Quick Tip: How to dial phone numbers that contain letters on your BlackBerry device

By Kerri Neill on 24 Jun 2011 09:05 am EDT

I'm a bit ashamed to admit my ignorance, and I'm sure my fellow CrackBerry writers will take immense joy in rubbing this in later, but for the sake of it possibly helping others, here I go. I had no clue how to dial phone numbers that contained letters in them like 1-800-COMCAST on my BlackBerry device until today. I ran across an app in BlackBerry App World that you enter the number like Comcast's and it gave you the numerical equivalent. I was so excited that I immediately thought to do a review on it and searched CrackBerry to see if that app had been covered before. Low and behold, on the main page in a Q&A submission (back in 2007) was an even easier way to dial those numbers...no app needed! If you're like me and have no clue how to dial numbers containing letters, keep reading and you'll see how easily it's done!

Dialing instructions

You simply start dialing the number like you usually do and then when you come to the letters, hold the "alt" key while pressing each letter. Easy and no wasting precious space on my BlackBerry with a needless app.

Hopefully this post will help someone else and my embarrasment won't be for naught :-)

Reader comments

Quick Tip: How to dial phone numbers that contain letters on your BlackBerry device


you can actually save the numbers using the same format in your phone book too...bb will save them and dial them correctly...

That's another quick way. If you have a Torch you can either do what's mentioned above or press your green phone button and select the dial pad. Both work flawlessly!

Thank you so much, I have either had to look at a regular phone or use my (not in use) iPhone's keyboard to get the numbers.

Does this work when you access a companies internal directory of employee extensions? I have a listing of the number/letter equivalents shrunk to a 4 point font and taped to the corner of my BB screen.

Lemme be the first to rub it in...SOOO late on that one Kerri! lol This is old school functionality (in BB years), and very useful.

Which makes it a perfect topic for an article! Funny how the other comments don't seem to agree with you, eh?

I remember this being a little tricky on my old Pearl 8100 with the condensed keyboard layout. You had to use the multi-tap method to get the letter you wanted. However, a bug in one of the OS versions would double each letter typed. If you needed a "Y" you had to press the Alt key and press the "TY" button twice, but it would register "YY" on the display. It did this whether the letter wanted had to be pressed once or twice. In other words, if you needed the "T", pressing Alt and the "TY" key once, you still ended up with "TT". A later build of the OS finally fixed that. But I kept an image of the old phone keypad layout to reference when ever I needed it anyway - just in case.

Don't be embarrased...you're not the only one. As a matter of fact, I had pasted a picture of a keypad in my holster to refer to when I ran across a number with letters. THANKS!!!

It's amazing how many complex things we know about our BB's and how sometimes the simple things get overlooked.

Thanks for this one.

Don't let them poke fun, no matter how much you know about something there are always gonna be someone who knows more and someone who knows less, and I sometimes in the less could always use more so keep em rolling

I also already knew this, and I would also like to add that you dont have to hold down the "ALT" key, you can also lock the letters by hitting the "ALT" and the left "CAP Lock" (^aA) button, no need to hold after that.

You dont even have to hold down the "ATL" or lock it... just dial 1800COMCAST on your bb and it will work try it... FYI using OS 6

If anyone from Orange UK customer service is reading this, please for the love of all things good in the world, change your password entry system so that people with BBs can enter their alpha passwords using the whole keypad when through to customer service, rather than having to guess where the f some of the letters are on the numerical pad. This is one situation where the (great) suggestion in this article won't work as it happens in-call. Thank you.

wow ...... I can't believe it was right under my eye.
Could have used this info many a times.
Something new for me to share with my BB friends !!!



I have a Samsung s390g and I tried the hold the alt button method and it does not work. How do you do this trick on my kind of phone?