Brainstorming BB10: Keyboard shortcuts for selecting text on the Q10

By Adam Zeis on 25 Jun 2013 01:23 pm EDT

While we continue to brainstorm new and improved features for BlackBerry 10, there are plenty of members in the forums who have some great ideas of their own as well. The most recent I came across was from Wilburrr90 who proposed a new way to select and edit text on the BlackBerry Q10.

With BlackBerry 10.1 the new text selector tool is definitely a step ahead from 10.0, but on the small screen of the Q10 it can still be a pain to select, copy and paste text very easily. For that, Wilburrr90 has come up with a great idea of using keyboard shortcuts to perform common text editing tasks. The process involves holding down the ALT key on the keyboard and using the letter keys to move the cursor, highlight, cut, copy and paste. It's a great idea that would certainly make things easier for Q10 users.

Here are the proposed shortcuts:

  • T/Y to move cursor one character left/right
  • R/U to move cursor one word left/right
  • G/H to move AND highlight one char left/right
  • F/J to move AND highlight one word left/right
  • O to move cursor one line up
  • L to move cursor one line down
  • X to cut
  • C to copy
  • V to paste

I'm a big Q10 user and I'll admit that I have trouble with text editing at times, so I for one would welcome a change like this that utilizes the great physical keyboard on the Q10. It does feel a bit lacking as it stands now. On BB7 we had a slew of keyboard shortcuts that included quick-launching apps and speed dials from the home screen. On BlackBerry 10 I feel that the keyboard isn't used nearly as much as it could be for some common functions from either the homescreen or within certain apps.

As you can see in the original thread, other users have chimed in with their ideas for improvements to this feature as well. 

Join in the Discussion

What do you think? How could the text functions on the Q10 be made better? Hit up the forums and let us hear your ideas!

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Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Brainstorming BB10: Keyboard shortcuts for selecting text on the Q10


Hopefully they'll do something about it because copy&paste is seriously pushing me back to BBos7 :(

Does anyone knows a radio files that can be used with OS version to improve battery life on STL100-1?? Please let me know

Posted via CB10

There was a droid device that put a trackpad on the back of the device. That allowed the fingers you have behind the phone to control scrolling etc. It allowed the phone to have a real trackpad without giving up screen real estate. They could do that on the Z and the Q.

Yeah as if you would be using the trackpad! I'm not down with the propositions in the article...

Cracked it out with the amazing Z

Holding down the alt & swiping to highlight is a great idea! The keyboard shortcuts are OK, but I can never remember them! PS. Picked up my Q10 last night. Having fun learning to use it!

This would be the best method in my opinion. I remember someone suggested this when it was finally official that the trackpad was going away. It also doesn't interfere with the other functions of the physical keys when holding down ALT.

Holding down ALT and pressing the other keys with your other hand would be slower than the trackpad. It would be real better just holding down ALT and then swiping to move the cursor.

The proposed shortcuts are actually amazing. I would love to see them be implemented on the Q's!!

Corky Notes for bb10 developer

+1. Instead of discarding it because it's inconvenient from a hardware perspective and no longer needed for OS navigation, BlackBerry should consider the things people love about the trackpad and figure out a way to replicate and enhance the experience in BB 10 without the need for a physical trackpad.

Tough one Adam, what if after moving the cursor I want to insert brackets, () or the number 3, _, etc. I think you get my drift. How would the keyboard know when you wanna move the cursor and when you want to insert something.. or maybe I'm missing something?

Posted via CB10

Those are parenthesis, not brackets, but I get your point. I still feel that anything is better than nothing. I'd rather have the trackpad back, but that is more than a software update.

This feels like metro missing the start button. I know, it's the wonderful, intuitive, user interface mechanism, that everyone just loves, because we said so, formerly known as Metro. Meh.

It's a good idea but the special characters commonly used with the alt key may become an issue. Esp if you can practically type with your eyes closed!
The next handset maybe? or using alt followed by another key before you can use the shortcuts? It's a shame that bbs haven't been issued with a ctrl button - again maybe in handsets to come.

