How to Use a BlackBerry without the Trackball

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How to Use a BlackBerry without the Trackball

Using a BlackBerry without its trackball is equivalent to using a computer without a mouse: possible but a little tricky. You need to know which shortcuts are useful and how to use them. Scroll below for a detailed explanation on how to use a BlackBerry without a trackball…

There are many gadgets that have defined and shaped technology and the BlackBerry is one such device. That being said, it is not without its failings and one problem faced by many BlackBerry users, especially those with older phone models, is the little, round trackball. The trackball is the navigator and the ‘mouse’ of the BlackBerry and accounts as one form of inputting data into the phone. But there are times, when the trackball can fail to work properly or fall out or break. In those situations, how do you use a BlackBerry without the trackball ? Wait, don’t throw your BlackBerry out, as it is perfectly possible to use it minus a trackball. Read on to learn how easy it is to navigate through your trackball-less BlackBerry.

How to Navigate a BlackBerry without the Trackball

Enabling the Shortcuts
If a computer mouse is disabled or cannot be used, then the only way to navigate through a computer is by using keyboard shortcuts. Similarly, using keypad shortcuts is the only way to navigate through your BlackBerry phone without the use of your trackball. There are a lot of shortcuts, each for different areas and functions of the phone. But the option of using such shortcuts is disabled on the BlackBerry by default. To turn them on, follow the steps listed below:

I. Press the green Phone or Dial key, located on the farthest left side of the trackball.

II. Press the Menu button, which has the BlackBerry logo as its icon and is on the immediate left hand side of the trackball.

III. Press the O letter to select Options, then press the Enter key. Then select General Options by pressing Enter again.

IV. Scroll through the General Options list by pressing Enter. When you are over the choice Dial From Home Screen, press the Alt key and then the text will change to NO. Press the letter N, the NO choice will be selected, then press Enter.

V. Press the Escape key, which is the key to the right of your trackball (looks like a curved arrow) or press the letter S on your keypad to save your changes.

VI. The option ‘Dial from Home Screen’ when enabled, assumes whatever keystrokes you enter are part of a number. By turning it off, you can now use all BlackBerry keyboard shortcuts but you will need to press the Dial key to type phone numbers.

BlackBerry Shortcuts without Using the Trackball
Shortcuts are very handy for opening programs and applications quickly. On the main BlackBerry homescreen, just press or tap the respective key. If you hold it down for a little while, if that key is associated with a Speed Dial function, then the number is dialed. For example, to open the Address Book, tap A. Shortcut functions and programs opened, differ based on BlackBerry models and built-in phone software versions. But some common shortcuts are:

i. A – opens address book
B – opens up web browser
C – opens the message composer application
D – opens the memo pad
U – opens the calculator application
L – opens the calendar
Y – opens Yahoo! Messenger application
T – opens the tasks program
N – opens the BlackBerry Messenger program
K – locks the screen

ii. Press N to move to the music controls at the bottom of the phone’s screen, while playing songs from a list of tracks.

iii. To move forward and play the next song in a playlist, press and hold the Volume Down key, to play the previous song, press Volume Up.

iv. To navigate through a list of messages and the web browser:
Press Shift and Space together, to move up
Press Space to move down
To jump straight to the top of the list, press T
To jump straight to the bottom of the list, press B

v. Press Space and hold the Send key down to view contacts.

vi. With an opened picture, press 2 to move up, 8 to move down, 6 or 4 to move to the right and left side respectively.

vii. Press the number 3 to zoom into an opened picture, press 9 to zoom out and to center the image on the screen, press 1.

viii. In the calendar program, press Space to move to the next day, week or month and press Shift and Space together, to move to the previous entry. Press T to move to today’s date and to move to a specific date, press G.

ix. To switch between multiple applications, hold the Alt button down and then press Escape. As you move between various programs, keep holding Alt down and then highlight which application you want to open. Release the Alt key, that application will be opened.

As you can see from the above shortcuts and tips, losing the trackball is not a major device apocalypse and can be managed. Unfortunately, for playing Bubble Army, or other games, as well as some other BlackBerry functions, you will need your trackball. Try cleaning the trackball slot or replacing it with another piece to get your BlackBerry working again. Until it is fixed, or you get another phone, use shortcuts to make BlackBerry navigation a ‘shortcut’!

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