoom Out, Z shows the actual size, W for return to original size(sort of fit to screen) and then E,S,F,X to move around the image(the trackball does the same job) Likewise you can hold the CAP and roll the trackball up and down to zoom in and out(like in Blackberry Maps). Also already mentioned P&N works as well in Media Player(P revious & N ext song/video)...

I need a short cut on the Pearl to switch between Multi tap and suretype. The inability to easily switch is the most frustrating part of the Pearl.

Nice post, Adam. Thanks.

It never ceases to amaze me how many shortcuts are available to BlackBerry users.

AS

Can't figure out how to put it in standby....

Love the mypin and myver thing - had no idea.

Thanks.

"To change between headset, speakerphone and handset, press the menu key and choose an option."

This is not a short cut? Why don't you just press the "$" key while on a call and it will switch. Besides why would you switch from the Headset to the Handset??? If your doing that with bluetooth press the off button on your bluetooth.

@Kare
You have to "hold" the mute key down until you see the dialog box saying your going to stand by. This best works from the home screen as some 3rd party apps block it I have found.

But Swampwater - is the mute key on the 7250 the button right at the top that opens the phone? If so, holding mine down for 3 seconds or 10 seconds doesn't prompt a box about going to stand-by. But maybe that's not the mute key?

If that's not it, WHERE is the mute key on this dino-berry (which I love)?

One more comment. I like the idea of making a quick text for your signature but you can also modify those at your BIS administrator. Just click "edit" and then fill in your signature". Not sure if every carrier has one but at least I can through Telus.

Here is the Telus one

https://bis.na.blackberry.com/html?brand=telus

You might try changing telus for your provider.

Carriers have this for BIS email, but the AutoText shortcut is intended more for SMS or multiple email signatures.

Hey Kevin... I don't quite understand how to get the "myver" and "mypin" function to work. Can you explain that a bit further? Thanks! Great site, by the way!!

you need to be composing a new email/text message. this shortcut doesn't work from the homescreen.

from there, just type the letters mypin or myver - once you type those letters and hit the space bar, your pin or OS version number will automatically be inserted into the body of text.

I just did a few auto text entries, but what if sometimes I do not want it to auto complete? even if I go back and delete what auto complete and then type it in again, it always auto-completes...that could be very annoying...is there a work around besides removing the auto text field completely? thx

While you can't stop it from auto-completing, you can undo the auto-complete. Use the "Del" key to delete right up to the (now auto-completed) text. Press "Del" once more, and the text will revert back to its before-auto-complete state. Press space and continue typing.

WOW are these handy. Hope I can remember all of them. As always you guys are really great and help us get the most out of our BB's

In the Media Shortcuts section I noticed that this was not in there so I'll contribute by adding the below.

While listening to music
P - go back to the beginning of the song (Press P twice to go to previous song)

N - go to next song.

All of information has been so, so helpful for me. The quick text for signature info is just what I have been looking for. Thank U. I love the Crackberry site.

What is the counter code to restore the bars once you change the signal strength to display in dBm (using the alt+NMLL code)? Thanks!

When listening to music is it possible to assign the "go to next track" and "go to previous track" to the large shortcut buttons on the side of the curve?

Its difficult to find the "F and "B buttons whilst driving :-(

Hi Kevin, These shortcuts are great. This is my 1st BB, let alone a smartphone. Holy cow; I see now why they call them "smartphones." So much to learn but w/all the help, tips & info. it doesn't seen so daunting now.

Thank you, Kate

Does anyone know of a quicker way to enable bluetooth on the pearl 8110. There is no way to assign on/off to the convenience keys and no home screen toggle button. I have to goto(settings>bluetooth>menu>enable)in order to get it to turn on. There has to be a quicker way! Thanks

I have only had my blackberry for a couple of weeks and I love my gadgets. I switched from an HTC to the Blackberry Storm. I am really starting to enjoy it. Thanks

Thank you so much this site is the best and I recomend this to eveyone! I think everbody should have a bb! Thank!

Thank you so much this site is the best and I recomend this to eveyone! I think everbody should have a bb! Thank!

I understand how to add a PIN to someone's contact info and that it is a free text which is great. But I need instructions on how to EXACTLY do it. I have the Storm 9530. I touch Compose, then choose PIN I think...but then do I actually have to type in the whole PIN everytime? I'd prefer to just choose the contact or something easy but I can't figure it out.
Help please?! thanks

great website!

how do i switch on predictive text for composing email and text messages or is there a function which enables word completion? or an app available?

when I was typing a message the other day I typed "m" and the word "month" appeared every time. what did I switch on unwittingly?

