So, youíve got a Kindle 3, and you want to read PDF files on it? Kindle 3 natively supports reading PDF files. They show in the list, and when you click on them, they open. But, somethingís missing.
Most PDF files werenít meant to be read on screens as small as Kindleís. Theyíre representations of real pages, which are usually larger than the Kindleís screen. So text comes up too small for comfortable reading. ďOKĒ you think to yourself, ďI donít need to see the whole page on the screen. Iíll just do what I do when reading on my PC - Iíll zoom in until the width of the page occupies the width of the screen. That will get rid of the margins, text size will be bigger, and Iíll just scroll down for the second part of the page.Ē Good plan. Except, you canít. When you press Aa button, in portrait mode you have only these options: fit-to-screen, 150%, 200%, 300%, actual size. Fit-to-screen shows the whole page on screen. 150% makes width of the page wider than width of the screen, so last word or so in every line is out of the screen. If your page has 2 columns, you might get away with it, but if itís only one... Panning right-left for every line read is a pain. 200% and 300% are worse - more panning. Actual size - well, letís just say itís too big.
If you rotate the screen, youíll have Fit-to-screen replaced with Fit-to-width. Thatís better. Now text is big enough to read comfortably, and you can just pan down once or twice per page, instead of right-left for every line. But... donít you think holding your Kindle in landscape orientation feels somewhat strange? Page turn buttons are hard to reach? If only you could use 130% zoom in portrait mode, everything wouldíve been just fine, and you wouldnít have to endure all this. Enter KindlePDFViewer.
KindlePDFViewer is what itís name implies - a program that opens and shows PDF files for Kindle 3, Kindle DX and Kindle 2.. And not only PDF - EPub, djvu, cbz and many others. And itís waaay better than built-in pdf viewer. And itís free.
To install it, you need to jailbreak your Kindle, if you havenít already. Instructions on how to do it are here:
After jailbreak, install launchpad. Instructions here:
Now, get the KindlePDFViewer here:
The above link points to the downloads page of kindlePDFViewer. Choose the newest official release. There might be newer unofficial builds, with more advanced options, but Joe Average should stick to the official release.
Installation is simple:
- Connect your Kindle to your PC with usb cable, and copy the file you just downloaded to your Kindle in folder ďcustomupdatesĒ.
- Disconnect the kindle from the PC.
- Press Shift-Shift-I (i.e. press Shift, then press Shift again, then press I. You always press one key at a time, and you need to press them quickly one after the other - you only have 0.7 sec to press all three keys).
- Wait about a min, to be sure that installation is completed.
- press Shift-Shift-Space (i.e., like above, press Shift, then press Shift again, then press Space. One key at a time, and quickly one after the other).
Now KindlePDFViewer is installed and you can start it by pressing Shift-P-D (i.e., like above, press Shift, then press P, then press D - one key at a time, and quickly one after the other).
KindlePDFViewer opens with a File Chooser - you move cursor with fiveway buttons, and you open the file cursor is on by pressing the fiveway center. Open some PDF file.
When viewing a file, you can press H to get a list of all shortcut keys. You get back to viewing the file by pressing Back.
Now, easy way to eliminate margins, and get the text to be the maximum size that would fit the width of Kindle screen.
- press A. This will display the whole page on screen.
- find the page with text (use buttons for turning pages) - first pages are usually the cover page and TOC - you want a normal page.
- press Shift-X (this time you do it like on a PC - press Shift and X simultaneously)
- lines will appear on the screen. Use fiveway buttons to line the longest line with the left edge of the text. Press fiveway center.
- new set of lines will appear. Use fiveway buttons to line the longest line with the right edge of the text. Press fiveway center. The area that you selected will be inverted for a second, and then return to normal.
KindlePDFViewer keeps different sets of settings for odd and even pages. You just set one of them. So, if you were on even page, use page turn buttons to go to odd page and vice versa. (Usually youíll just press page forward button). Do the previous steps on this page too.
Now press Shift-S (simultaneously). Voila! The width of text now occupies the width of the screen. Now you can just use page forward and page backward buttons to read comfortably.
The above described technique is technically called ďmodify page bboxĒ. You couldíve just pressed Shift-S before all these steps and let KindlePDFViewer do it automatically. That will rarely work well, because many PDF files are bad, and they incorrectly report bounding boxes. Donít be lazy, spend 30s and do it manually.You only need to do it once per book.
If you take a look at help screens, youíll see shortcuts for Z, Shift-Z and Alt-Z (set crop mode, reset crop, toggle crop mode). If you ask me, these are relics of the past - they were used before Shift-X was introduced. Ignore it and just use the technique described above. Itís a lot less hassle.
KindlePDFViewer is not only good for eliminating margins in PDFs. It has many other options, of which Iíll only mention support for Table of Contents, and support for many other file formats, including epub, djvu and cbz. It also supports mobi. So, if youíre like me and donít like collections, you can sort your books using normal folders.
This concludes this guide. I didnít intend it to be an in-depth guide of all the features of KindlePDFViewer. Instead, I wanted to try to better explain what I believe to be a typical
use case scenario to non-techy people, and raise their interest for this great program. Iím probably not competent enough to be writing guides, being a new user myself (Iíve been using KindlePDFViewer for only a couple of weeks), but Iím hoping to cover the problems that I had when starting to use it, that long time users tend to forget. Hopefully someone finds it useful.
If youíre interested in following the development progress of KindlePDFViewer, hereís the link to the developerís thread:
Disclaimer: All views and claims expressed in the text above represent just my personal opinion. Although I do believe them to be right or true, due to my incompetence the opposite is quite possible too.
Since I wrote this guide, I made my own fork of KindlePDFViewer, called Librerator
, which I prefer now. It is much more configurable and has more features compared to the mainstream KPV. If you want to try it out, you can find it here