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By: Gerald W. Gaston Email: gwgaston@pinstack.com The following tips and tricks have been compiled over ... BlackBerry News forum

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    Post Guide to: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

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    By: Gerald W. Gaston
    Email: gwgaston@pinstack.com

    The following tips and tricks have been compiled over the years (since I started using a model 950 in 1999) from many sources on the Internet, RIM tech support, user manuals, and from simply playing around with Blackberry handhelds. Some of these may or may not apply to your handheld. Just how useful you find them may depend on things like: the model of handheld you own, which carrier you use, the software version installed, how your handheld is configured, any IT policies in place, and of course your own personal preferences and needs. Owners of the newer 7100 series should look for additional ‘tips and tricks’ that are specific to their handheld
    Terminology
    On this site and other websites, you may see the words (with or without a space or hyphenation) 'thumbwheel', 'scrollwheel', 'trackwheel', or 'wheelbutton' used interchangeably. RIM has often called this special button (that can be clicked and rolled much like a wheel mouse) a "thumb-operated trackwheel" in their documentation.
    You may see the words 'ribbon' and 'home screen' used interchangeably.

    The Blackberry handheld is often simply referred to as the ‘handheld’. BB and HH are common abbreviation also.

    ALT key – Has half moon on top of it (or is orange on older models). Left side of keyboard below the ‘A’ key.

    CAP key – Bottom right key (AKA SHIFT key) next to the space key.

    SYM key – Can be used to enter less-often used characters in email messages, browser URLs, etc.

    In General

    1) Hold the ALT key while you roll the thumbwheel to scroll horizontally in any field where you can enter or view text.

    2) Hold the ALT key while you roll the thumbwheel to scroll through a field to view options. Pressing the space key may let you cycle through the options as well.

    3) Hold the CAP key while you roll the thumbwheel to select multiple items in a list.

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

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

    6) Press the 'C' key to compose a new message from the home screen or within Messages or Save Messages. If 'Enable Quick Entry' is set to 'NO' (Calendar/Options), then the 'C' key can be used to create a new appointment/meeting request while in the Calendar. See the calendar section below.

    7) Rearrange the ribbon: In the Home screen (ribbon), hold the ALT key and click the thumbwheel 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.

    8) The Blackberry display can be backlit to allow reading messages in low light conditions. To get the light to come on, hit the backlight button usually in the lower right of the keyboard. Newer models also have a backlit keyboard as well so you can see the keys as you type if needed. The light goes out automatically after a few seconds of inactivity. The latest models with current handheld software allow you to change the timeout value (up to 2 minutes) and the level of brightness (2 step).

    Note for C++ Model users: To get the display backlit, you need to press the ALT (orange) key quickly three times.

    9) Turning the radio off and back on when coverage is spotty and you've lost signal seems to help on some handhelds.

    10) Set Owner info and password protect your blackberry: Go to the Options menu, then to the Owner item, and enter your name, and additional information (such as an alternate phone number for you). Under Options menu, Security item, make sure you have ‘Password’ set to ‘Enabled’ and an adequate ‘Security Timeout’ value specified. [Note: these settings may be changed/enforced via an IT policy] When the security timeout kicks in (or you manually lock your device), the owner info you specified will be displayed on the handheld screen. If someone finds your lost handheld, this can give them enough information (and possibly an incentive if you include the word ‘REWARD’) to return the device to you.

    11) If you have password protected your Blackberry (you should!) in the previous tip: [Note: these settings may be changed/enforced via an IT policy] 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, may be retained and visible. Note for older C++ Model users: This will wipe data AND applications requiring a complete reload! Siemens SK6R users: Your handheld will need to be sent in for service!

    12) To support more than one signature: Wipe out your auto-signature in the Redirector of the Desktop Manager software, or on the Blackberry itself if using handheld software v4.0+ (Messages/Options/Email Settings/Use Auto Signature), and just use 'AutoText' to configure alternate signatures. See the next tip on using AutoText.

