Lots of questions about the Kindle DX 2 and Kindle DX 2 PDF support capabilities – Well, it does a great job.
After the jump (the latter portion of this post) there are lots of photos and a detailed video illustrating Kindle DX 2 PDF support. The first section spells out what you can and can’t do with PDFs on the Kindle DX 2.
Kindle DX 2 PDF – Is the graphite Kindle DX good with PDFs?
While Kindle DX 2 PDF Support is not perfect it’s pretty good.
What you can’t do with PDFs on the Kindle DX 2
Here are some things you can’t do –
Change Font Size of PDFs on the Kindle DX 2 itself. If you change font size of a PDF on your PC that reflects when you transfer it to your Kindle DX 2.
Take Notes. You can convert a PDF to kindle format to be able to take Notes on it and highlight passages.
Use Text to Speech. This also works only after PDFs are converted to Kindle format.
It’s not a PC and there’s no Adobe PDF editing software so you aren’t going to be able to do magical things like change the PDF’s font size or edit it or create new PDFs.
Kindle DX 2 PDF Support – What you can do with PDFs on the Kindle DX 2
Kindle DX 2 PDF support includes –
Search the PDF.
Go to a particular Page. Click ‘Go To’ from the Menu, then enter Page Number and click on ‘Page’.
Zoom – There is support for ‘Fit to Page’, ‘Original Size’ and zooming to 150%, 200%, and 300%. Zoom is preserved as you flip through the pages (thankfully).
Pan around when you have zoomed a PDF. There are little guides at the bottom and right side that show where you are in the PDF page.
PDFs load quickly.
PDF page turns are quick.
Formatting of PDFs translates very well on to the Kindle DX 2 –
Table formatting is preserved.
Non English languages and embedded fonts work.
Images and Illustrations work.
Formulae show up fine.
Most Formatting shows up fine. Haven’t run into any examples yet where formatting isn’t preserved. There probably are some.
Scanned PDFs seem to work well – However, haven’t tried out enough to know for sure.
Things to do to make PDFs work better –
To get features like highlighting and text to speech and note-taking just convert the PDF to Kindle format using Calibre or another software.
Use the 150%, 200%, and 300% Zoom settings liberally.
Use landscape mode liberally.
If Kindle DX 2 is slow with PDFs it might be indexing books. You could wait or try re-starting.
Use Collections to categorize your PDFs. Then use ‘Collections’ view to see only these Collections and not all the individual PDFs on the Kindle’s Home Page.
Click through to the next part of the post for Photos and a Video.
Update: There’s a fix, thanks to Kindle Support via Elaine –
I’ve learned the fix!! I called Kindle support (which was awesome btw) and they suggested emailing the google book PDF file to my free.kindle.com email address. I did and minutes later received back a file, which I copied via USB and the images display PERFECTLY!
Had a comment from Elaine where she was running into problems viewing Google Books PDFs on her Kindle DX.
The problem in particular is –
None of the images in the PDFs are displaying correctly. Instead the Kindle DX is showing a message “Some elements on this page could not be displayed” instead of the images.
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) –
And here’s one showing support for mathematical formulae –
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 – [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsJuByx6DOo]
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.
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.