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