View Full Version : Does the kindle do auto-justification?


SirBC
11-26-2007, 02:42 PM
If I load a text file (or send a pdf via whispernet) that is left justified, will the kindle convert the file so that it is right and left justified?

SirBC
11-27-2007, 11:25 AM
Can any kindle owners answser this?

rflashman
11-27-2007, 12:47 PM
Got a sample file to try out?

SirBC
11-27-2007, 01:00 PM
I've attached a left justified .txt file (from Project Gutenberg).

I guess the reason I ask is that I have never owned an ebook reader but I am intrigued by the Kindle and I am worried that if the text isn't left and right justified (as a paper book would be) it would look "weird".

wallcraft
11-27-2007, 01:31 PM
If you have a Windows PC, download the latest MobiPocket Reader (http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/ProductDetailsReader.asp). Amazon owns MobiPocket, and the Kindle is using a variant of the MobiPocket Reader for handheld devices (similar to the one in the "others" section of the download page). The Windows Reader has more customization features than the Kindle, but it should give you a good idea of what source files will look like on the Kindle (particularly if you set your window size to about 600 by 800 pixels).

Whispernet conversion is probably similar to the import option for the MobiPocket Windows Reader, the output is a PRC file which will work on the Kindle. In fact, this is a free alternative to using whispernet conversion (copy the PRC to your Kindle via USB).

rflashman
11-27-2007, 02:25 PM
I've attached a left justified .txt file (from Project Gutenberg).

I guess the reason I ask is that I have never owned an ebook reader but I am intrigued by the Kindle and I am worried that if the text isn't left and right justified (as a paper book would be) it would look "weird".


It converted into a an elegant left and right properly justified eBook, easy to read. Pretty much what you were looking for.

andym
11-27-2007, 04:27 PM
The Mobipocket Reader on a pda does this on the fly (is that the right term?) ie you don't need to convert. Not very pretty on short line lengths, so I normally turn it off, but it's there as an option. Whether it will do that on this version of the software on the Kindle is another matter - but probably will come sooner rather than later.

SirBC
11-27-2007, 05:44 PM
It converted into a an elegant left and right properly justified eBook, easy to read. Pretty much what you were looking for.

Good stuff! Thanks for trying it out for me. Kindle here I come :)

BTW, did you use the whispernet conversion?

SirBC
11-27-2007, 10:40 PM
Hmmm... I guess not *all* books are Left/Right justified. This gizmodo article comparing the Kindle to the Sony Reader shows a side-by-side picture with the same book on each device; the Sony is L/R justifed and the Kindle is not.

http://gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2007/11/Sony_v_AMZN_opener.jpg

I haven't seen this discussed anywhere else. Is this only a big deal for me?

wallcraft
11-28-2007, 12:13 AM
See Paragraph rendering and hyphenation (http://www.mobipocket.com/dev/article.asp?BaseFolder=prcgen&File=justification.htm) from the Mobipocket Developer Center. It says:

Text is displayed by default in the Reader with full justified alignment, and automatic hyphenation of words.

The user can change alignment to Left align text in the user settings.

The left alignment of the text can be forced with the <p align="left"> or <div align="left"> tag.

The Windows MobiPocket Reader can indeed set alignment. However, the Kindle's reader has fewer options, and the User Guide does not mention any option to set alignment.

The .azw version provided by rflashman contains simple HTML, for example:

<p>I HAVE endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it. </p><div height="0em"></div>

It appears that any AZW <div> or <p> that does not specify alignment will be justified and any that include align="left" won't be justified.

HarryT
11-29-2007, 02:52 AM
The Windows MobiPocket Reader can indeed set alignment. However, the Kindle's reader has fewer options, and the User Guide does not mention any option to set alignment.


Different versions of the Mobi Reader do have different options. Going "down the scale" from most options to fewest, the list seems to be:

Mobi Reader for Windows
Mobi Reader for PDA
CyBook Gen3
iRex iLiad

Eg, the PDA version of Mobi Reader lets you set both margin size and text alignment; the Gen3 allows you to control alignment, but not margins; the iLiad allows you to set neither.

