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Home Screen Shortcut Keys (QWERTY devices only)

Rating: 7 votes, 3.29 average.
by , 06-25-2008 at 07:31 AM (10190 Views)

I now use a modified L Today theme, and love having just the eight icons down the left side and across the bottom with my Appointments in the middle, and a less unobstructed view of my wallpaper than a standard icon Theme. The eight icons are five applications I use ALL THE TIME plus three folder icons, but you won't find any of the native BlackBerry applications (the things I NEED the BlackBerry for) there (Messages, Address Book, Calendar etc.)!

If you go through the icons on your home screen and watch the name that appears, you'll notice most of the native applications have a letter underlined. This indicates the Home Screen Shortcut Key for that application, and that application will be run when the underlined key is tapped for 1 second or less.

However, you need to have "Dial From Home Screen" set to No in the Phone Application's Options --> General Options for this to work. On a full QWERTY device with 26 Speed Dials available, I hardly ever need to manually dial anyway. The Dial From Home Screen setting has no effect on Speed Dials which must be held down for more than 1 second to be invoked, and even if I need to manually dial a number, it's one extra tap of the Call button.

As for the applications I NEED AND USE all the time? I simply tap the appropriate key to bring it up instantly! No more scrolling around to find an icon - tap and it comes up!

I recently upgraded to a Bold with OS 4.6, and since AT&T now allows all IM clients, have checked them out too. I've updated the list (12/18/08) to reflect some changes with the new OS, but most of the changes have to do with the latest major (AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger) IM clients which are now all synchronized to version 2.1.37.

Here's a list of the shortcut keys* and the applications they invoke:
A - Address Book (or Contacts)
B - Browser
C - Compose
D - Memo Pad
E - Enterprise Messenger (BES host dependant)
F - Profiles
G - Google Talk
H - Help
I - Aim
K - Lock
L - Calendar
M - Messages
N - BlackBerry Messenger
O - Options
P - Phone
Q - ICQ [also older versions of Enterprise Messenger]
R - Alarm
S - Search
T - Tasks
U - Calculator
V - Saved Messages
W - Wap Browser (displayed name may vary)
X - Windows Live Messenger (X)
Y - Yahoo Messenger
  • REMEMBER: You tap the key (for about 1/2 second) to invoke the shortcut. If you hold down the key longer, you will either invoke an assigned speed dial, or be asked if you want to assign the key to a speed dial if it's not already assigned. This also makes up for not being able to dial from the Home screen as you have 26 speed dial keys available.
  • With Zen Themes, the icons that normally display (down the side or across the bottom) are the first icons across the top row starting from the left that are displayed when all icons are displayed (by either selecting the Applications icon in the normal display or hitting the [Menu] button on the normal Zen display).
    Move icons by hitting the [Menu] button to display all icons, then highlight the icon you want to move, hit the [Menu] button again and select Move Application. The icon will move until you hit [Enter]. With all icons displayed, hit the [Back]/[Esc] button (button to the RIGHT of the trackball) to go back to the "Zen" display.
  • In most applications the [End] key will immediately bring you back to the Home screen and allow you to go into another application. Afterwards, hitting the icon for the application you switched out of will bring you right back to where you left it. Remember, if you use this trick with an application like Google Maps, it will continue to run and drain your battery since it's constantly trying to update its location!
  • In association with using the [End] key, I have the side convenience key on my 8800 programmed as Application Switcher. I find this much more convenient than trying to use the [Alt][Esc] key combination to bring up the Running Applications ribbon!
  • When you use one of these shortcut keys, the selected icon in the shortened Zen menu is not changed. However, when you display all icons (by hitting the [Menu] key), the application associated with the shortcut key you tapped will be selected.
  • I am not aware of any way to program a third party application to a key.
    (I'd love to have Google Maps mapped to G!)
  • The above list was compiled using a BlackBerry 8800 running v4.2.1.70 on AT&T.
    (who renamed Wap Browser to MEdia Net)
  • Enterprise Messenger is listed as BlackBerry Enterprise Messenger in the Applications list, and connects to my Enterprise LCS server.
  • There may be other (RIM) applications like Enterprise Messenger that are not part of the standard OS that map the keys not listed above.
  • If you're a BES Admin, you may want to investigate the possibility of forcing the Dial From Home Screen setting to No through IT Policy (If you don't actually support the users, the Techs that do will thank you!). Why? Because Options is never in the same place! Where it is located is dependent on the theme in use! I've seen it on the Home screen, under the Settings folder, under the Tools folder, and sometimes those folders or Options is under the Applications folder. If you're supporting the BlackBerry and can simply say to the user "tap the O key" to bring up Options - you save yourself and the user a bit of frustration!
  • I found this application which makes the Q key a shortcut to Compose an SMS Text message: QSMS version 0.1 - OTA / Web
    Remember - don't use this if your version of Enterprise Messenger uses Q also!
  • The only letters now not used are J and Z. Does anyone know any application that uses them?
  • I don't know if this is just an AT&T thing, but the A speed dial now locks the device, and can not be changed. I know it's not something pushed down by our BES, and it seems to have been pushed by AT&T. This ticks me off since I already have a shortcut key to lock the keyboard, and A used to be my wife's speed dial key! Too Big Brother for me!

Updated 12-18-2008 at 07:30 AM by 3389 (Updated for OS 4.6 and latest IM clients)

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  1. dgduffy -
    dgduffy's Avatar
    Wonderful - Thanks - transformed my usage!
  2. Berryadict -
    Berryadict's Avatar
    Extraordinary. Thanks Jerry
  3. mDRagON- -
    mDRagON-'s Avatar
    Thanks JerryD for the helpful information.
  4. pandoraaj009 -
    pandoraaj009's Avatar
    here's an app you have to pay for that enables you to add shortcuts. for example, google maps could be assigned to "gg"