    13) Use AutoText to help you compose messages with fewer key strokes: From the home screen, go to Options, then AutoText. A lot of AutoText entries have already been created for you. You can modify or delete existing entries, and even add your own. Entire boiler-plate responses can be entered here! Custom signatures, favorite quote/taglines, etc. can be stored, and then recalled in a message just by typing a few characters (that you specify) and pressing the space key. If you every want to use those exact characters in a message (i.e. not have the text you type replaced with an AutoText entry), you can simply hold down the CAP key as you press the space key. If you forget to do this (or maybe you just didn’t know there was an AutoText entry defined with those characters), you can hit backspace and this will ‘undo’ the AutoText expansion/replacement. Some of the stock AutoText entries rely on special macros (which you can also use in your own entries). Some of these macros are not available on all handhelds. See the ‘Composing a Message’ tips on down in the list for examples of stock AutoText entries that use these special macros.

    14) On blackberry models that include a phone, you can turn off the display of phone call logs in the Message list area. In the Home screen (ribbon), using the thumb wheel and click the phone, click the thumb wheel again and select options, Then Call Logging. Note that even with Call Logging turned off, you can still use the ALT-p and ALT-v shortcuts mentioned below to see the phone log and voicemail messages when needed.

    15) ALT-CAP-Del will reboot your Blackberry handheld.

    While In the Message List(Some of these work in tasks, memos, and appointments also)

    Searching/Filtering/Marking:

    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 (on handhelds that are also a phone).

    ALT-s: show SMS messages (on handhelds that support SMS).

    ALT-v: show Voicemail messages (on handhelds that are also a phone).

    ALT-d: (iDEN only) 7510 users can use this to show a direct connect log in the message list.

    Note: The ALT shortcuts above are just saved searches. You can create your own, or edit existing ones. Please see the Custom Searches tip below.

    ALT-u: Press this key combination to toggle a single message as Read or Unread. Note that there is currently no way to filter the message list to show only unread messages. You can press the ‘u’ key to jump to the next unread message (see Navigating below).

    h: toggle Hide Filed Messages setting on/off.

    i: file currently highlighted message.

    v: show Save Messages.

    Navigating:

    t: go to top of message listing

    b: go to end/bottom of message listing

    Escape: close message listing and return to home screen (ribbon)

    Backspace\DEL: Delete the currently selected messages.

    Spacebar: page down

    CAP + Spacebar: page up

    u: go to the next unread message

    Specifying where messages are deleted:

    With email reconciliation enabled, many people prefer to be prompted as to whether deleted messages are removed on the handheld only, or from both the handheld and their mailbox. To configure the handheld to prompt you as to which action to take when you delete a message:

    1) If not already in Messages, click Messages from the home screen.
    2) Click the thumbwheel and then select 'Options' from the menu.
    3) ** Scroll down and click on 'Email Reconciliation' with the thumbwheel.
    4) Make sure ‘Wireless Reconcile’ is set to ‘On’.
    5) Change the option ‘Delete On’ to be ‘Prompt’.

    ** NOTE: Older versions of the handheld software may not have sub-menu options like 'Email Reconciliation'. Simply skip over step #2 on those handhelds.

    Deleting multiple messages at once:

    1) Hold down the CAP key and use the thumbwheel to scroll up or down to select messages. Click the thumbwheel and select 'Delete Messages'.

    2) Highlight a date (i.e. Tue, July 20, 2004) in the message list; hit the thumbwheel and select delete prior. All messages prior to that date will be deleted. Note: If you have your Blackberry configured to automatically delete messages from your mailbox on the server when you delete them from the Blackberry, using this trick will NOT cause the messages to be removed from your mailbox on the server. So this is a good way to clean out the messages on your blackberry without worrying about having them deleted on the mail server.

    Combine these with a searching/filtering tip to make it even more useful. Example: To delete the last 5 outgoing messages (sent messages with a checkmark), press 'ALT' then the letter 'o' (for outgoing) this will show all of your sent messages. Then per this tip you can use the CAP key to select the last five messages. Click the thumbwheel and select 'Delete Messages'.



