How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: Dial from Home Screen On or Off?

By Adam Zeis on 8 Apr 2010 02:04 pm EDT
Dial from Home Screen

Last week we checked out what type of alert settings you use. It seems like the majority sticks with audible alerts for most/all notifications, while others have audible/vibrate alerts for just some notifications, and a small few go silent. Not too surprising there was such a mix as there are just so many options for setting up alerts and notifications. This week we'll check out a simple yes or no option - Dial from Home Screen. This can be a useful one if you are into using keyboard shortcuts to get around to your apps. If you learn all the shortcut keys you can quickly jump around and navigate faster through the device. Dial from Home Screen can be found under the Phone > Options menu. When set to "No" you can take advantage of shortcut keys (C for contacts, M for messages etc) and jump right to apps. When set to "Yes" pressing the number keys will bring you right to the Phone app and allow you to dial. So our question this week is do you use the Dial from Home Screen? Vote in the poll and leave a comment letting us know why you do or don't use this feature.

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

Reader comments

How Do You Use Your BlackBerry Series: Dial from Home Screen On or Off?


Yep, dial from screen is handy to me. Typing in a contact's name from the homescreen is the most convienient.

One can always set a contact as a speed dial, this is the fastest way to call someone, IMO.

I prefer to not dial from the homescreen, I love being able to hit the "B" key and open up the browser, as well as access BBM by pressing "N". Between a custom theme, dial from the home screen off and Quicklaunch, I can easily navigate to any app within nanoseconds.

I keep it off so I can use the keyboard shortcuts from the home screen. When I need to dial a number not in my contacts I just hit the call button first and then dial.

This is exactly how I've run all of my BlackBerry devices... and it's what I push my clients to do as well.

I also use Quick Launch.

The shortcuts keys are the reason I got the Tour to replace my Storm. Plus, as noted above, just hit the green phone key first and you can do the same thing to dial your contacts.

In all my years on all my blackberrys, i've only ever had dial contacts from the homescreen set to on. not sure what'd i'd do without it.
maybe i'll try and live a little and turn it off... it is only one more button to push.

go see a doctor every now and then, they might find particles of BlackBerry in your skin =)

Unhealthy addiction

Even if you turn this feature to OFF you can still set a Speed Dial for the shortcut keys!

It's the difference between a "tap" and a "press" of the key.

I have the majority of my contacts set up to dial right from my home screen. And unlike a regular cell phone i can program each person to a different letter and not just the numbers 1-9. It makes calling people so much easier. And why do I need to use the keyboard to jump to apps when I have QL.

You can still speed-dial from letters or numbers even if you have home screen dialing off.

Short push: shortcut
Long push: speed dial

QuickLaunch is press, scroll, press, where shortcuts are one click and you're there. I use QL for all the things that I can't set as shortcuts from the home screen. It's really cool; A for Address Book, B for Browser, very quick. I also downloaded "QSMS" so you can push Q and be at a SMS screen. Now that I use shortcuts (along with QL), I'd never go back.

I looked around and my 8100 has no such option. I guess it's because shortcut keys wouldn't work on a 2-letter per button keypad. Except for Speed Dial which works fine. Unless I'm missing something.

i use speed dial a lot.
i always call the same people.
and i think the shortcuts are more useful than dialing from home screen.

I have dial from home screen turned OFF. And when I'm doing handheld training sessions with my customers I always encourage people to turn it off.

The benefits of the multitude of shortcuts FAR outweigh the loss of dialing right from home screen.

The shortcuts are awesome. When I want to dial I press the SEND button and type name/number, voice dial or one-touch dial.

In fact in the Calendar I disable "Enable Quick Entry" as well allowing me to press "M" for month, "W" for week, "A" for agenda & "D" for day. Additionally it gives you "T" for today, "G" for go-to "C" compose new appt, "P" for previous & "N" for next.

Between enabling and disabling that feature? I tried but the shortcuts still seem to work for my calendar. Am using a 8900 with a 4.6 OS.

It's a lot easier calling friends or family by pressing and holding down a letter assigned to them. Especially when they have multiple numbers. I assign a letter for each of the numbers I use most (home, cel or office).

Off, for the shortcuts (especially using Q to cycle between vibrate and the active profile. My 8310 didn't have that function, and it came back on the 8900. Prior to the 8310, I had never had a phone, Blackberry or other, that didn't have a one-button way to put the phone into silent).