Thanks

Pylon3

Not sure about an app that will predict or auto complete text for you. However, when you typed "m" ("mo"?) then hit space auto complete assumed you meant month.

To view what letter combinations (by default) are changed to a word, go to Options-->AutoText. You will see the preloaded list, but you can also add your own by pressing the menu button and selecting "new". Hope this helps!

sometimes i will accidentally press something in the messages app and will move 2 months back and then to get back to today i will have to sit and scroll with the ball a million times! is there an easier way to get back to the beginning????

Hit the "T" button. It will go to the top of the messages list (newest). If you hit "B", it will take you to the bottom of your messages list (oldest).

Thank-you, for a fabulous newbie guide to the BB Keyboard shortcuts, I've just switched from palm Centro. I have fallen in love with this device in just one week!

Thank you so much for your informative article. I may have missed something, but do you have a way to automatically hide the keyboard when you open an SMS message? This is driving me NUTS. I don't want the keyboard to come up AT ALL unless I want to reply. I know how to just swipe the keyboard to make it go away, but it's irritating. Is there any way to make it NOT pop up for SMS messages?

On my BB Bold 9000 the font on the phone number dial line has changed, and does not match the font used on all apps on the device. Note I am only referencing the phone number input line
Originally the font was the same as all other apps including other text display in the phone mode.

Is there a shortcut or option to change the font on the phone dial line only
Bob

I have the bold 9700 and for some reason any time I try to use the R - Reply To Message shortcut it doesn't work. Is there something that I am doing wrong, or does this shortcut not work for the bold 9700?

HOW TO SET A PASSWORD TO PREVENT ANYONE FROM GETTN INTO PHOTOS OR ALBUM I HAVE THE BLACKBERRY 8520

This a great list!
Any possibilities that this list could get updated a little?
I've heard that there are some new shortcuts available with OS 5.0

Thanks for the info! I've had my  for a while now and just today, I was messaging a friend about a NFL player named" 10:50:07 PM" And what the heck! I got the local time in the field! I just had to search this on CB and here you are! great ! Thx again!

When I enter a new item in my calendar, at the top where it says send using I have three options, facebook, my email and groups. Does anyone know how to change the default from facebook to groups? Would be very helpful for me.

Very nice to be able to do stuff quicker.

Thanks

With the signal strength on 5.0.0.732 I couldn't get it to work. Anyone tried this?

I also have a custeme theme I think its called sidebarred so that could be affecting it?

I have a new 8530 and some of the home screen shortcuts don't work. I have 'Dial From Homescreen' disabled, and some work, like P for phone, A for Address Book, but K T R H D F all do nothing. Any thoughts?

Is there a way to know my location (Coordinates) in auto text or something else ?
ie: mylocation, getGPS

Any command or something ?

Yes you can get your current coordinates, or that of any location. To find your current location takes a few steps.
Go to Options, Advanced, GPS. Enable 'GPS Services' to Location On. You'll need that on to help find your location when searching for directions with Blackberry Maps.
Now that your gps is enabled, go to your Blackberry Maps. If you don't know your current position, or don't feel like scrolling over to it just hit your blackberry button and click Find Location then click the first option Where I Am.
You gotta have service coverage cuz the maps use the internet to load all the roads and addresses. After if goes back to the map, it'll have a red tab showing your location.... within several feet. Now, click the blackberry button again and select Copy Location. A second later it'll say Copied to Clipboard. You can paste this information into anything on your blackberry. The item will present itself as a web link which I do not understand why. But in the link it will say this: http://maps.BlackBerry.com?lat=32.81404&lon=-96.84016&z=1&label=Near+544...
It shows the coordinates in the link, so if you need only those then just edit what you want!
And if anyone knows how to have the maps search by coordinates, please let me know.

How to properly clean keyboard on your balckberry, I have a 9300 and I wonder if I can use a toothbrush and alcohol ????

Wow, very nice. I was wondering why those shortcuts do not work for my Bold 9900. Through this article, I learned that it was because my device was set to use Universal Search at the home screen instead of using the Apps shortcut. You can change this option in Display -> Home Screen Preferences -> Launch by typing.

Hi..m aware about' N' being the shortcut key for bbm and was usin the same till nw..till just few hrs back installed bbm 7.0.1.23..and since den I am not able to access the shortcut key..Tried resettin the options back frm universal search to application shortcuts..but still the N key dsnt help it out ..where in all othe keys with d designated shortcuts are wrking...ANY Reason WHY it a'int Working???...