JSWolf
11-29-2007, 04:09 AM
Hmmm... I guess not *all* books are Left/Right justified. This gizmodo article comparing the Kindle to the Sony Reader shows a side-by-side picture with the same book on each device; the Sony is L/R justifed and the Kindle is not.

http://gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2007/11/Sony_v_AMZN_opener.jpg

I haven't seen this discussed anywhere else. Is this only a big deal for me?
Wow! That is some poor formatting on the Kindle. Are a lot of ebooks for the Kindle that bad?

TallMomof2
11-29-2007, 01:47 PM
Wow! That is some poor formatting on the Kindle. Are a lot of ebooks for the Kindle that bad?

I haven't seen a book yet that looked like the one in the picture. The excess margins would bother me.

SirBC
12-30-2007, 03:14 PM
I just bought a Kindle edition of a book that I already own (The Lies of Locke Lamora), and while the physical book has full justification, the Kindle edition is left justified. I am also unable to make it fully justified using the "hidden" justification option in the font size menu. I guess I'll have to return it.

wallcraft
12-30-2007, 07:28 PM
I am also unable to make it fully justified using the "hidden" justification option in the font size menu. To save others searching, this is was reported by Igorsk in Hacking the Kindle part 3: root shell and runtime system (http://igorsk.blogspot.com/2007/12/hacking-kindle-part-3-root-shell-and.html): Keyboard shortcuts
Font List
J show/hide justification options


I'm not actually sure what the "Full Justification" option is supposed to do (on the Kindle or in the MobiPocket Windows Reader), since it is the default. Selecting "Left Justification" on the Kindle does make this the default, and some may prefer this.

However, neither one over-rules the publishers explicit paragraph by paragraph layout specification. So if the publisher forces "left" or "justify" you are stuck with this.

HarryT
12-31-2007, 03:19 AM
However, neither one over-rules the publishers explicit paragraph by paragraph layout specification. So if the publisher forces "left" or "justify" you are stuck with this.

Which is exactly why my Mobi tutorial recommends removing the "align=justify" that BD gives every paragraph by default. That way it gives the user the choice whether to view the text justified or not.

Kruskal
01-22-2008, 11:37 PM
Selecting "Left Justification" on the Kindle does make this the default, and some may prefer this.I would normally prefer FULL justification, but with such a narrow screen and no hyphenation, I find LEFT is the way to go. It won't even break a word which is, itself, hyphenated at the hyphen to justify better.

Vincent

tompe
01-23-2008, 08:25 PM
I would normally prefer FULL justification, but with such a narrow screen and no hyphenation, I find LEFT is the way to go. It won't even break a word which is, itself, hyphenated at the hyphen to justify better.


You should never hyphenate a word with a hyphen in it since you then cannot tell what the word is.

Typographical I think it is more important to have good hyphenation when using only left justification. Without hyphenation you will get "pattern" that disturbs the reading. I have noticed this and it is also something I read about in a typography book or similar.

HarryT
01-24-2008, 02:55 AM
You should never hyphenate a word with a hyphen in it since you then cannot tell what the word is.


I don't think the previous poster was referring to hypenating a word with a hyphen in it, but to breaking the line at the hyphen in a word which has one. That's certainly a "legitimate" thing to do, but something which MobiPocket Reader (and presumably the Kindle) doesn't support.

JSWolf
01-24-2008, 03:17 AM
The problem is that The 505 & Gen3 do not support hyphenation. That would go a long way to eliminating the need or want to left justification.

tompe
01-24-2008, 06:35 PM
I don't think the previous poster was referring to hypenating a word with a hyphen in it, but to breaking the line at the hyphen in a word which has one.

That was what I meant. And you should not do it since you introduce an uncertainty about what the word is. Don't english have words that have different meaning with and without a hyphen?