    Navigating:

    Enter or spacebar: scroll down a page/screen at a time

    ALT-enter or CAP + Spacebar: 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

    Escape: close message and return to message listing

    Backspace\DEL: Delete the currently opened mesage

    r: reply to this message

    l: reply-all to this message

    f: forward this message

    s: search for a word in the message

    i: file current message.

    Selecting Text (OS v2.1+)

    There are a few ways to select text:

    1) Press the CAP key and then scroll the thumbwheel to select. If you release the CAP key and scroll the thumbwheel you will select entire lines. Press the CAP key again at any time to start selecting by character again.

    2) Hold down ALT key + CLICK the thumbwheel (click it don't hold it down), release the thumbwheel and then use it to scroll whole lines. You can press and hold the ALT key at anytime to start selecting by character again.

    3) Click the thumbwheel and pick 'SELECT' from the menu. Scroll the thumbwheel to select entire line. Click scroll wheel again and select copy.

    Cut/Copy: After selecting text, click the thumbwheel and select 'Cut Selection' or 'Copy Selection'

    Paste: Click the thumbwheel, and then select 'Paste Selection'.

    NUM/CAP Lock

    Turn on NUM lock: Press CAP + ALT
    Turn off NUM lock: Press ALT or CAP
    Turn on CAP lock: Press ALT + CAP
    Turn off CAP lock: Press CAP

    Composing a Message

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

    2) Press the SPACE key twice to insert a period and capitalize the next letter.

    3) Press the SPACE key to insert the '@' and '.' characters in an Email field. The first time the space key is pressed while in an email field, an '@' character will be inserted, any subsequent uses of the space key will insert a period. Thus if the email address is: "first.last@domain.com" you will need to type the first period. To prevent this character substitution, hold down the CAP key as you press the space key, or press the backspace key after the fact to undo (this behavior is identical to that of using AutoText).

    4) Press and hold a letter key and roll the thumbwheel to scroll through international/accent characters, equation symbols and other marks.

    5) You can insert certain information about your blackberry into email messages. For instance, typing "mynumber" (without the quotes) and pressing space will insert your Blackberry's phone number (If your blackberry is also a phone). Likewise typing "myPIN" (without the quotes) and pressing space will insert your Blackberry's PIN. For iDEN phones (Nextel/Telus), you can type "mydcid" (without the quotes) and press space to insert your DIRECT CONNECT number. These are simply AutoText entries that use macros. You can edit these or roll your own using the same macros. Example: I create Autotext entries for 'mycell' and 'myphone' to be the same as 'mynumber'.

    Calendar

    (with "Enable Quick Entry" set to 'No')

    n: Go to the next day, week or months (depending on view)
    p: Go to the previous day, week or month (depending on view)
    t: Go to "Today" in the Calendar screen.
    g: Go to a specific date in the Calendar screen.
    a: Switch to Agenda view.
    d: Switch to Day view.
    w: Switch to Week view.
    Battery

    The largest draw on a battery is the transmitter. A few things that drain the battery:

    1) Frequent phone use.

    2) 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 handheld's radio off manually or use Options / Auto On Off to conserve battery life.

    3) Third party applications that must communicate frequently to maintain state (like some IM clients).

    Heavy use of the backlight will also drain your battery.

    Note: Extended/high capacity batteries can be purchased for some of the blackberry handhelds.

    For the older C++ models that use AA batteries: Generally speaking (you can get higher rated ones) rechargeable batteries only last about half as long as standard alkaline battery. Energizer e2 Photo Lithium batteries tend to last the longest. However, they are more expensive and when they finally start to go, have another on hand because they drain quickly at that point.

    Geek Tips (All models)

    1) 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 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, 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 ALT key while you type NMLL again.

    2) Hold down the ALT key -AND- the CAP key at the same time, then press the letter 'h'. This brings up the "Help Me!" screen that lists version, app version, pin, imei, uptime, signal strength, battery level, file free, and file total.

