Six BlackBerry Shortcuts for Business
By Marc Saltzman
You can send e-mail on your BlackBerry by hitting the comma key, or
reply by tapping the exclamation point. These days, typing shortcuts can
shave precious seconds off a task - and those add up, especially when
you're on the road.
If you're one of the millions of mobile businesspersons who use -- and
rely upon -- a BlackBerry <http://www.blackberry.com/> smartphone from
Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion
<http://www.researchinmotion.com/> (RIM), you might not be getting the
most out of your handheld device.
Oh sure, you take advantage of its reliable "push e-mail," phone,
document viewing and perhaps GPS functionality, but there are a handful
of keyboard shortcuts and other assorted tips that can help save you
time and aggravation.
"When you think about the fact that people often use their BlackBerry
for brief and intermittent tasks throughout the day, it's easy to
understand why they want it to be super-intuitive -- after all,
technology should make your life simpler," says Mark Guibert, vice
president of corporate marketing at RIM. "Some of the most commonly used
BlackBerry shortcuts are the ones that make it easier to type messages
faster or help you find information quicker."
Richard Shim, research manager for personal computing at IDC
<http://www.idc.com/> , a Framingham, Mass.-based market research firm,
says BlackBerrys are productivity tools, and anything you can do to
enhance productivity is a benefit to the user. "Navigation, for example,
is important on a device with a small screen, so shortcuts that help you
navigate easier are a plus." "Similarly, e-mail on small keyboard could
also be a challenge so any shortcut you can build in is a bonus."
The following are a few good shortcuts to consider. Unless otherwise
specified, these tips should work with all newer BlackBerry models
(8700, 8800 series) but might also work with older handsets, too. When
in doubt, check your handset's documentation or RIM's website.
Easily lock the BlackBerry
How many times has your BlackBerry accidentally called someone when
slipped into your pocket or purse (or worse, at 1 a.m.)? While we'd
still like to see an iPod-like switch on top of the BlackBerry to lock
its keyboard, try this as a next-best-thing. A small Stand-By button
lies at the top of the handset (near the power button). It might look
like a speaker with a slash through it. Hold it down for a second and it
will say "Entering Standby Mode," and your screen will go dark.
Essentially this locks your keyboard until you press the Stand-By button
again, and yes you will still get incoming phone calls and e-mails.
If there's a business contact, family member, or friend you call
regularly, you can assign them a speed-dial letter, which is a breeze to
use. On QWERTY- and SureType-based BlackBerrys, simply hold down a
button from the main screen, such as F, and you will see a pop-up window
that says "Assign a Speed Dial to the F key?" After you select "Yes," it
opens your address book to select the contact you wish to assign to that
letter (such as home for "H"). If you want to call into your voice mail,
the fastest way to do it is to hold down the 1 key.
E-mail reading shortcuts
Navigating through all your e-mail can be a time-consuming process. Ever
stepped off a long flight, turned your BlackBerry on, and found 75
messages in your inbox? Here are a few cool shortcuts:
* When inside an e-mail, click the N button to go to the "next"
message. This is much faster than exiting the e-mail and then scrolling
down to open the next one. Press the P button to go to the "previous"
* To jump down a page in a long e-mail, press the Space (spacebar)
button. To move up a page, press Shift button and the spacebar at any
time. If you're at the end of a lengthy message and want to quickly go
back to the top -- don't scroll all the way up -- instead press the T
button to move your cursor back to the "top" of the screen.
* When reading an e-mail, reply to the message quickly by pressing
the R key, reply to all by pressing the L or forward the message by
pressing the F key.
Faster e-mail addresses
If you're manually typing in an email address -- such as one that's
being read to you over the phone -- you don't need to enter the symbols
area to type "@" and "." as in email@example.com. Instead, when typing an
e-mail address into the To, Cc or Bcc field, simply press the spacebar
where the "@" and "." symbols should go and your BlackBerry will
automatically place those common symbol there. On a related note,
anytime you want to type a period when drafting an e-mail, you can do it
quicker but tapping the spacebar twice.
Switch between applications quickly
"One of my favorites is the ALT-ESCAPE shortcut for switching
applications," adds RIM's Guibert. "Try sharing that shortcut with a
BlackBerry user for the first time and you'll gain a friend for life."
Delete e-mails quickly
You've got an inbox full of read messages on your BlackBerry, dating
back a week or two. Time for some spring cleaning? There's a speedy way
to do this opposed to clicking on the first e-mail message, holding down
the Shift button, and then scrolling to the last one in order to
highlight them all. Instead, select a date field, visible in between
your emails, such as "Sun, Jan 27, 2008" and then choose the option to
"Delete Prior." As you might guess, all e-mails sent prior to this date
will be deleted from the BlackBerry.