Posted via CB10

I think I'd rather hold down the alt key and drag the circle to select blocks of text. Seems more intuitive and simpler to me.

BlackBerry and Team! Take Heed from this! Could not have said it better, my keyboard is not being used enough and I need this shortcut for editing! Please update this. Or even a developer make a keyboard shortcut app, that would definitely work.

How about double tapping the alt key to engage the cursor keys, or triple tapping?

Ultimately I think something needs to change - text selection really can be a chore; the Q has an amazing keyboard, it should utilise the kb better!

That or somehow integrate a nub between the g and h keys, like on the lenovo laptops!

Posted via CB10 on my BlackBerry Q10

Speaking of keyboards, I would love to see universal search and speed dial implemented on the Z10. On any icon page, you can two finger swipe up to bring up the keyboard. Seems like a perfect fit!

Posted via CB10

Hitting the search button is actually faster than bringing up the keyboard. I would love to see some sort of speed dialing (I'm not such a big fan of the dial app in its current state).

Strange thing by the way... you can bring up the keyboard virtually every where but in most cases it does not have any function at all... perhaps change this into a speed dialing keyboard where every button can be assigned to a contact? Would be even cooler if buttons could be assigned to apps too... 10.2?

Cracked it out with the amazing Z

Yes, I would also like the option to permanently have the numbers 0-9 as the top line of the keyboard.

Hold SHIFT and tap BACKSPACE to delete entire words

Favorite BB10 apps: CB10, GasBuddy, Word of the Day PLUS, BlackBerry Travel, USA Today

I would introduce a new button called "Function" or FCN for short, and all good functions should be possible with that key.

Missed the "Brainstorming" part in the title and got super excited about a shortcut that I had inexplicably overlooked. Now that I'm back down to earth, yes its a good idea.

Posted via CB10 on my Q10

They just need to implement a small virtual track pad that comes up right on top of the keyboard's uppermost fret (above the bezel obviously) upon some sort of key combo or when the user taps-and-holds a word (which now invokes the edit circle), then use the same commands as in BB7.

Posted via CB10

Just please, please get speed dial back to the Q10! How could you not include such a basic feature! I think my Pearl had speed dial back in 08'.

Posted from my Q10 on the West Coast

Never used a QWERTY BlackBerry device before but this sounds like a great idea, maybe through different means as other posters have pointed out but certainly an improvement to the user experience. Q5/10 users shouldn't feel like their keyboard is disconnected from their BB10 experience.

Posted via CB10 on my Z10 & loving it!

+1000000000 to the suggestions. Would be an amazing improvement. I would go even further and include E and I to move the cursor entire sentences and D and K to highlight entire sentences.

Posted via CB10 on a Q10

The more incorporated that the keyboard is into the OS with shortcuts, the better the whole experience will be

Posted via CB10

How do you open a drop down menu in the browser?

Double tap just zooms in, while holding the header just brings up copy options.

Very frustrating.

I'm in!! I had mentioned this in earlier forums but my method was using the alt spacebar and shift spacebar to scroll through letters. Good call though with all the other commands. I don't understand why BlackBerry wouldn't have already implemented this in BB10?? It's exactly what BlackBerry users would love. Precision.

Posted via CB10

I'll welcome all those great innovative ideas although I have had zero issues editing text on my Q.

Posted via CB10 - Channel C00016D81

Does anyone knows a radio files that can be used with OS version to improve battery life on STL100-1?? Please let me know

Posted via CB10

They need to fix the Hub first with an automatic message selector that we can drag down and use for multi-selects as well. Having to long press is a waste of time.

Note to BB: Dark theme and OLED screen combo = disaster outside

Hey...everyone..I am trying to implement the above shortcuts..but it's not working on my !10. Please explain to help me out fast...!!
I am trying to press ALT with shortcuts...but nothing is responding..!!

+1 for this idea. Great idea that will really help those of us who still miss the trackpad to get used to what we gave up. Copy and paste, which used to effortless on the 9930, is still a chore 2 weeks later into owning a Q10. Shouldn't take too much effort to program in.

