The Kindle DX is out and comes with in-built pdf support. My kindle dx review post has been getting lots of PDF related questions.
So here’s a detailed Kindle DX PDF FAQ, after much due diligence on my part. Its backed by the kindle dx liveblog review by Brent Newhall and Jeffrey Ritholtz.
Kindle DX PDF – Top 10 Things to Know
The Good – Kindle DX PDF Features.
- Native support i.e. just load a PDF and it works.
- PDFs are searchable and you can bookmark pages, except for PDFs that are images. The searched term is highlighted wherever its found.
- You can switch to landscape mode and most of the time the DX will show the PDF in a bigger, more readable size. You can go to the lower part of the page by pressing Next Page.
- PDFs have page numbers, and completion percentage, and ‘Go To Page’ feature.
The Bad – Kindle DX Missing PDF Features
- PDFs do not support Read To Me. If you do want a PDF read to you, you could convert it to kindle format and the converted file would support Read To Me.
- PDFs do not support changing font sizes, and they do not support zooming and panning. If landscape mode isn’t big enough, you’re stuck.
- The 5-way cursor doesn’t work in PDFs.
- PDFs do not support adding notes, they do not support highlighting. Pretty much rules out adding notes to textbooks.
- You cannot click on a link in a PDF.
Kindle DX PDF FAQ
Q1: What PDF support is included? What’s Not?
A1: Based on the Good List and the Bad List above, Kindle DX is great for reading PDFs, technical PDFs, computer programming books, and pretty much anything technical. PDFs look great. However, you can’t change font sizes and you can’t turn poorly scanned PDFs into good looking ones.
It does not support a Table of Contents (there’s an inelegant hack Q10). You can’t add notes or nighlights.
Q2: Where can I see actual photos of PDFs on the Kindle DX?
A2: At Brent Newhall’s Kindle DX PDF Page and at Jef’s tech blog. Here are two snippets (courtesy Brent, one showing tables and an image, and another with formulae) -
Kindle DX showing PDF with tables and image
And here’s one showing support for mathematical formulae -
Kindle DX PDF mathematical formula support
Q3: How fast are page-turns in PDFs?
A3: In Portrait mode, they’re slower. They’re reasonably fast in landscape mode.
The reason a lot of people are complaining about page turns is – When you first get your Kindle DX and load a bunch of files, those files are getting indexed and that slows down everything. So the page turns you see in the first few hours are slowed down due to indexing.
Check out this video for more –
Q4: What options do you get in the Menu when in a PDF ?
A4: Courtesy Brent Newhall’s liveblogging -
Pulling up a menu, I get the following entries available:
Turn Wireless Off
Shop in Kindle Store
Go to Beginning
Go to Page…
Search This Document
Add a Bookmark
The following entries are greyed out:
Table of Contents
Sync to Furthest Page Read
Add a Note or Highlight
Q5: Can I change font sizes?
A5: No. When you press Aa to go to the Font Size menu, the changing font sizes, changing number of words per line, and Text To Speech options are greyed out. Only the option to flip the screen orientation is available.
Q6: Are PDFs clubed together with other books, or do they have their own category?
A6: PDFs are actually clubbed under the ‘Personal Documents’ section. This separates them from books – However, as Kindle DX does not have a Folders feature there is no way to have just your PDF files show up, and no way to categorize them. You can use the sort feature to order them by criteria like when they were added.
Q7: Are page numbers on the Kindle DX same as in the PDF?
A7: Yes. There might be cases where someone has taken a textbook and scanned it and changed the page numbers in the PDF. In that case page numbers on the Kindle DX will match the PDF, and not the textbook.
Q8: What happens when I delete a PDF I load. Is it saved in the Archive?
A8: To the best of my understanding, No. Its treated like a personal document.
Q9: How do Computer Programming Books in PDF format look on the Kindle DX?
A9: Very good. If they are bad scans, then they obviously won’t look good. However good PDFs look great. Again, from the kindle forum -
I loaded one of my programming user manuals (400 pages long), also as PDF: the load time was not outrageously long, the text display was fine/quite readable.
Q10: Is there a workaround to the table of contents?
A10: Not exactly – However, go to the page that has the Table of Contents, and check what page a chapter starts on and ‘Go to Page’ to that page.
Q11: How do I see the second part of a PDF page in Landscape Mode?
A11: Press the ‘Next Page’ key. The 5-way cursor does NOT work.
Q12: How is the Kindle DX for Medical Journals?
A12: From the kindle forum -
1) medical journal articles (PDFs), even with complex tables, superscripts and multicolumn format look very good. Text is a tad on the small side for us older readers but still quite readable in portrait mode–which is the mode that most resembles reading the actual journal.
Your Kindle DX PDF Questions
Please let me know your questions and I’ll answer them best as I can. You can buy the Kindle DX at Amazon. There’s a 30 day return period and my detailed kindle dx review helps too.
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