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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  • BlackBerry Tune

    Very informative Post Mark. I liked your “key” (ha ha) to navigational shortcuts. It’s very easy to remember that way.
    I am a big fan of SureType (though I use full QWERTY device NOW) and the way it learns your words and add it to custom dictionary, which makes it lot easier and types very quickly.
    Just to add TWO more tips for NEW BlackBerry users
    – SureType takes some time getting used to it, the best way initially is *NOT* to watch the screen on what letter is being selected. It will get it right almost MOST of the time.
    – Use SPACE key to enter “@” symbol and “.” symbol to type the email address quickly. (It also works on full QWERTY as well)

  • BlackBerry Tune

    Very informative Post Mark. I liked your “key” (ha ha) to navigational shortcuts. It’s very easy to remember that way.
    I am a big fan of SureType (though I use full QWERTY device NOW) and the way it learns your words and add it to custom dictionary, which makes it lot easier and types very quickly.
    Just to add TWO more tips for NEW BlackBerry users
    – SureType takes some time getting used to it, the best way initially is *NOT* to watch the screen on what letter is being selected. It will get it right almost MOST of the time.
    – Use SPACE key to enter “@” symbol and “.” symbol to type the email address quickly. (It also works on full QWERTY as well)

  • http://blackberrysync.com/2009/05/tip-how-to-use-shortcuts-on-a-suretype-keyboard/ BlackBerry Sync - BlackBerry N

    Tip: How to use Shortcuts on a Suretype Keyboard

    I decided to check up and see how RIM’s new official blog “Inside BlackBerry” was coming along. One of the writers over there by the name of Mark, who is the email expert posted some great tips on how to use SureType shortcuts. SureT…

  • http://blackberrysync.com/2009/05/tip-how-to-use-shortcuts-on-a-suretype-keyboard/ BlackBerry Sync - BlackBerry News You Can Sync With...

    Tip: How to use Shortcuts on a Suretype Keyboard

    I decided to check up and see how RIM’s new official blog “Inside BlackBerry” was coming along. One of the writers over there by the name of Mark, who is the email expert posted some great tips on how to use SureType shortcuts. SureT…

  • BlackBerrySync.com

    Great job with the shortcuts Mark! Only thing I noticed with the SureType keyboard is that when at the messages screen Key 4 actually goes back to the previous day and Key 6 goes forward to the next day, not to the next message as described above :)
    – James

  • BlackBerrySync.com

    Great job with the shortcuts Mark! Only thing I noticed with the SureType keyboard is that when at the messages screen Key 4 actually goes back to the previous day and Key 6 goes forward to the next day, not to the next message as described above :)
    – James

  • CellStudent

    Could you please, PLEASE put a directory together for using the virtual keyboard shortcuts on the Storm, both in QWERTY and SureType? I’ve figured out a few of them that translate over but most of the ones that involve an Alt or Sym I can’t find a comparable shortcut for on the virtual keyboard.

  • CellStudent

    Could you please, PLEASE put a directory together for using the virtual keyboard shortcuts on the Storm, both in QWERTY and SureType? I’ve figured out a few of them that translate over but most of the ones that involve an Alt or Sym I can’t find a comparable shortcut for on the virtual keyboard.

  • http://www.rim.com/ Mark

    Hi James,
    Those shortcuts you listed are indeed correct when you’re looking at the message list- I only gave the functionality for 4 and 6 when in an open message. Thanks for catching that!
    -Mark

  • http://www.rim.com Mark

    Hi James,
    Those shortcuts you listed are indeed correct when you’re looking at the message list- I only gave the functionality for 4 and 6 when in an open message. Thanks for catching that!
    -Mark

  • http://www.rim.com/ Becky

    Have you checked out the BlackBerry Support Forums? This thread might be able to help you:
    http://supportforums.blackberry.com/rim/board/message?board.id=NewBlackBerryUsers&thread.id;=227&view;=by_date_ascending&page;=1

  • http://www.rim.com Becky

    Have you checked out the BlackBerry Support Forums? This thread might be able to help you:
    http://supportforums.blackberry.com/rim/board/message?board.id=NewBlackBerryUsers&thread.id=227&view=by_date_ascending&page=1

  • Jane T

    Hi,
    Looking for some advice. I had received as a gift a blackberry pearl 8100 (unlocked) When I try to set up my email account it just shows the option of email account of Blackberry enterprise server, the option of create or add an email address doesn´t show… Does anybody knows why? and what will be the solution?
    Thank. Jane T

  • Jane T

    Hi,
    Looking for some advice. I had received as a gift a blackberry pearl 8100 (unlocked) When I try to set up my email account it just shows the option of email account of Blackberry enterprise server, the option of create or add an email address doesn´t show… Does anybody knows why? and what will be the solution?
    Thank. Jane T

  • Graham Singh

    Hi BlackBerry Team,
    I LOVE (L O V E!) the SureType keyboard on my Pearl. But I am so frustrated these are not being carried by my provider any more, and I don’t see any new products in the pipeline..
    Could you let me know.. when might the next SureType model be coming out?
    Cheers,
    Graham
    (PS I’m having to send back my new Curve because the QWERTY keyboard keys are just too small – I’m going back to my old Pearl!)

  • Graham Singh

    Hi BlackBerry Team,
    I LOVE (L O V E!) the SureType keyboard on my Pearl. But I am so frustrated these are not being carried by my provider any more, and I don’t see any new products in the pipeline..
    Could you let me know.. when might the next SureType model be coming out?
    Cheers,
    Graham
    (PS I’m having to send back my new Curve because the QWERTY keyboard keys are just too small – I’m going back to my old Pearl!)

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