    3) Hold down the ALT while you type LGLG. This brings up the event log where you can clear events (frees some memory), view them or copy the contents to mail to someone. You can also change the level of logging here.

    Old Geek Tips (older C++ models only)

    1) ON any C++ model (i.e. 85x and 95x models), hold down the ALT (Orange) key and type "DBON" to display battery and signal strength as numbers. ALT+DBOFF returns to bars. Note: Although this trick does not work on the new Java-based models, both values are displayed in Options, Status on those models.

    2) Hold down the orange ALT (orange) key -AND- the CAP key at the same time, then the letter 'b'. This will show you the 'Device Status' screen with extended battery info and other stuff. This tip should work from any screen.

    3) Hold down the ALT (orange) key -AND- the CAP key at the same time, then the letter 'r'. This will show you the 'Radio Status' screen. Clicking on some of the info opens up news windows. Pressing the letter 'p' while on the 'Radio Status' screen sends a packet to the network which will send your Blackberry an acknowledgement in return. This is useful if you are in a weak signal area and want to stop your Blackberry from searching for other sites. You can do this and your Blackberry might stay there long enough to let you send that message that you might normally be in a too weak of an area to send. Also, pressing the letter "b" on this screen will get you the same 'Device Status' screen as tip #2 above. This tip should also work from any screen.

    4) On a Blackberry that uses the Mobitex network (950 and 957 models) you may be able to switch towers. Go into the Radio Info screen as explained in tip #3. Type in REJ (which stands for Reject current tower). You won't see anything typed in, and sometimes this requires more than one try.

    Carrier Tips/Codes

    Verizon:
    Call ##000000 - CDMA Service Program Edit Screen
    Call *228 (option 2) - Update PRL OTA (over the air)

    Nextel:
    After entering the 'Help Me!' screen (See Geek Tips). You can enter trace mode by typing: ZAML

    Mailbox Clean up

    If your mailbox has size limits (Email quotas), you may be prohibited from sending (and in some organizations even receiving) any new email until you reduce the amount of email already present in your mailbox. Not being able to send an important email because your mailbox is full can be frustrating to say the least. Cleaning up your mailbox is generally much easier on a PC (where you may have better searching, sorting and archival tools), but you can do a lot of it from the Blackberry.

    Delete message that are no longer needed. These messages must not only be deleted on your handheld, but from your mailbox as well. To make sure you are deleting the messages on your mailbox, please review the ‘Specifying where messages are deleted’ aforementioned tip. After deleting the messages, you can click the thumbwheel and chose ‘Reconcile Now’ to speed up the process if needed, but please use this option sparingly as frequent use can degrade server performance. After deleting the messages, you may still need to remove them from your Deleted Items folder.

    To Purge/Empty Deleted Items:

    1) Go into Messages from the home screen.
    2) Click the thumbwheel and then select 'Options' from the menu.
    3) ** Scroll down and click on 'Email Reconciliation' with the thumbwheel.
    4) Click the thumbwheel again, and select 'Purge Deleted Items' from menu.

    ** NOTE: Older versions of the handheld software may not have sub-menu options like 'Email Reconciliation'. Simply skip over step #3 on those handhelds.

    Give this process a little time before trying to send another message. Remember that any item in your mailbox goes against your limit. If you still find that you are over your limit, you might have other items such as Tasks, Calendar, Contacts, etc. that you can delete.

    Notes On Wireless Reconciliation

    If messages deleted on the desktop are not deleted on the handheld, it can often be caused by one of following (assuming wireless email reconciliation is enabled on the BES and handheld):

    1) The customer has "hard deleted" a message in Outlook. This is done by holding down the shift key as you delete a message. Messages deleted in this manner bypass the "Deleted Items" folder. Messages must go to the "Deleted Items" folder AND stay there long enough for reconciliation to occur. Which brings up #2...

    2) Messages must stay in the "Deleted Items" folder long enough for wireless email reconciliation to occur. This can take some time. Outlook 2003 in cached mode will add an additional slight delay to this as well. Wireless email reconciliation will not occur if messages are deleted and then the "Deleted Items" folder is immediately emptied (either by manually doing so or if "Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting" is checked in Outlook/Tools/Options/Other and the customer exits Outlook right after deleting messages).

