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Six Clicks: Keyboard tips and tricks for the BlackBerry Passport

The new BlackBerry Passport hardware QWERTY keyboard is unlike anything you have ever used before so take a look through Matthew Miller's gallery and optimize your keyboard experience.
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1 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

QWERTY at its best on the BlackBerry Passport

Given that the BlackBerry Passport is focused on the hardware QWERTY keyboard experience I wanted to supplement my full review with some keyboard tips and tricks. I highly recommend you take full advantage of what the keyboard offers and let me know what else you discover along the way.

The folks over at CrackBerry.com have a discussion thread with even more great keyboard tips and as you can see there is a lot more here than just a pretty face.

The keyboard is not composed simply of hardware buttons, but works in tandem with the bottom of the display while also offering touch sensitive support on the hardware keyboard itself. It is unlike any other keyboard you have ever used on a smartphone so get to learn it and love it.

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2 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Advanced cursor control and text selection

Within an area where you have text, double tap on the hardware QWERTY keyboard then slid your finger across the surface of the keyboard to place the cursor exactly where you want it. You can also select the text by pressing and holding on the virtual shift key, the left most button on the display just above the hardware Q, and then dragging your finger across the keyboard to the end point.

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3 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Use the hardware QWERTY for alternative characters

While BlackBerry makes it easy to tap the @123 button and then tap on the display to enter numbers and alternative characters, a simple shortcut lets you keep both thumbs on the keyboard at all times. Slide down the keyboard on the right side and a @123 alternative keyboard will appear on the bottom of the display.

As shown in the screenshot above, notice that this @123 alternative keyboard is different than the default alternative keyboard. It has small gray letters in the upper right corner of each key. Pressing this corresponding letter on the QWERTY keyboard enters that character. This shortcut only works for one letter at a time.

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4 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Activate BlackBerry Assistant from the keyboard

While you can press and hold on the play/pause button located between the two volume buttons, if you wish to activate BlackBerry Assistant from the keyboard there is a shortcut for that.

On the software row just above the top QWERTY keyboard notice the gray mic icon in the upper right corner of the period key. Press and hold that to launch BlackBerry Assistant.

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5 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Scroll from the keyboard

This is tough to show in a screenshot, but you can scroll fluidly through web pages, lists, email, and more by simply swiping up and down on the keyboard. This swiping action works anywhere on the QWERTY keyboard when you are in an app that supports this capability.

Unfortunately, the Amazon Kindle app doesn't yet support this so you cannot turn book pages with this technique.

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6 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Keep an eye on the right

BlackBerry integrated many keyboard shortcuts into various menus on the Passport. Notice in my BlackBerry Hub list that four shortcuts are shown with the small gray letters off to the right side. Tap one of these letters on the keyboard to take that specific action.

The more you use these shortcuts, the more they will become second nature and your keyboard efficiency will improve over time.

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7 of 7 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Start tapping away to initiate Universal Search

While you are located outside of an app, on the Active Frame or application launcher page, start tapping away on the keyboard to initiate universal search. There is an amazing amount of functionality built into this search app, including contact search, application startup, browser history access, viewing calendar appointments, viewing messages, and much more.

Once you understand the power of Universal Search, you may be using your QWERTY keyboard to find everything. Quick access to BlackBerry Assistant also appears at the bottom of the Universal Search display.

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