Tuff-Luv Spark Kindle Cover with Light - by joeyanne, on Flickr

Tuff-Luv Spark Kindle Cover with Light - by joeyanne, on Flickr

It’s coming up to the holiday season, and I know a number of people are considering getting a Kindle. There have been quite a few questions on Twitter and interesting conversations with both Kindle owners and those thinking of getting one. I noticed however that some features of the Kindle that I mentioned were unknown to some other Kindle owners, so I thought I’d share a few tips about the way I use my Kindle that you might not know about.

  1. You can send personal documents to your Kindle by email – more info here. I use this feature to forward longer documents I’ve received by email (or reports I find online) to send them to my Kindle to be read on there. You get a @kindle.com email address and a @free.kindle.com (both of which you set up in your Amazon account). The free one basically means it will use the wireless network rather than 3G (Whispernet) and that means you won’t pay for receiving the document. You can also set a maximum cost if you want to use the Whispernet feature but don’t want to spend too much by accident – I’ve set my maximum cost as £0.00 so it will never cost me but you could just set a low limit. You can send the following types of documents:
      • Microsoft Word (.DOC, .DOCX)
      • HTML (.HTML, .HTM)
      • RTF (.RTF)
      • JPEG (.JPEG, .JPG)
      • Kindle Format (.MOBI, .AZW)
      • GIF (.GIF)
      • PNG (.PNG)
      • BMP (.BMP)
      • PDF (.PDF)
  2. You can convert PDFs to Kindle format simply by adding the word ‘Convert’ in the subject of the email – by default the Kindle will display PDFs as is (i.e. one PDF page to one Kindle screen) but this can make for some tiny writing. You can zoom in but it’s not exactly easy to navigate. One feature I use a lot is to convert PDF into Kindle format. All you need to do is use the subject Convert in the email you send with the PDF attached. It’s an ‘experimental’ feature so doesn’t always work perfectly, but I’ve never had any problems other than with images/tables. The example below shows the original (smaller text) and the converted below (where text can be adjusted to any size). Although there are a few misalignments I was very impressed that the table of contents in the document remained functional in the converted version (so you can click on the title and it will jump to the relevant section of the PDF – very useful for longer documents).
    Original PDF

    Original PDF (click for larger image)

    Converted PDF

    Converted PDF (click for larger image)

  3. You can read your RSS feeds in full screen mode through the browser – I use Google Reader and one of the cool things you can do with that is make it full screen. You just hit key f once it’s loaded to make it full screen and then use j and k to navigate up and down the items (these work in any browser – see this list of keyboard shortcuts for Google Reader). The only downside is that you only have one window on Kindle so any links that want to open in a new window you won’t be able to open.

    Google Reader on Kindle

    Google Reader on Kindle (click for larger image)

  4. You can take screenshots (to then share electronically) – this is how I created the images for this blog post. To take a screenshot you just press down Alt, Shift and g. To get the screenshot, plug your Kindle into your computer and your screenshot will be there in the documents folder for you to copy to your computer.
  5. You can play games on it – reading work reports on your Kindle isn’t totally distraction free when you realise you can play a couple of games on your Kindle! Alt, Shift and m gets you to Minesweeper and then you can press g to go to Gomoku (5 in a row).

    Minesweeper on Kindle

    Minesweeper on Kindle (click for larger image)

I hope you find these tips useful – there are also some useful posts from Simon and Bethan. Do you have any other tips to share? Let me know in the comments or share on Twitter using the #kindletips hashtag.

  • Twitter’s mobile website used to work nicely on its browser. Very handy when phone is dead and you are in another country (3G version).

    • Thanks Ben – I had forgotten about Twitter. I have KindleTwit bookmarked which I use very occasionally on Kindle.

  • Hi,

    Can I mention klip.me? http://www.klip.me/

    I find it a handy for me to send longer blog posts or articles to my Kindle when I come across them browsing or doing something else (like being on Twitter).

    The little bookmarklet lives in your browser and means it’s just 2 clicks to send something to your Kindle.

    • Thanks for the recommendation Richard. I’ve previously used a similar tool on Chrome (I think it’s just called Send to Kindle).
      I know others use Instapaper too to send articles on a daily basis to their Kindle.

  • I have the Kindle 4 (the new one without the keyboard) so have less functionality than the keyboard version, though I love being able to send documents to it (quite handy for maps, especially as you can zoom) and it’s really really light, and the battery lasts forever!
     
    Kindle keyboard can read aloud books that have text-to-speech enabled, which is an excellent feature for people with sight difficulties.

  • cjclarke1978

    Like the previous comment, I also have the keyboard-less Kindle 4. I love it for reading fiction on but have yet to use it for anything else really.

    Liking the idea of taking screenshots – wonder if this will work on my Kindle?