Tips and Tricks

BlackBerry Tips, Tricks, and Keypress Shortcuts


Gerald W. Gaston updated his list for the 7230 and also for the 7730. Here is his post with the updated information (and a few additions I added at the end). This list was combined with some from PDA Prophet, others from the BBUsers egroup mail list, and a few by forum member ‘qubit’, ‘kirson’ and ‘Mark Rejhon’. This list was edited by Mark Rejhon to add formatting, graphics icons, and corrections.

Important Keys

ALT key = :alt: has half moon on top of it. left side of keyboard below the A.

          (Newer blackberry devices have "ALT" spelled out on the key)

CAP key = :cap: bottom right key (AKA SHIFT key)

In General

Hold the :alt: key while you roll the thumb-wheel to scroll horizontally in any field where you can enter or view text.

Hold the :alt: key while you roll the thumb-wheel to scroll through a field to view options.

Hold the :cap: key while you roll the thumb-wheel to select multiple items in a list.

alt:+Escape – Allows multitasking, brings up Taskbar on any screen. Similiar to Windows ALT+TAB
alt:+:cap: – Turns on CAPS lock. Hold :alt: first then press :cap: . An oval with an up arrow shows up in the upper right corner of the screen.
cap:+:alt: – Turns on NUM lock. Hold :cap: first then press :alt: . A # sign shows up in the oval in the upper right corner of the screen)

Type the first letter of an item in an options list or menu to jump directly to that item.

Type the first letters of a name or the initials separated by a :space: to find a contact in the Address Book screen.

Press C to compose a new message from the home screen or within Messages. (If this does not work, make sure Phone->Options->”Dial From Home Screen” is turned off. This re-enables keypress shortcuts for icons from the home screen.)

Press :alt:+:enter: to keylock your BlackBerry quickly from the home screen. (Alternate keypress is just press K, but this only works if “Dial From Home Screen” is disabled)

Rearrange the ribbon: In the Home screen (ribbon), hold the :alt: key and click the thumb-wheel to bring up a menu. You can then select Move Icon, Hide Icon, or Show All. If you hide an icon, to show it again click Show all and it will appear with an X over it, bring up the menu on it and uncheck hide icon.

The Blackberry display can be backlit to allow reading messages in the dark. To get the light to come on, hit the backlight button usually in the lower right of the keyboard. Hopefully you have a backlit keyboard as well so you can type in the dark.

Turning the radio off and back on when coverage is spotty and you’ve lost signal seems to help. Also going into network and selecting register now will help. And if you have a phone/combo BB then on some you can go into network and select Scan for networks. then select the network you are on, for example T-mobile, then save. After doing this the radio will reset and you may receive a register message and a new service book, which you can accept from the service book menu in options.

Password protect your BB. To set a password, go to the Options menu to the Security item. Set the desired timeout (I use 15 minutes) and enable/set a password. In conjunction with this, you should also go to the Options menu to the Owner item, and enter your name, phone number, etc. When the password protection kicks in, this is what is displayed on the screen.

After five incorrect attempts at typing in your password, the password starts echoing (figuring you really need all the help you can get). After ten attempts, it performs a lobotomy on itself and almost all data is cleared. The Memo database, however, is retained and visible.

To support more than one signature. Wipe out your auto-signature in the Redirector of the Desktop Software and just use ‘AutoText’ to configure alternate sigs.

In the Message List

(Some of these work in tasks, memos, and appointments also)


alt:+I – show only incoming mail
alt:+O – show only outgoing mail (messages you have sent – i.e. checkmark icon)
alt:+P – show phone log messages
alt:+S – show SMS messages
alt:+V – show VoiceMail messages


T – go to top of message listing

B – go to end/bottom of message listing

del: – close message listing and return to home screen (ribbon)
space: – pagedown
cap:+:space: – pageup

Deleting multiple messages at once:

Highlight a date (i.e. Fri, Oct 05,2001) in the message list, hit the thumb-wheel and select delete prior. All messages prior to that date will be deleted.