We need to expand the poll. Storm users have no option to dial from the home screen (obviously, as we have no hard keyboard).

At the very least, please include an edit to the survey so that Storm owners don't start getting seriously confused.

Love using the shortcuts and being able to take messages,sms,calendar, and contacts off of the home screen freeing up space for apps that don't have short cuts(i don't use quick-launch

There is almost no difference to me having to press the call button before searching for a name when at the home screen

more handy for me to use the built in shortcut keys when this feature is turned off. in conjunction with QuickLaunch, you can't go wrong with shortcuts.

Thanks to this article. Holding down A locks the screen and Q switches from vibrate mode to normal and back! Never knew that before! (Always just used K to lock and F to bring up the profile menu.) I leave it off because I'm a shortcut fiend. And I worry about my berry ball dying on me.

thanks Crackberry for making my phone even better then it was before. Seriously I never knew that I could turn that function off and get way more functionality out of the device. Yes I know I should read the manual but it's way more fun finding out this's like I have a new phone :)

Thats exactly how I felt when I discovered it. I had owned 4 different type of BB's and it wasnt until my last one (Tour) did I realize turning dial from home screen off gave me these functions. What a difference it made in my BB experience!

all of these little tidbits of info have come in handy on the past can you please explain what is a Level 1 Messages I have allocated a specific tone to alert me if I ever get one, but in the almost 2 years of owning my 8330 I have yet to receive one. Thank you

A Level 1 Message is a message that you designate has serious importance. For example, you can create a rule that says that traffic updates from "" get set as Level 1 messages. Then, when they come in, you'll get a different alert for them.

My kids' school district e-mails us when school is closed, so I have a rule set that when those messages come in, they get bumped to Level 1, and the Level 1 alert can wake me up even if the phone is on Quiet or Silent.

That's why it never beeped or bleeped, thank you so much for answering my question now I'll be able to configure that jewel :-)

I don't use the keyboark shortcuts for apps, and I use pocket informant for my PIM, so typing in the name from the homescreen is a lot quicker than going into PI and running through the menus. hard is it to press the green button to bring up the phone app? The massive loss in functionality from having it ON is amazing, I can only imagine that people don't turn it OFF only because they don't know they CAN turn it off and what they get by it being off.

Not only does it allow me to access my most used apps via a shortcut, it also allows me to put non-shortcut apps onto my homescreen bottom banner to avoid ever having to access the app screen for most of my common tasks. I also use QL and QSMS for even greater functionality.

I used to us it, but I turned it off to use the QuickLaunch shortcut. its just one extra button to push and gives me that extra millisecond to decide whether or not I really want to call home. ive got Jekyll and Hide picking up the other end of that phone and to be honest, sometimes she scares the HELL out of me.

Just press the green phone and start
typing a name or number on the line...
your address book will autoquery.
Crazy to give up so much functionality
just to avoid pressing 1 key. It's all
the same after that...

you know how short is shortcut and long is speeddial contact. I have my dail from home screan on but I use the q shortcut all the time. I wish that if you held down the shortcut buttons long it would work and it would be the best of both worlds. so to dial a contact just type the persons name and if you wanted to open the browser or bbm just hold it down. please send my royalty checks paybe to cash.

I use pretty much every keyboard shortcut to launch built-in apps. That way I can save theme slots on the homescreen for other apps without keyboard shortcuts. The people I call most often are on 1-key speed-dial, and anyone else I just hit the call button and start typing.

I didn't even realize there was a choice for this. By default, mine has been set to on... which allows me to accidentally call people when I forget to lock my phone and put it in my pocket. I also didn't know that there were shortcut keys to BBM, Contacts, Browser, etc. I will definitely have to turn it off for awhile and see how I like it.

I love the shortcuts and my theme has the $ shortcut for SMS! Most people I call are also speed dialed. I don't mind the 1 extra key to get to dial a number.

I learnt about home screen keyboard short cuts on this forum. Obviously this poll will let many users discover this great feature. Thank you!

I was never truly addicted to BlackBerry until I discovered the shortcut keys by turning off dial from homescreen. It just makes sense to make use of all those keys. It opens up the homescreen icons for other apps. It does take a bit of getting used to, remembering the shortcut is there. I'll never be able to enjoy a storm or pearl now. Full qwerty or nuttin!

I am quite surprised by these results, since Dial from Home Screen OFF is a setting for power users, and I was under the assumption that most BB users are power users ;)

Dial from home screen "on" for me. QuickLaunch and themes cover fast access to the apps I need, and frees up most of the keypad for speed dials. Best of both worlds!