HarryT
01-25-2008, 02:25 AM
That was what I meant. And you should not do it since you introduce an uncertainty about what the word is. Don't english have words that have different meaning with and without a hyphen?

I can't think of any such words, off-hand. Take that word, I've just used, though: "off-hand". It's completely standard in English to "break" such words over a line end, ie end one line with "off-" and start the next line with "hand". Virtually all printed books do this.

Is this not done in Swedish?

tompe
01-25-2008, 08:15 AM
I can't think of any such words, off-hand. Take that word, I've just used, though: "off-hand". It's completely standard in English to "break" such words over a line end, ie end one line with "off-" and start the next line with "hand". Virtually all printed books do this.

Is this not done in Swedish?

I think I got the rule from TeX and literature about it. Maybe it is not a word but "pre-tend" and "pretend" seems to me to be an example. In Swedish such examples are probably more common since we create new word by concatenating two words.

And when reading your brain have to do more work since if you have "off-hand" the you will read "offhand" and it will be harder to understand. Since typographical rules are there to enhance readability I think it is a good rule never to break the line at a hyphen.

tompe
01-25-2008, 08:19 AM
Found a better example at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen

Most text systems consider a hyphen to be a word boundary and a valid point at which to break a line when flowing text. However, this is not always desirable behavior, especially when it could lead to ambiguity (such as in the examples given before, where ‘recreation’ and ‘re-creation’ would be indistinguishable).

Most text system does not justify text as good as TeX either.

DaleDe
01-25-2008, 11:08 AM
Found a better example at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen



Most text system does nut justify text as good as TeX either.

Too true. The hyphenation done by BD is terrible and very difficult to read the text reasonably. You really need a hyphen dictionary to do a good job.

Even without hyphenation full justification can look pretty good with kerning but none of the electrical systems seem to support that.

Dale

HarryT
01-25-2008, 12:13 PM
I think I got the rule from TeX and literature about it. Maybe it is not a word but "pre-tend" and "pretend" seems to me to be an example. In Swedish such examples are probably more common since we create new word by concatenating two words.

And when reading your brain have to do more work since if you have "off-hand" the you will read "offhand" and it will be harder to understand. Since typographical rules are there to enhance readability I think it is a good rule never to break the line at a hyphen.

English, however, is a very "flexible" language and most grammar rules can be "broken". In the majority of hypenated words, it's perfectly OK to leave out the hypen. I like to put them in, so I write "off-hand", but many people would leave it out and write "offhand". Both are equally "right" (or "wrong").

Your example of "re-creation" v. "recreation" is a good example where the hyphen does change the meaning, but any native English speaker could immediately tell from the context which was meant in any particular sentence.

As I say, virtually all printed books will break lines at a hyphen, but it's something that no e-book format (that I know of) does currently do.

DaleDe
01-25-2008, 12:16 PM
English, however, is a very "flexible" language and most grammar rules can be "broken". In the majority of hypenated words, it's perfectly OK to leave out the hypen. I like to put them in, so I write "off-hand", but many people would leave it out and write "offhand". Both are equally "right" (or "wrong").

Your example of "re-creation" v. "recreation" is a good example where the hyphen does change the meaning, but any native English speaker could immediately tell from the context which was meant in any particular sentence.

As I say, virtually all printed books will break lines at a hyphen, but it's something that no e-book format (that I know of) does currently do.

My eB1150 breaks lines at hyphens and it supports the SHY (soft hyphen) HTML code.

tompe
01-25-2008, 12:25 PM
As I say, virtually all printed books will break lines at a hyphen, but it's something that no e-book format (that I know of) does currently do.

