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Hello BlackBerry Users!

I love my BlackBerry and am always looking for new tips and tricks to get the most out of it.  Below I've compiled a list of a few I'd like to share with you as I think it will improve your experience with your device.

I've also posted these tips and more in the UVM Wiki, located at https://wiki.uvm.edu/index.php?title=Blackberry#Usability_Tips.

Enjoy!

Kent Saunders
Enterprise Technology Services





1. Shortcut to Capital Letters

Everyone starts out by using the shift button, but eventually comes to love this easier way of typing capital letters.  Just press and hold a key until the capital letter appears.  It only takes about ½ a second of holding to get the capital letter.  Of course, you don’t need to do this at the beginning of sentences, as BlackBerry will capitalize the first letter for you.


2. Period shortcut

Press the space bar twice.  This will drop a period at the end of the sentence, and the next letter you type will be capitalized.  What could be easier?  Typing a period and a space the old fashioned, boring way requires three keystrokes, while this method takes two.  It really does make life easier.


3. Page Down / Page Up

Sick of scrolling with your thumb? Remember this simple trick:

Page Down = Space bar
Page Up = Shift + Space Bar

Top of page = T
Bottom of page = B


4. Cap-Lock and Num-Lock

Occasionally you'll need to type a series of numbers, or a word with all capital letters.  Using the shift or alt keys repeatedly gets frustrating quickly, so thankfully there's Shift-Lock and Num-Lock.

Cap-Lock On = Alt + Right Shift
Cap-Lock Off = Right Shift

Num-Lock On = Alt + Left Shift
Num-Lock On = Left Shift


5. Rearrange your home screen

Everyone’s needs are different, and BlackBerry makes it simple to move your most-used icons around in Icon view. Just select the icon you want to move, hit the Menu button, then choose ‘Move’. When you get the icon to the right spot, click to drop it.


6. Use AutoText wisely

You can create multiple signatures for every occasion simply by using AutoText, the BlackBerry feature that fixes your mistakes and replaces visavis with vis-à-vis for you. Just go into Options->AutoText and use the Menu button to create a new entry. For the Replace field, select a character combination that isn’t a word (most people choose ZZ or ZX, which as far as I know are not words yet). In the With field, type your custom signature. Click the Menu button and select Save–and that’s it. You can create multiple signatures to suit different mail scenarios (business, friends, Grandma, etc.) and give them different Replace fields (ZZ, ZX, ZC, etc.).

To use your new signatures, type the Replace combination as a separate word in an e-mail. As soon as you hit the space bar, BlackBerry will swap in your signature. Try it. You’ll wonder how you got by without it!


7. Speed Dial keys

Assign a speed dial to any letter key simple by holding down on that key.  If that letter hasn't been assigned a number already, a message will appear asking if you'd like to assign a speed dial number, then lets you pick a contact from your address book. 

To place a call, simple hold that letter down.


8. Convenience Keys, Quickly Access your Applications

Ever notice those buttons on the side of your BlackBerry and wonder what they do?  These buttons can be programmed to open any application you choose.  Ever have a problem setting the BlackBerry to vibrate when you go into a meeting?  Why not setup those applications so that a simple button click will bring up the ringer option.  Just go into Options->Screen/Keyboard and look for the convenience key options, then assign "Profiles" to one of the keys.  Then ever time you click the button it will let you select Normal, Quiet or Vibrate.


9. Help Me!

You’re on the phone with mobile IT support, and they want to know all kinds of obscure information about your BlackBerry. Vendor ID? Platform? App Version? No problem, just hit:

Alt + Shift Key (also known as Caps) + H

Or on the Perl use Alt + R, A, C, E

You’ll see the Help Me! Screen with all the vitals on your BlackBerry, including the sometimes useful PIN.


10. Separate your Text message from your BlackBerry Email and Phone

Do you Text a lot?  It might be useful to separate your SMS Text messages from all your other phone logs. 

Go to your Messages, then OPTIONS -> General Options -> SMS and Email Inboxes: There should be Combined / Separate.  Selecting Separate will add a new program icon to your menu that will contain only your Text messages.