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Old 11-26-2012, 03:34 PM   #1
EldRick
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Kobo Reader Settings Tweaks

I've not been entirely satisfied with the granularity of the text controls on the Kobo, particularly on the Mini, where one would like to be able to have finer-gained control over the margins and line spacing, in order to balance the amount of text on the display against the readability.

Turns out that the issue is simply that the sliders don't offer fine enough control over some of the parameters: the text size, margins, and line spacing.

This is typical arrogant programmer thinking, IMHO, where the coder presumes to know how the users want to use the product.

In any case, it turns out that there are workaround for the issue: one can edit a text configuration file on the Kobo, and get finer control of the desired layout.

To do this, plug the Kobo into a USB port, and set your computer to show hidden files. You will find a directory .kobo stored on the device.

Locate the file in this directory called .kobo/Kobo/Kobo eReader.conf

MAKE A BACKUP COPY!

Then, using a text editor, open the file, and near the bottom of the file you will find these lines:
readingFontSize=23
.
.
.
readingLeftMargin=3
readingLineHeight=1.3
readingRightMargin=3

The meaning of each should be fairly obvious. I chose a left margin setting of 2, right margin = 1 (because I use Left Justification), and line spacing of 1.2. You can also adjust font size to suit yourself, with finer control than the slider provides.


Save the file, Power the reader Off and On again, and enjoy...
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Old 11-26-2012, 04:16 PM   #2
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Hey that is great to know. Save me setting the line height on each para in the epub.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:08 PM   #3
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The current firmware also stores these settings for each book in the database. If you adjust the settings while reading a book, the settings are stored in the content_settings table as well as the configuration file. If you don't adjust them, it uses the settings out of the file.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EldRick View Post
I've not been entirely satisfied with the granularity of the text controls on the Kobo, particularly on the Mini, where one would like to be able to have finer-gained control over the margins and line spacing, in order to balance the amount of text on the display against the readability.

Turns out that the issue is simply that the sliders don't offer fine enough control over some of the parameters: the text size, margins, and line spacing.

This is typical arrogant programmer thinking, IMHO, where the coder presumes to know how the users want to use the product.
Thanks for your tutorial on hacking the text controls, EldRick. I may go try it later. But do you have to tweak the Kobo devs' noses so? The users have to use their Kobos somehow; they have to vary their text settings somehow; there have to be some defaults. So the devs guessed wrong in your case. Why do you call this arrogance? Perhaps there are other users not speaking up for whom the existing controls work just fine.

Personally, I'm far more annoyed at the default settings of some ebooks with tiny fonts and wide margins. But for that there are calibre and Sigil.

Last edited by rwhe; 11-26-2012 at 07:04 PM. Reason: diction; spelling
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
...do you have to tweak the Kobo devs' noses so?
Sometimes you have to kick someone to get them to pay attention. Perhaps this will get the issue on their priority list.

Or not - one has had to do similar things to the Kindles for several years for nearly identical issues.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by EldRick View Post
Sometimes you have to kick someone to get them to pay attention. Perhaps this will get the issue on their priority list.

Or not - one has had to do similar things to the Kindles for several years for nearly identical issues.
That's not the point. Suppose you get the devs to program the UI so that the controls' gradation is fine enough for your tastes, or whatever. Someone else (RickEld?) might come along and start complaining that now there aren't big enough jumps among the possible settings.

The point is that you are not the only user, and the devs can't please everyone. Even a happy medium leaves a few people unhappy. "Kicking" someone over a matter of taste is probably counterproductive.

I say this not to curry favor with the devs, but as someone who's worked in the software industry since the 1990s, and has worked on a variety of other creative projects. It's often the case that when you tweak one aspect of a design to please one customer, you alienate another. No one likes everything.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:22 AM   #7
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Man, I just gotta say it... If the controls are given finer steps so there are more possibilities between + and - all it will do is allow those that want more control to have it, with the only cost for those not requiring it being the need to press the + or minus buttons more often to make a change. Not even that big a deal since you can touch to set approximate position on the sliders then use +/-. Seems like a no brainer to me, he's just asking to be able to cycle through the fonts by a point at a time instead of two points, etc.

Finer control will not yield a negative experience, just offer more options. What's the big deal. As far as tweaking anyone's nose at KOBO there are something like 70+ pages in the threads requesting firmware changes, maybe they ought to consider providing some more of those changes before the threads take over the net!

Last edited by TechniSol; 11-27-2012 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechniSol View Post
Finer control will not yield a negative experience, just offer more options. What's the big deal. As far as tweaking anyone's nose at KOBO there are something like 70+ pages in the threads requesting firmware changes, maybe they ought to consider providing some more of those changes before the threads take over the net!
Fair enough, when you put it that way, and I guess I agree. But I've known a lot of devs, and kicking them has usually been a way to get your requests ignored, which may be why EldRick says he's "had to do similar things to the Kindles for several years for nearly identical issues."
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:06 AM   #9
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Man, I just gotta say it... If the controls are given finer steps so there are more possibilities between + and - all it will do is allow those that want more control to have it, with the only cost for those not requiring it being the need to press the + or minus buttons more often to make a change. Not even that big a deal since you can touch to set approximate position on the sliders then use +/-. Seems like a no brainer to me, he's just asking to be able to cycle through the fonts by a point at a time instead of two points, etc.

Finer control will not yield a negative experience, just offer more options. What's the big deal. As far as tweaking anyone's nose at KOBO there are something like 70+ pages in the threads requesting firmware changes, maybe they ought to consider providing some more of those changes before the threads take over the net!
I'm with rwhe here. When I press the + button, I want the font BIGGER. Not a little jump of a point or two. having to press the + button half a dozen times or more will just irk me. Especially when font size changes from book to book and even when changing fonts.

In all, I want fewer choices, but the right choices for me.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:09 AM   #10
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Well you can actually drag the circle on the slider right and left to avoid hitting the + /- many times....
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:14 AM   #11
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In all, I want fewer choices, but the right choices for me.
Well, there you go. Ain't that what everybody wants?
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:01 PM   #12
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No. Having fewer choices is limiting. I want as many choices as I can get. I'm not afraid to make zero changes even though I have a million alternatives.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:52 PM   #13
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No. Having fewer choices is limiting. I want as many choices as I can get. I'm not afraid to make zero changes even though I have a million alternatives.
Yes, in addition to the war among people who like to have smaller and bigger gradations among controls, there is also a war among people who like to have more controls (power) and fewer controls (elegance).

There are many other religious wars as well. I won't bother to enumerate them, as I'm sure the factions will speak up eventually.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:55 PM   #14
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Having been a computer guy for more than 40 years, I guarantee that changing the limits and granularity of the margins and line spacing would require touching up maybe a half-dozen lines of code or tables where the variables are stored.

The incremental font sizes might require a bit of work, or might not, depending on the format of the base typefaces.

Last edited by EldRick; 11-27-2012 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:47 PM   #15
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I'm also sure it would be a pretty minor bit of maintenance -unless some bright enterprising young lad, Hrrrrrm, used the absolute minimum variable type or hacked a "structure" into a byte wide variable as two nibbles to save space or some epic bit of genius like that... been there, regretted that later.

The thing that's annoying about it is that the actual code controlled by the values in the file obviously has the ability to make use of the manual values set in the configuration file that was hacked. It's probably just a bit of GUI that would require tweaking unless you were attempting to build a "Kreskin" function to please Nogle...

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