blackberryBlackBerry is the smartphones du jour for web workers, and it’s not hard to see why. A straightforward interface, Fort Knox-like security and superb email handling make it the platform of choice for mobile email, but there’s a lot you can do to improve on the BlackBerry’s out-of-box functionality for email.

Note: this article is written for BIS users running BlackBerrys with OS 4.2.

How to Turn Email Off

One thing that’s irritated me about BlackBerrys from day one is the inability to turn off email delivery. No wonder there are so many ‘CrackBerry’ addicts out there!

But there are a few workarounds. To stop receiving email, turn off the data connection by going to Manage Connections > Mobile Network Options and switching Data Services off. Any email sent to your BlackBerry while this is turned off will be queued up and Downloaded as soon as you turn data back on.

The downside is that this turns off Internet access altogether. If that’s inconvenient, another option is logging in to your carrier’s BlackBerry Internet Service website from a PC, clicking on the filter icon for the email accounts you want to disable, and selecting ‘Do not forward messages to device.’ With this method, any email sent to that account is not sent to the BlackBerry even after you re-enable message forwarding.

Finally, you can turn your BlackBerry off altogether. Go to Options > Auto On/Off and select the times on weekdays and weekends for automatically turning the BlackBerry on and off.

Bonus tip: Turn off email notification sound and LED flashing by going into Profiles, scrolling down to Advanced, selecting the active profile (Normal by default), then selecting Edit from the pop-up menu.

Get More out of Your Inbox

Considering that email is the BlackBerry’s main drawcard, the lack of frills in the email client is disappointing. You can add more features to the Messages program using BBSmart Email Viewer – a must-have if you process a lot of email from your BlackBerry. Features include clickable URLs, embedded images, email templates, and the ability to add notes to individual emails and even add emails as tasks or appointments. I’ve only been using this program for a couple of days, and already I can’t imagine reading email on my BlackBerry without it.


The latest BlackBerrys support viewing email attachments in their native format, but how about creating and editing documents? Personally, I’ve been using a Windows Mobile smartphone for four years, and while I’ve viewed hundreds of Word documents and PDFs, I’ve never actually needed to edit or create any on a smartphone.

Naturally your mileage may vary, and if this is something you need to do in your line of work, eOffice lets you view, edit and create Word documents (as well as view PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, faxes and Excel spreadsheets).

If you can hold off a couple of months, version 4.5 of the BlackBerry OS is slated to introduce native Microsoft Office document editing via Dataviz’s Documents To Go software.

Bonus tip: Mark all of the email in your inbox as read by pressing ‘t’, clicking the menu button and select ‘mark prior opened’. Selecting ‘delete prior’ clears out your entire inbox.

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Talay ExcelVBA said... @ June 19, 2009 at 11:43 PM

thanks your post.

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