Hold down the :cap: key and use the thumb-wheel to scroll up or down to select messages. Click the thumb-wheel and select ‘Delete Messages’. Combine this with a sorting tip to make it even more useful (i.e. To delete the last 5 messages that you have sent (checkmarks), press :alt: then the letter ‘O’ (for outgoing) this will show all of your sent messages, then per this tip scroll down and select the last five.

While In A Message


enter: or :space: – scroll down a page/screen at a time
alt:+:enter: or :alt:+:space: – scroll back a page/screen at a time

B – scroll to end of page

T – scroll to top of page

U – jump to closest unread message

N – jump to next message

P – jump to previous message

del: – close message and return to message listing


R – reply to or answer this message

F – forward this message Select Text (OS v2.1+): Press the :cap: key and then scroll the thumb-wheel to select. If you release the :cap: key and scroll the thumb-wheel you will select entire lines. Press the :cap: key again at any time to start selecting by character again.

Hold down :alt: key + CLICK the thumb-wheel (click it don’t hold it down), release the thumb-wheel and then use it to scroll whole lines. You can press and hold the :alt: key at anytime to start selecting by character again.

Click scroll wheel and select SELECT from the menu. scroll wheel to select entire line. click scroll wheel again and select copy. With either method, click the thumb-wheel and select ‘Cut Selection’ or ‘Copy Selection’… to paste, open a new message or whatever, click the thumb-wheel, and then select ‘Paste Selection’.

Composing Message

Press and hold a letter to capitalize it (with Key Rate enabled).

Press the :space: key twice to insert a period and capitalize the next letter.

Press the :space: key to insert the “@” and “.” characters in an Email field. Backspace and type again to over-ride this like you would with AutoText.

Press and hold a letter key and roll the thumb-wheel to scroll through international/accent characters, equation symbols and other marks.

Calendar (from Agenda screen)

Press T to go to “Today” in the Calendar screen.

Press G to go to a specific date in the Calendar screen.

The default date range for Calendar synchronization in Desktop Manager may not suit most people. While configuring the Calendar synchronization, click the Advanced button and specify the desired range.


The largest draw on battery life is the transmitter, so if you are transmitting a lot, you can expect reduced battery life. And the backlight.

Being in fringe or no coverage areas will eat up your battery as it attempts to transmit. If you’re in an area that is out of range, turn your BB’s radio off manually or use Options / Auto On Off to conserve battery life.

Geek Tips

Rather than looking at the bars, you can change the display of the ‘signal strength’ to read in real numbers. While at the home screen (ribbon), hold down the half moon :alt: key while you type NMLL. The bars should change to read numbers. For the ‘signal strength’, if you are in the 100 area (that means -100 dBm), you will be transmitting at maximum power (2 Watts), and since coverage is hit and miss at this weak a signal, you may end up transmitting many times before the packets make it through. This might help explain any poorer than normal battery life. I consider anything at -90 to -50 excellent.

To get the bars back: While at the home screen (ribbon), hold down the half moon :alt: key while you type NMLL again.

Hold down the half moon :alt: key -AND- the :cap: key at the same time, then the letter ‘H’. This brings up the “Help Me!” screen that lists version, app version, pin, imei, uptime, signal strength, batterylevel, file free, and file total.

Hold down the half moon :alt: while you type LGLG. This brings up the event log where you can clear events (frees some memory) or view them or copy the contents to mail to someone.

alt:+:cap:+:del: will reboot your BB.

If you would like to have delivery confirmation for your regular outgoing emails on your BlackBerry, add “” to the beginning of your subject line. You must include the brackets. You will get an email back confirming delivery of your message.

Final Note

You can find more general usage tips in the User’s Guide. Gerald W. Gaston

Last edited by qubit on 07-28-2004 at 09:24 AM
Last edited by Mark Rejhon on 02-09-2005 at 12:59 AM

[Edited by Mark Rejhon to insert the new version of tips]

[Edited by Mark Rejhon to add UBB formatting]

[Edited by Mark Rejhon to rearrange text]

[Edited by Mark Rejhon to key icons]

[Edited 12/03/2007 by JSanders to include clearer formatting, section headers, etc., and additional tips]

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BlackBerry Search

There is also a BlackBerry Search Engine that has hand picked resources and will guide you to the right place for your question:

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