    Notes on BES batch processing delays that may affect how quickly reconciliation is performed: The wireless email reconciliation feature implemented between a handheld and a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), processes requests in batches. As messages are handled (read, deleted, moved, etc.), these modifications are queued up and sent to the BES for batch processing. Batching delays the wireless synchronization of folders and message status while the information is being queued and the batches are being created. The batching process is designed to regulate the amount of wireless traffic the BES has to process so that it does not become inundated with requests that the worker threads need to process. Heavy wireless traffic from wireless email reconciliation, as well as other wireless features, can cause the performance of the BES to degrade and may result in noticeable delays in reconciliation.


    Author: Gerald W. Gaston


    More useful info:

    Setting Up Groups To Make Email Easier
    If you constantly find yourself CC-ing the same group of people you may want to form an email group to make composing and sending emails faster. Just like the name applies, you associate several emails together to form a group address. A good use for group emails are situations like a new development team or department.

    To form a group address do the following:
    1. Go into Address Book.
    2. Wheel click and New Group.
    3. Enter the name of your new group address.
    4. Add people to your group and Save.


    Push Weather Information Right To Your Blackberry
    In a demonstration of the 'push' capabilities of the Blackberry technology, RIM has released a push weather information service. You can register for the service to get weather information pushed directly to your handheld either once or twice a day. This service is not new, it's atleast a year old but use to only function on a limited amount of carriers but it now seems available on most carriers and handhelds running OS 4.0+.

    What we're hoping for are additional push services like sports results and possibly stock information.
    To sign up to get weather pushed to your handheld, just visit the following website on your Blackberry:

    http://mobile.blackberry.com/mss/category_push

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    What is considered the ALT key on the 7100r as none of the keys seem to work like an ALT key to me? thanks in advance
    Vera Palmeri
    PIN 24D593F4

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    actualy i don't think the 7100's have an alt key.

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    Quote Originally Posted by vera
    What is considered the ALT key on the 7100r as none of the keys seem to work like an ALT key to me? thanks in advance
    We will be posting Tips and tricks for the 7100's this month.

    Stay tuned.

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    Quote Originally Posted by vera
    What is considered the ALT key on the 7100r as none of the keys seem to work like an ALT key to me? thanks in advance
    You can now find BB 7100 tips here: http://www.pinstack.com/blackberryfo...read.php?t=345


    Thanks very much for posting about that. A seperate forum for the 7100 has also been created.

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    I did the signal strength number on my 7100t and it seems to me that the ALT key on it is the bottom left button with the 2 arrows (up and down). Pin me and let me know if it works for u 7100 series users. Thx.

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    The ALT key on the 7100 series is the key that has 2 arrows (one pointing up and one pointing down) directly below the SYM key.

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    that list is very complete, wow thanks for the post

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    what does it mean if it says (warning) at the top in my event log

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    The battery signal bar level did not change with the Alt key and NMLL. How do you change the battery level to numbers on the 7520? Also what does the number strength mean on the coverage? high numbers better or worse?

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    updated

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    It is in the bottom lefthand corner. Looks like an arrow pointing up and down.

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    Re: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    SNIPPED From above

    4) On a Blackberry that uses the Mobitex network (950 and 957 models) you may be able to switch towers. Go into the Radio Info screen as explained in tip #3. Type in REJ (which stands for Reject current tower). You won't see anything typed in, and sometimes this requires more than one try.

    .....

    Also typing ROAM in that screen will have the BB attempt to roam to another tower. Depending on who you talk (at Cingular or RIM) some say that doing the REJ is a bad thing. Just an FYI...not that it will matter much longer since the Mobitex network is gonna be brought down sometime later this year

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    Re: Guide to: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    nice posting. this is helpful. I just got my bb and I am still trying to figure out any short cuts.

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    Re: Guide to: Blackberry Tips and Tricks (Complete)

    Thanks for the tips!

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