It's far better off as stated in other posts. And one thing that hasn't been mentioned about the shortcuts is that when dial from home screen is set to off, all the apps that have shortcuts will have an underlined letter in its name so you know which key to press for the corresponding shortcut. In no time you will learn them all, trust me that they become second nature in no time.
unless you only use your BB for phone calls, I don't see how dialing is priority one on these devices. Do you honestly make more phone calls a day than sending messages or composing emails? If so you're using the wrong phone.

Once I discovered the keyboard shortcuts there was no turning back!! I have all my icons sorted out in different folders through out my screen, and rolling around clicking and accidentally entering the wrong folders and having to come back out was frustrating at times. Its soo sweet to have a single keystroke take you directly to your program and functions instantly.
Y=yahoo mssenger
G=Google Talk
O=Option screen
X=Windows Live
A=address book
P=Call log
...and I use them all ! None of which intereferes with speed dialing if you have numbers set to any of those keys. Long hold to speed dial, short tap for functionality. Its been the best discovery for me since ALT+Left Shift+ H !!!

The only one that doesn't seem to work (Bold 9700) is P for the Call Log. No response. One that you didn't mention is C for Compose.

All the apps I need are usually open so I just use ql and sms n email folders are on screen so you just need to select,

i have mine set to no ,when i did carry it in my pocket it cut down on false calls .I kinda like it on no anyhoo now even tho its in a holster now . :p

When I found that I could turn dial from home screen off, I jumped at it. At first I didn't like having to hit the send button before I dialed, but now that I have learned all the keyboard shortcuts, there's no way I could ever go back. They're really easy to learn and the letter is actually underlined on the app that it goes to. Eg. in Calendar, the l is underlined.

I would recommend trying it before you knock it. Give it a good 3 day trial.

The green dial key is for starting the call after dialing the number, not before. This ain't no household cordless phone.

I used to have dial from homes creen turned on, but then I discovered shortcuts, like W for BeWeather etc. And besides, I usually use voice dial anyway :)

Ever since my first BlackBerry about 3 years ago I've always had it set to yes and found it convenient. However, after reading this I tried setting it to no and so far I'm actually liking the shortcut keys. Dialing is only 1 extra press. I don't know why I never bothered with this before!

It was On until I saw this survey, it is now Off. I have a data only plan, I don't want to dial by accident at 45¢ a minute!

I've tried the "off" option in the past. Worked fine, but somehow I lacked a shortcut to the adress book. No prob when you want to call an existing contact, but when I wanted to add a new contact I thought it was horrible... So I turned it "on" again and never tought about it again. After reading this poll I switched back. After some google actins I found I had to set the language to English (instead of dutch....livin'in The Netherlands and all...). Works like a charm. Somehow I now do have an shortcut for Adress book (and even Compose and BBM). I love it. And nice side effect: menu items are much more self explainatory now, as the dutch translation is horrible....

Feels like havin'a new phone :)

Can't believe I didn't know about this until now. Immediately turned dial from home screen to get the shortcut keys.

I like my shortcuts and speed dials, but also, since it's a bar phone, I like to take an affirmative step to start dialing.

Mine is on. I have the letters setup as speed dial numbers. I don't mind scrolling around for my apps.

Novice BB user here. Thanks to all the comments, I deactivated the Call from Home Screen and, so far, I like the change.

Is there any way to re-map the native shortcut keys or at least to de-activate the ones I don't want? Hard to imagine that many would appreciate having shortcuts for Aim, Gtalk, YMsgr, et al, at the same time.


I didn't even know this existed. I pressed 'N' and I may be in love already. It's like a brand new phone.

I've always kept it off and used the shortcuts for all the reasons others have already stated. Besides, it's easier in a panic to hit the end key (to go to the homescreen) and access the calendar, an im app, messages, or whatnot. I tried dial from home screen and will say that it's intuitive in one sense: it's not really necessary to access im apps (if they're left on) when one can start dialing from the home screen, thereby accessing a contact that way and initiating any type of communication by pressing the menu button. Dial from home screen actually prevented me from constantly looking at buddy lists to see who is on line, for example, and that made me more productive. But even so, I found it more of a pain to scroll around and look for basics like the calendar, tasks, and the memo pad. Furthermore, "s" is a shortcut for universal search; with dial from home screen off, all I have to do is press "s," and I can find any contact fast.