Are you sure of that? It is hard to check since it is not so common. I checked some books now but could not fins any examples. So I am not convinced that you are right. But I will from now look for this. Actually i cannot remember ever having seen it.

wallcraft
01-25-2008, 01:14 PM
As I say, virtually all printed books will break lines at a hyphen, but it's something that no e-book format (that I know of) does currently do. I don't think this is a format issue, but rather a reader issue. For example, FBReader does automatic hyphenation (http://www.fbreader.org/docs/languages.php#hyphenation) no matter what format it is reading: Liang's algorithm is used. The same algorithm is used in TeX, and TeX hyphenation patterns are used in FBReader. I have not noticed what FBReader does with actual (and soft) hypens, but I assume they line break as expected.

tompe
01-25-2008, 01:39 PM
I don't think this is a format issue, but rather a reader issue.

What has been done on printed text can indicate what the typographical rule is.


For example, FBReader does automatic hyphenation (http://www.fbreader.org/docs/languages.php#hyphenation) no matter what format it is reading: I have not noticed what FBReader does with actual (and soft) hypens, but I assume they line break as expected.

But it did it badly on a file containing only re-creation since it in one instance did:

re-cre-
ation

tompe
01-25-2008, 01:40 PM
Your example of "re-creation" v. "recreation" is a good example where the hyphen does change the meaning, but any native English speaker could immediately tell from the context which was meant in any particular sentence.


Yes, but the readability decreased and the purpose of typographical rule of thumbs is to increase readability. So that you can understand it is not argument against the rule.

HarryT
01-28-2008, 02:44 AM
Are you sure of that? It is hard to check since it is not so common. I checked some books now but could not fins any examples. So I am not convinced that you are right. But I will from now look for this. Actually i cannot remember ever having seen it.

I'm pretty sure that no eBook reader that I've seen breaks lines on hyphens, but that obviously doesn't mean that those that I haven't seen don't do so :).

wallcraft
01-28-2008, 03:28 AM
FBReader breaks on hyphens:
9652
tompe does not like the break after re-cre, but I'm not sure if this is something a layout editor would do or not. Interestingly, FBReader does not break recreation after re.
9653

HarryT
01-28-2008, 03:43 AM
Thanks, wallcraft. I briefly looked at FBReader when I had my iLiad, but didn't like it very much, so didn't spend too much time investigating it.

tompe
01-31-2008, 11:53 AM
Interestingly, FBReader does not break recreation after re.

That is probably just a rule about the number of characters to have before hyphen.

tompe
01-31-2008, 11:56 AM
I'm pretty sure that no eBook reader that I've seen breaks lines on hyphens, but that obviously doesn't mean that those that I haven't seen don't do so :).

But the question was if printed books of a certain quality level did it? You seemed to argue that it was not a typographical rule to not break a line at a hyphen. Since I have not seen books that do it and since some programs forbids it I still think it is a good typographical rule of thumb.

HarryT
01-31-2008, 12:08 PM
But the question was if printed books of a certain quality level did it? You seemed to argue that it was not a typographical rule to not break a line at a hyphen. Since I have not seen books that do it and since some programs forbids it I still think it is a good typographical rule of thumb.

Here's an example for you - a page scan of a page from my very good quality "Bleak House". There are actually two examples on this page: "gate-way" and "fire-engine" (both words which Dickens always spells with a hyphen). Both words are broken at the hyphen.

susanrubendall
05-11-2008, 08:58 PM
On the Kindle, to switch back and forth from full to left justification, press the font size key and then the letter "J." Justification options will appear at the bottom of the screen. You can choose full or left justification. Font size 3 allows about 48 characters per line. I think it's easier to read left justified.

JSWolf
05-23-2008, 04:24 AM
When you are used to reading full justified then going to left justified is awful to look at.

HarryT
05-23-2008, 08:00 AM
When you are used to reading full justified then going to left justified is awful to look at.

Doesn't that rather depend what it is that you're reading? You wouldn't want to read poetry fully-justified, I suspect.

Kruskal
05-23-2008, 08:43 AM
Doesn't that rather depend what it is that you're reading? You wouldn't want to read poetry fully-justified, I suspect.It also depends a lot on font size. The larger the font, the fewer characters per line and the crazier it can look to attempt to right-justify.