Wednesday, March 11, 2009

KindleTips - Ultimate Kindle 2 Shortcuts and Tricks

You knew I couldn't leave well enough alone.  Over two weeks with the Kindle 2 eBook by, my GeekTonic Kindle 2 Review and my wife's Non-Geek Tonic Kindle 2 review are both complete so what to do?  Well I have actually been reading on the Kindle 2 quiet a bit, but I've also been doing the "geek"-thing and searching for as many keyboard shortcuts, tips, tricks and hacks that I could find.  I even went as far as trying random key-presses to see what I could dig up.  I found a lot of information for the Kindle 2, the sort of things that make this Geek Reader excited. 

So without further talk, here are the best shortcuts, tips, tricks and hacks I could find and confirm for the Kindle 2 - enjoy!

Power, Reset, Sleep and Wake:

  • Sleep/Wake - Slide and release the power button (on top of the K2)
  • Power Off - Slide and hold the power button for 4 seconds
  • Reset - Slide and hold the power button for 15 seconds

General Shortcuts:

  • Screen-shot - Alt+shift+G creates a screen-shot (.gif format) that goes to the Documents Folder of the Kindle 2 which you can view when connected to computer.
  • Refresh Display - ALT+G (if you notice any ghosting, try this shortcut) Also useful for refreshing web browsing page
  • Jump to page 1 - 5 on Home Screen - Press the number on keypad and then press 5-way Controller
  • Display the Time - Press MENU button
  • Display Free Memory - Press MENU button
  • Display Wireless Network (3G or 1X, if wireless is on) - Press MENU button
  • Play Minesweeper - Shift+ALT+M (from home page) (M or enter to mark; R to restart game; 5-way controller to move cursor)
  • Go to Amazon Kindle Store - alt-home
  • Jump to Web - Type in your search terms and move the 5-way controller to the right and then select “google”.
  • Search Wikipedia - Select "wikipedia" in search category
  • Search Content by Specific Author - Enter @author [author’s name] in the Kindle Store search bar
  • Alpha Search - To search for an author or title by first letter, click one letter on the keyboard and press the 5-way controller.  Then go immediately to the place on the list with the first author or title under that letter alphabetically, *but only if that match exists*. So if you have no Q's, you can't get to the R's that way.  This doesn't work for "Most Recent First" listings but seems to work for title or author sort and could be useful if you have a lot of books on your Kindle 2.
  • List Supported Search commands - Type @help in the search string to display other supported search commands like @dict, @url etc.
  • Search Kindle Store by Author - When in Kindle Store, type @author in searchbar to limit your search to author names
  • Show Diagnostic Data - From Settings Menu, enter 411
  • Show Current Radio Diagnostics -  From Settings Menu, enter 411 (constantly refreshes the data)
  • Search Amazon Kindle Store for Free Books - From Kindle Store search, type in -domain into the search field.


Entering Text - Symbol Shortcuts

  • Double Quotes " - Alt-9
  • Colon : - Alt-8
  • Comma , - Alt-7
  • Question Mark ? - Alt-6
  • Apostrophe ' - Alt-0


Book or Periodical Viewing:

  • Add or remove a bookmark - ALT+B.  Alternate Method: Press 5-way up/down to go to cursor mode, and then press 5-way controller twice.
  • Alt+shift+1-9 - changes the spacing and number of lines per page (default is 3)
  • List Sections of Periodical - Press the 5-way Enter Button
  • Newspaper View Summaries - To view summaries of the articles in a newspaper or magazine, while viewing the newspaper section list, press the 5-way controller to the right to highlight the number showing the number of articles in a section, then press the 5-way select button - This will bring up the list of articles in that section and you can navigate directly to any one you wish.  This little trick makes Newspaper reading much, much better!
  • Jump Quickly through Periodical - Move 5-way controller to right to go to next article or to the left to go to the previous article

Text-To-Speech Shortcuts:

  • Start or stop text-to-speech - Shift+SYM (shift key is the "up arrow")
  • Pause text-to-speech - Spacebar
  • Switch Between Male and Female Voices & Change Voice Speed - Alt + Aa keys & then toggle between settings with the 5 way controller
  • Start text-to-speech at specific point on a page - To begin the text-to-speech at a particular point on a page, move the cursor with your 5-way controller to the point just before you want the reading to begin.

Audio Controls:

  • Play or stop MP3 Audio - ALT+spacebar
  • Skip to the next audio track - ALT+F
  • Pause Audible Audiobook - Spacebar

Photo Viewer Controls:

The picture viewer can be activated by connecting your Kindle2 via USB cable to your PC and create “pictures” folder in Kindle USB disk. Create subfolders inside of that and copy the pictures. The subfolders will then become “book” names and the pictures will be pages. *.gif, *.jpg and *.png files all seem to work. Now you disconnect the USB cable and press Alt-Z in the home screen.  Your picture folders should now appear among the books now.

While you are viewing pictures in the Picture Viewer:

  • Toggle Actual Size - C
  • Toggle Full Screen - F (currently not working properly)
  • Zoom In  - Q
  • Zoom Out - W
  • Rotate - R
  • Reset Zoom Level - E
  • Pan Photo Larger Than Screen - Use 5-way controller to pan photo


Other Tips and Tricks:

  • Save All Words You've Looked-up in Dictionary - When you look a book up in the dictionary, highlight the word & the definition and it will save it to "My Clippings."   You can then track all of the words you've looked up.  My Clippings is accessible in a text file when your Kindle is tethered to your computer with the USB cable.  Here's a step-by-step guide on saving your looked-up words:
    • 1. Place the cursor over the word you want to look up. (or search for the word)
      2. A "mini definition" displays at the bottom of the screen.
      3. While the mini-definition is showing, press the "return" key.
      4. The more detailed definition from the dictionary will appear.
      5. Place your cursor at the beginning of the entry and click the 5-way controller.  Then move the cursor to the far-right point of what you want to save to "my clippings" and click the 5-way controller once more to highlight the definition.

  • Turn multiple pages at once - Hold down the next/prev page button or click them multiple times causes the Kindle 2 to turn several pages at once.  It's slow and not ideal, but does work.
  • Make your own custom screen-saver images - For those more technically inclined read this how-to on the mobileread forums
  • Delete Book from Kindle - Highlight the item you want to delete (navigate with 5-way button), then press left with the 5-way controller to bring up the Delete selection option.  Press select with 5-way controller to confirm deletion.

Kindle at the Bathtub

  • Read Kindle 2 Around Water - Use a Ziplock Bag to protect your Kindle 2 during bathtub reading - this is one my wife tried out (successfully) during her review of the Kindle 2.  Still, don't drop the darn thing in the water - it's just too expensive for that.


These tips and tricks were compiled from my experiences as well as the following locations:

Whew, that took a long time to try all of these out.  If I missed any shortcuts or tricks for the Kindle 2 you know of let me know in the comments.

More GeekTonic Coverage of the Kindle 2 eBook Reader:

GeekTonic Kindle 2 Review

Non-Geek Tonic Kindle 2 review from the recreational readers perspective

Kindle 2 Photos, Unboxing Video and 1st Impressions

Kindle 2 Text-To-Speech in Action - Video