Top ten typing and keyboard tips for the BlackBerry Q10

Make the most out the Q10's best feature

BlackBerry Q10
By Simon Sage on 26 Apr 2013 12:56 pm EDT

If the BlackBerry Q10 is becoming well-known for anything, it’s the keyboard. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the Q10 is the only phone for anyone really invested in a strong typing experience.

Over the years, BlackBerry has amassed a wide range of subtle optimizations that have really defined the experience, and many of them found their way to BlackBerry 10. We’re going to plow through the big ones here, which will hopefully be useful for those coming to BlackBerry for the first time, those that are coming back from a hiatus, and even BlackBerry loyalists that never found these little Easter eggs of productivity tucked throughout OS 7.

  • There are a lot of keyboard shortcuts available to save users from diving into menus and whatnot, and you can find them all here. Opening up menus within an app will often show a letter associated with a command so you can use the physical keyboard to get around in the future.
  • Hands full? Hold down the 0 key to initiate the voice actions app, allowing you to open apps, dictate messages, initiate searches, and do a lot more.
  • BlackBerry 10 handles a whole bunch of different languages. Though that might not change the layout of the hardware keyboard, it will offer multilingual prediction suggestions, depending on whichever ones you have activated in the system settings. This is great for folks that will start an e-mail in one language and finish in another.
  • Speaking of language, accents are accessible through the dedicated SYM key, but there’s an easier way to go about it too. When you hold down a key for a moment, it will turn that letter into a capital (which in and of itself is a handy way to skip the shift key), but if you keep holding down, you’ll get on-screen options for associated accented letters.
  • The keyboard can also help you quickly get in touch with favorite contacts. In the phone app, head to the settings to set up speed dials. Now when you're in the dialer, simply hold down a key for a few seconds and you’ll launch right into a call.
  • Universal Search has long been a staple of the BlackBerry experience and continues in BlackBerry 10. Just start typing from a dead stop on the home screen, and you’ll immediately be presented with matching results of local content (files, contacts, messages, etc.) as well as options to initiate searches through the web or connected apps. BlackBerry 10.1 introduces Instant Action as an additional field here, so you can launch right into typing a tweet or starting an e-mail from the Universal Search area.
  • BlackBerry has a word substitution engine built in, so the Q10 can automatically transform shorthand into longhand. For example, one of the built-in substitutions changes “min” to “minute”. Users can designate their own under the keyboard settings, which will no doubt save precious seconds in daily typing.
  • Even though there’s a physical keyboard here, the BlackBerry Q10 still uses the prediction engine from the Z10. Make use of its predictions, because they’re built based on your daily usage. You’d be surprised how much of a sentence you can write without touching the keyboard.
  • Throughout the BlackBerry OS, certain text fields take liberties by automatically inserting certain characters. For example, tapping space twice mid-sentence will automatically drop in a period and capitalize the next letter. In e-mail address fields, the first space will automatically be an @ symbol, and the second will be a period (since that’s usually the .com). Web addresses in the browser are similar, except you have to hold down alt and hit space in order to drop in a backslash instead of a period.
  • Though the familiar infrared trackpad may be gone on the Q10, the text cursor has been updated in BlackBerry 10.1. As before, tapping to the left and right within the cursor’s circle will move it one character to either side, you can now also tap up or down to switch rows.

Obviously the physical keyboard on the BlackBerry Q10 offers some unique advantages that you won’t be able to find elsewhere on the modern smartphone scene. After leveraging each of these tips, you’ll quickly find yourself wondering how anybody operates without a real keyboard. 

For more help be sure to check our all of our BlackBerry 10 help and how-to guides.

Reader comments

Top ten typing and keyboard tips for the BlackBerry Q10


My girlfriend is the one who is going to be using the Q10, but she expects me to learn all of these shortcuts and relay them back to her.

Something tells me that she will never fully take advantage of all of these shortcuts. I'm going to guess around 2% of them.

Posted via CB10

Ahh, the things we do for our women. Er uh I mean, woman.

It doesn't matter if she never uses them bud. What does matter is that you know them regardless. But you already get that, so good luck Sir.
CB Nation is here for you though so no worries.

Cut, copy, and paste text
1. To highlight text, touch and hold the text. To change your selection, move the cursor indicators.
2. Do one of the following:
• To copy the text, tap the highlighted text. Tap .
• To cut the text, tap the highlighted text. Tap .
3. To paste the text, touch and hold where you want to paste the text. Tap .

I am really considering returning to the physical keyboard. The Z10 is simply awesome but I miss the total accuracy if typing on the keypad. No touch device can input non logical words or phrases accurately. Eg, passwords, numbers etc. Professionally the Q10 is it!

Posted via CB10

On another note! Dear Mr. Heins, I really am missing my full bridge to my 4 playbooks once I upgraded from my Bold 9000 which was OS5 to my z10 which is fantastic. However, this change has hurt my PlayBook and definitely my overall BlackBerry experience. Honestly, when I pick up my PlayBook, I wish I never gave up my old phone for the z10. Please return that function soon. All the folks who have a PlayBook, and used it for business know what I am talking about! Thank you!

Posted via CB10

3 months into using z10 i can finally say i'm getting used to touchscreen. Still no way comparable to the accuracy of my 9900 though. I think some ppl r just not meant for touchscreen typing ie. big thumbs

Posted via CB10

Man, so many articles on the Q10, and I have to wait probably close to another month for it to be here in the USA...

Will need to try out the Q10 and make a choice on whether to change or to continue with the Z10...

Posted via CB10 on my Black Z.

yes they are all mini sim or micro sim. same size. you can cut your own. go youtube to see how to cut it on your own. carrier charge 5 to 10 dollars for swap.

Posted via CB10

Between this and the news of the Aristo, I've been off the walls confused about what to do. I have a Z10 now. I cant either keep the Z10 and get a Q10 anyway as a primary device, OR wait out the 7+ months with the Z10 and see what the Aristo has in store for the BBfans. Decisions, decisions

Aristo is likely an internal name for a future blackberry. Stick with the Z10 and watch floods of new phones fly past. I see 500 computers pass me by every year and I still love my current machine. :)

I'm not entirely clear on whether all these shortcuts will be available on the z10 in 10.1 or not. Do we simply not know yet? And if not, is there any actual reason why not? I understand one would have to swipe up with two fingers first, but after that I see no reason not to include the shortcuts for those who want them...

I don't know. I bet you can find another great keyboard phone that is still available. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 comes to mind. ;-)

Posted via CB10

Z10 is the best for me... largest screen, 2013 it's time to touching not a typing. *lol*

Posted via CB10

I love my Nexus 4, but my long past love for BlackBerry and keyboards has persuaded me to get this device.I can't wait for it to hit T-mobile!

Crackberry, your app does not allow you to share a hyperlink within a post you can share the post but if you open a link with in the post it will not allow you to share it. It stops the flow.

Posted via CB10

Hye guys I'm using z10,but I'm having difficulty to download song,what is the application should I use?is there any link?

Posted via CB10

Downloading music? You could use bittorrent or gnutella (older version of frostwire, 4.x) if blackkberry world won't work.

I'm using the q10 and for some reason I'm not able to put callers on hold.. I've tried holding the mute button and pressing H in call screen. Anyone else having this issue and/or know how to fix it? Thanks in advance