Quick Tip: An Alt-ternative way to use menus

By Joseph Holder on 22 Jul 2011 02:38 pm EDT

Using the Alt key to open and select items from a drop-down menu isn't an exciting and glamorous new feature. It is, however, yet another example of what I call BlackBerry Choice. For many of the things you do on your smartphone, there is more than one way to accomplish it. You can start the clock on your BlackBerry using three different methods. There are at least ten ways you can make a phone call on your ‘Berry. And there are two ways to select items from drop down menus.

You see drop down menus frequently on your BlackBerry. They're at the top of the emails you send, letting you select which account will send the missive. They're scattered about the Sound Profiles, letting you customize your sounds just the way you like. Normally, you'd click on one of these menus, highlight the item you want and click the item to confirm your selection. And that works quite nicely; there is another way, though.

Highlight the menu as normal. Instead of clicking, press and hold the ALT key on your BlackBerry's keyboard. Still pressing the ALT key, scroll to highlight the option you want. Release the ALT key. You just quickly changed that option without clicking the trackpad/trackball once.

Though it may seem rather insignificant, this is a way to speed things up when you have to make a great deal of changes to these drop-down menu options. An example that springs to mind is customizing a sound profile. In that profile, there are quite a few drop-down menus used to personalize your notification sounds. Moving between them with one thumb on the ALT key and the other on the trackpad/trackball makes quick work of all those changes.

Thanks to belfastdispatcher 

Reader comments

Quick Tip: An Alt-ternative way to use menus


The ALT method is new to me. My shortcut way was to just press the first letter (or number) of the menu item I wanted to choose. Great for menus that you frequently play with, like in the BQuiet app. V for vibrate only for the start profile, N for normal for the end profile, 1 for one hour... boom, you're done. If it's not a situation where you are familiar with everything in the drop down menu though, the ALT method seems like it's perfect. Thanks for (once again) teaching me something new!

How about us Die-Hard Storm users. Alt is not an option. I have set up some short cuts to access certain emails that I have tagged, in a great post here by Bla1ze I think, but lo and behold, that elusive ALT key is needed again. I do still love my Storm and am eagerly awaiting the 9850-9860.
Storm was my first smart phone and I am just not comfortable with a physical KB.
I mean hey, I transitioned great to the Playbook....