Taking Shortcuts with SureType

Product

Back when I started working at RIM, I spent the better part of the first few days reading  the documentation and testing all the features on my shiny new BlackBerry® 950 smartphone. As a big user of keyboard shortcuts on the PC, I was struck by how many useful and time saving keyboard shortcuts are built into the software. The trackwheel is an excellent navigation device, but for someone who has hit “Ctrl + S” three or four times already while typing this post, the keyboard shortcuts were a welcome feature.

However, my experience since has shown that shortcuts are often unknown to many users. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’d be demonstrating something to a customer at a tradeshow, only to be asked “How did you do that?” as I whisked my way through the message list and emails.

Now, many people will find that the keyboard shortcuts on a full QWERTY smartphone, like the BlackBerry® Bold™, to be fairly intuitive. “N” for the next message, “P” for the previous message, “R” to reply, and so forth. But when confronted with a SureType® keyboard, like those found on the BlackBerry® Pearl™ series , many customers assume there simply aren’t shortcuts on the SureType devices. The truth is though, they’ve just moved around a little. Not all of the shortcuts made it over from the full QWERTY keyboard, but the important ones that let you navigate your message list like a pro are still there.

The “key” (ha ha) to navigational shortcuts on SureType is to think of the number keys like a directional pad. Numbers on the top row are generally for moving up, and numbers on the bottom row are for moving down; functions are paired top to bottom and left to right as well. Here’s how it works:

1 – Move to the top of the open message, or the top of the message list (newest message)
7 – Move to the bottom of the open message, or bottom of the message list (oldest message)
3 – Move one screen up in the open message / message list
9 – Move one screen down in the open message / message list
4 – Open the previous message, or go to the previous day in the message list
6 – Open the next message, or go to the next day in the message list

Now, for the actual message functions, you’re just going to have to employ a bit of memorization. 

! – Reply to the current message
? – Reply to all to the current message
. – Forward the current message
, – Compose a new message

It might not seem like a big deal, but keyboard shortcuts make managing your messages easier, whether you’re running through an airport clutching your carry-on, or killing time waiting for your friends at the coffee shop. To get a full list of the shortcuts for your smartphone, you can either check your user guide or surf over to the website and look at the online documentation.

-Mark

EDIT: to include the full 4 / 6 shortcut list. Thanks James! 

About Mark S

Product Manager, Consumer Email Mark has been with Research In Motion (RIM) for 10 years, and has worked in technical support, third-party developer relations, enterprise product management and carrier management. Mark has spent the last two years managing the development of the consumer email platform (BlackBerry internet service email), working with software development to bring the best email experience possible to BlackBerry smartphone customers. Mark is a big believer in starting the day off right by reviewing his email and downing a can of Diet Coke.

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