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BlackBerry Hacks by Dave Mabe

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Hack #18. Dial Like a Pro

After becoming accustomed to cellular phone use, trying to use your BlackBerry as a phone may frustrate you at first. Here are some phone tips you'll love!

When you make the upgrade from a cell phone to a BlackBerry, you may find it difficult to get used to making calls without some of the features your phone had. If you frequently make calls on your BlackBerry, take note of some settings that can ease the process of making those calls.

Call from the Home Screen

To place a call, open the Phone application. The Phone screen appears. In the empty field at the top, you can type a phone number and then click to enter to make a call. BlackBerry 7100 device users have the luxury of dialing right from the Home screen without first going into the Phone program.

Even if you aren't lucky enough to have a 7100 series device, you can enable the same convenience of dialing from the Home screen. It saves a couple of clicks if you use the phone often!

Here's how to do it:

  1. Open the Phone program. The Phone screen appears.

  2. Click the trackwheel and select Options

  3. Select General Options. The General Options screen appears as shown in Figure 1-50.

  4. Select Dial From Home Screen. Click the trackwheel and set the option to Yes.

    Warning

    When Dial From Home Screen is set to Yes, you cannot use shortcuts [Hack #3] for the applications on the Home screen.

  5. Click the trackwheel and select Save.

Dial From Home Screen Option

Figure 1-50. Dial From Home Screen Option

Dial Letters in Phone Numbers—(800) LET-TERS

Have you started to dial a number that consists of letters on your BlackBerry? It won't be long before you realize that you have no idea what numbers those letters translate into on a traditional dial pad so that you can place the call on your BlackBerry. Your handheld goes into number-lock mode on the Phone screen, and letters do not appear when they are entered in this mode. Don't worry, there's still an easy way to accomplish this!

To dial letters in a phone number (see Figure 1-51), you have two options:

  • To type one letter, press the Alt key. Press the letter key.

  • To type multiple letters, press the Right Shift key and the Alt key. Your handheld enters character mode and you can type the entire sequence of letters without having to hold down Alt. Press the Right Shift key again to turn off character mode.

Tip

If you're using a 7100, you'll have to do a quick multitap to access the second letter on a key (an S, for example).

Dialing letters in phone numbers

Figure 1-51. Dialing letters in phone numbers

Speed Dial Assignments

You can call a contact that appears on your Phone screen or in your address list (see Figure 1-52). Phone numbers also appear as links in messages and web pages, and therefore can be called through those as well.

Calling from the Phone screen

Figure 1-52. Calling from the Phone screen

For frequently used contacts, you can assign a speed dial letter so that you can make a call by simply pressing one single key. You can also add, change, or remove a speed dial key that you have assigned.

To assign a speed dial letter:

  1. Open the Phone. The Phone screen appears.

  2. If the number is already listed on the Phone screen, select the phone number.

    If the number is not listed on the Phone screen, type the phone number.

  3. Press and hold any unassigned key. It will be assigned to the phone number.

  4. A dialog box appears with the phone number and the key you selected.

  5. Click OK to confirm, as shown in Figure 1-53. The number is added to the speed dial list.

Tip

It helps to pick a key that you can remember easily, so you may want to use the first letter of the contact's first or last name, or of their relation to you.

Confirmation screen when adding a speed dial key

Figure 1-53. Confirmation screen when adding a speed dial key

View Speed Dial Assignments

To view all of your speed dial assignments, open the Phone and click the trackwheel. A menu appears; select View Speed Dial List from this menu, and the speed dial numbers will appear (see Figure 1-54).

Reviewing the speed dial settings you have configured

Figure 1-54. Reviewing the speed dial settings you have configured

If the contact name and number also appear in your Address Book, your speed dial list will also contain that information, as shown in Figure 1-55.

Speed dial assignment for a contact in the Address Book

Figure 1-55. Speed dial assignment for a contact in the Address Book

Shari Kornberg

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