Posted via CB10

We need one that deletes whole words at a time too. This is so that the Q10 can catch up with Z10 to delete sentences faster.

For example:

On Z10, you swipe the keyboard left to delete full words at a time.

On Q10, I propose that Alt+backspace would delete the full word.

Posted via CB10

I think the idea is great. Not so sure about the key combinations mentioned but seems the shift key is a better fit than the alt key. Alt is used way too much for other functions.


Exactly the reason I'm not giving up my 9900 until they figure this one out. Brainstorming should've been done by BlackBerry long ago. Did they not realize how many people rely on a simple method of copy/paste to do their daily editing? The simplest solution will be the best. Not memorizing a bunch of keys for one letter, one word, etc. Virtual trackpad possibly? Right above where it used to be.

YES we need a new way of text selection AND cursor movement.

What about using Shift+Alt to bring up the "cursor movement mode". So once you press that, the WASD keys would move the cursor updownleftright (the ability to customize the keys for updownrightleft would be godly). Then when you want to select you would hold alt and then again use the WASD keys to select!

Shift+Alt currently does nothing that I'm aware of (alt+shift locks the "alt" button to type symbols). This could also be used when you are in a list, like music or emails. Press shift+alt and then you can use the W and S keys to move up and down on your list!! Making due without a trackpad is devastating. It was key to bb's efficiency. But with a keyboard we can still find a way around it!

While we're on keyboard shortcuts. BlackBerry needs to bring back application shortcuts and utilize mannny more within apps!

Posted via CB10

Oh yes and simply hitting the shift key alone could turn this mode back off. Ofcourse there should be a symbol in the top right corner like the existing alt and shift symbols to know when it's active

Posted via CB10

Sad. BlackBerry gets rid of the trackpad and now other people want to try to reinvent the wheel. Here's a more solid idea.. BlackBerry seems to be good at wasting screen real estate - large nav bar at the bottom and oversized icons. How about BB10 streamline the layout a bit and place a software/touchscreen version of the trackpad. Text selection and fine navigation was never done better than with a trackpad. Not having it is like not having a mouse on your PC. So, give us that trackpad back in the form of a small square on that bottom nav bar. That way. They won't even have to change the hardware or anything.

Posted via CB10

I was about to propose this exact thing! Your post is spot-on! A simple 3-Key command (say: Alt+SHIFT+$) could toggle a "virtual" trackpad on and off in the same area where the old trackpad was located on legacy devices. Then SHIFT+trackpad swipes = text selection. Once text is selected, SHIFT+DEL=Copy, ALT+DEL=Cut, SHIFT+ENTER=Paste.

Really good idea!
But I would like it back to old time of 9900:
In 9900 we hold Shift and then swipe the trachpad to move cursor
--> Now then in Q10, can we hold Shift, then swipe anywhere on the screen, then the cursor will move around following that direction from where it is left!
Wouldn't that be simple and feels like the glorious time back :)

The proposals are even harder to follow than the current text selection tool in BB10, or at least in the Z10. Currently, the procedure is to tap the text to be selected and text sliders/selector appear. Just move the sliders to where you want selected, and that's all there is to alt, no shift keys to press, which makes text selection all the more complicated.

But those keys has special characters...holding ALT will just input those into the text field

Posted via CB10 via Q10

I think I would suggest a virtual trackpad at the bottom center of the screen anytime "shift" or "alt" is held. It could then behave just like back in the days of our OG BlackBerry phones.

Posted via CB10

Suggest these would be good for z10. For the z10 'U' gesture over keyboard left or right for word left / right .
UU left or right over keyboard for a sentence left / right.

That would match the left swipe over keyboard for delete

Backwards Z to move back a single character... for those who really need that.

