's BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series

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.)

  • 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.  


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!