Five Essential RIM BlackBerry Keyboard Tips and Tricks

Add another notch to your Research In Motion BlackBerry black belt with these great smartphone keyboard tips and tricks.

Mon, April 07, 2008

CIO — We're always learning new BlackBerry tips and tricks. A while back we shared a set of nearly 40 keyboard shortcuts for your Research In Motion (RIM) smartphone from insurance company Aflac's mobile guru. Then we touted a set of our favorite free BlackBerry downloads and even filmed a how-to video to show you the best way to install and use those apps. Most recently we offered up a handful of ways to extend your BlackBerry battery life, and today we've got another set of helpful hints.

This week we bring you five advanced keyboard tricks for your smartphone that enable you to switch directly from one active application to another without returning to your home screen--just like the ALT + TAB function on your Windows PC--reboot your device without removing your battery and more.

Each tip takes only a second or two to learn and put to use, and they'll save precious time, provide valuable information about your device and even free up your internal memory to make your smartphone run faster and more smoothly.

(Note: We've tried all these shortcuts on BlackBerry Curve and 8800 series devices, but we can't guarantee they'll all work on older RIM smartphones.)

1) Rapidly Switch Back and Forth Between BlackBerry Applications

The most basic way to switch from one BlackBerry app to another is to repeatedly hit the ESCAPE key while inside a program until you to get back to your icon screen. From there, you'd scroll your track ball or wheel to find the next app you want and then click to launch it.

A quicker and more efficient way to go from an active program to another program is to use a shortcut. While inside an application, hold down the ALT key--which is directly below the letter A key--and then click ESCAPE--the button with an arrow reversing directions and to the right of your trackball on 8000 series devices. While holding down ALT, you can then scroll left or right between apps, and you need only release the ALT key to select a program.

image of the keyboard on a gold Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry 8320 Curve
BlackBerry Curve Keyboard

You need to be working in a specific application for that app to be available via the shortcut--in other words, the program needs to have been opened recently or still running. You can always access your Home Screen, BlackBerry browser, Options, Call Log, Messages and a few other apps depending on your device settings.

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