Posted via CB10

Amazing before this phone came out a lot of people said text selection would be an issue, there’s no track pad and people were like no no no its fine. Then the phone got released (eventually) and then some people were like text selection is hard, a track pad is needed. As usual the blackberry diehards were saying rubbish it’s the way forward! I can select text fine whats the problem go home troll...etc etc Now this article has been written the diehard fans are now saying yes there needs to be an easier way!!! As I said amazing!!!!

Ps as I’ve always said bring back the track pad. The one thing BB got right they get rid of???

I miss my 9900 it was the best at selecting text rather painlessly. Now try copying and pasting a URL. Bb10 copy and paste is atrocious and those handles never drag where you want them to, or only clings to a specific word. It's painful! Maybe they could incorporate the volume keys some how to select text up and down. Hold down alt key and use the volume rockers. Would be a bit tough on my z10 though.

Perhaps, anytime one is entering text--which is when the least screen real estate is needed--a virtual trackpad could show up. Like that little cursor circle we get now, only down at the bottom middle.

This issue DOES need to be addressed. The keyboard on the Q is beautiful. The phone and OS are beautiful.

But text editing sucks.

Posted via CB10

I totally find the text selection using the touchscreen to be sufficient, easy to use, and quick (for me it's quick). I don't know what the people are complaining about. As soon as I learned how it works, I was text selecting like crazy, easily. I'm sure they can incorporate even more ways, so that's cool. I just don't get why people find the text selection to be hard or bad, because it's not hard nor bad.

Posted via CB10

It is least on my Z10. It should not be much different on the Q10, although I have not really tried text selection, copy and paste on the Q10. As I stated on my post above, their proposals are even more difficult to follow. On BB10, it is as simple as tap and difficult can that be?

It's great people are thinking about this, but too complicated to remember so many shortcuts just to edit text. Sorry, but for me the Q10 desperately needs a trackpad.

The efficiency gains as a result of the keyboard are wasted without the trackpad. Add to that the constant loss of screen size, and the Q quickly becomes a bit pointless. I won't be buying another Q.

Are U kidding me, I mean its great someone figured that out but sorry, not going to happen on this Q. We need a track pad (and I would not mind a slightly larger device to allow for that either? Or one on the back.. not sure if that would work??). For an interim fix, using the alt key on lock along with the space bar?? Might do the trick.

C/P is for all intents and purposes useless at this time.

W/my Q10 - CB10

Nice idea. BTW I don't really miss trackpad but would love to see alternative Q10 device with it.

I know i'm late to the party but I want this. It would change everything. And it would be super easy to remember and utilize, it's all visual across the keyboard! Please, make this real (or something similar)!

After using the Q10 for 2 weeks after my 9780 died after a long beautiful marriage I am dumping it for the Bold 9900 which I was lucky enough to find new. The Q10 is a Ffen Joke, As usual the hardware is unbelievable but the user experience is a disaster. Most of the reasons I cannot stand the phone is because the Blackberry simplicity is gone. Imagine a 600 dollar phone with a keyboard that has NO SPEEDDIAL. as of Monday the Q is gonna sit next to my playbook as another Blackberry failure. Only this one might be the nail in the coffin. I am still sticking with blackberry. Only im gonna hoard as many bb7s as I can find to last me the cold blackberry winter.

Really hope BB software development is listening and incorporates these shortcuts (or better yet, the swipe idea) soon. I find it impossiable to select text. The screen jumps when I attempt to grap the selector handle and the selection then goes all over the place. Although I love my new Q10 details like this really make me want to pull my hair out. KISS ( Keep it Simple Stupid) !!!!!

I'm with you! Not being able to reliably edit text is my only BIG issue with the Q10. One of the most important features in a smart phone for me is being able to manage text -- which is why I went with the Q10 in the first place. But, being able to type with reliability is just 1/2 of the story. Manipulating the text once it's on screen or being copied from an existing source is still woefully missing. The selector feature is NOT reliable in any sense of the word. Just getting it to come on is often a challenge. : (

Ugh,this quick home, end or word jumping?

Obviously the team who designed the q10 are not computer power guess is that everyone on the team uses a mouse to select text on their computers. it's the only explanation that makes a bit of sense to me.