How to use PDFs on Your Kindle

by Marie

How you can use PDF files on your Amazon Kindle device shows how to transfer, view and read these on your favorite e-ink ereader. Get all the advice and info you need to start.

Are you scratching your head a little and wondering how you can use your PDF files with your favorite Kindle device? I'm not surprised since I was lost on how you could do this too. But here I am sharing everything I have found out on using these popular documents including how to transfer or email them to your Amazon gadget, how to view and read them and also some extra information on what it's like to read a PDF on a basic e-ink screen.

I won't lie, this type of file is not the best format for a traditional e-ink ereader - they work much better with the full color Fire tablet devices. However they are a widespread and common file format that of course you want to use. So here's my tips on making things easier so you can read them with ease on your Amazon Kindle model.

Add PDFs onto a Kindle

If you have a PDF file that has no file protection on it, you just need to copy it over to your ereader or your Amazon device. You cannot place protected PDFs onto a Kindle because it will not accept these. All you really need to remember is to place your file into the folder of your device which is named "Documents."

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Here's How to Put a PDF File onto a Kindle Device

This Basic Method Should Work with Most Kindle Models from Amazon

Step 1) Plug the Kindle into your PC using the USB lead or cable that came with the device.

Step 2) Once you plug in your ereading device, it should appear as a separate drive on your PC, such as: F Drive, G Drive or another letter. My own Kindle normally displays as an F Drive. If you open up My Computer which is usually saved as an icon on your PC screen, you'll be able to view all the drives that are currently in use on your computer.

Step 3) Inside the main Kindle drive should be a folder called "documents." This area holds all your Kindle's reading material and it is where you need to put your PDF. You can copy (CTRL + C) and paste (CTRL + V) your PDF into the folder OR drag it over.

Step 4) When you're sure that the PDF has been fully loaded onto the Kindle, eject or safely remove the Kindle from your PC. Go to the home screen of your Kindle and the PDF file should now be visible. I hope you are finding this wizzles page to be useful because it has been written with care. You'll discover even more information below.

How do You Email Your PDFs to a Kindle?

Step 1) First you need to decide which email address you're going to use to send personal documents to your Kindle reader. Personally I have an online email account so I can send files to my ereader from any computer that has an Internet Browser.

a) Go to your local Amazon Kindle Store and click on the "Manage your Kindle" button which is usually shown top-right.

b) You'll need to go down the page until you come across the "Your Kindle approved e-mail list." Here you need to input the email address mentioned in Step 1 and select "Add Address"

c) If you intend to send PDF files with more than one email address, you'll need to repeat the process because your Kindle will only retrieve documents from approved emails.

Step 2) Now find the section called "Your Kindle(s)." You'll see an email address with the following format: [email protected] You need to take a note of this email because that is how you can send items to your device.

Step 3) Create a new email and attach a PDF file to it. Make sure to use an approved email account that you added back in step b. Send the email to your Kindle's email address that is in Step 2.

Step 4) If you've got WIFI enabled on your device, you will get the document on your Kindle for free. If you only have a 3G Kindle or if you're only getting a 3G signal then there will be a small charge for downloading the file.

Step 5) "Your Personal Document Charge Limit" on the "Manage Your Kindle" page is where you can limit any charges. You can set this amount to 0 so you only ever get your documents to download when there is  WIFI connection.

Viewing PDFs

What it is Like on an eInk Screen

Viewing PDFs on Your Amazon Device

Above are a couple of videos which show exactly what you can expect when you look at a PDF on a traditional e-ink screen. They also contain many tips on the best ways to read these documents on these devices too.

This type of file is usually made to be viewed on a large computer monitor or to be printed out onto a standard piece of paper. They are not normally designed to be read on a screen which is only 6 inches in size.

This means that your document will probably look very small on your Kindle and will be hard for you to read. As the video's show, you can zoom in just by pressing the AA button on your device - if you're using the older Keyboard version which is the one I still use.

The AA button will activate a menu which allows you to increase the document size, rotate the screen sideways (which normally helps with PDFs) and improve the contrast.

For sideways viewing on your reading device, try the fit-to-width option by pressing the AA button.

If you read lots of these documents, you might want to consider purchasing a color Fire tablet by Amazon since they work much better with that and you can also opt for a larger screen - nearly 9 inches. They have a built-in PDF viewer or you can get the free Adobe Acrobat app which is what I like to use.

Updated: 10/04/2017, Marie
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PDFs on a Kindle Comments

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Tolovaj on 06/13/2012

I don't have Kindle yet, but I certainly intend to use it for PDFs too. Thanks for very useful tutorial.

Marie on 01/25/2012

Thank you holistic_health

Holistic_Health on 07/19/2011

Great little tutorial. I like to use all the capabilities of my gadgets.

Marie on 06/03/2011

Thank you very much AJ and Susan52 :)

AJ on 06/03/2011

What a useful resource for people who use Kindle readers :)

Susan52 on 06/02/2011

I can even get PDF documents on my Kindle 1 now. Very convenient!

pkmcr on 06/01/2011

Really goos straightforward explanation of something I know a number of people have struggled with

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