Mobileread
PDF on Kindle 3 - An Unofficial Guide for Joe Average
#1  Kai771 09-10-2012, 07:28 PM
So, you’ve 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, something’s missing.

Most PDF files weren’t meant to be read on screens as small as Kindle’s. They’re representations of real pages, which are usually larger than the Kindle’s screen. So text comes up too small for comfortable reading. “OK” you think to yourself, “I don’t need to see the whole page on the screen. I’ll just do what I do when reading on my PC - I’ll 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 I’ll just scroll down for the second part of the page.” Good plan. Except, you can’t. 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 it’s only one... Panning right-left for every line read is a pain. 200% and 300% are worse - more panning. Actual size - well, let’s just say it’s too big.

If you rotate the screen, you’ll have Fit-to-screen replaced with Fit-to-width. That’s 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... don’t 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 would’ve been just fine, and you wouldn’t have to endure all this. Enter KindlePDFViewer.

KindlePDFViewer is what it’s 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 it’s waaay better than built-in pdf viewer. And it’s free.

To install it, you need to jailbreak your Kindle, if you haven’t already. Instructions on how to do it are here:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Kind...#Jail_break_JB

After jailbreak, install launchpad. Instructions here:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Kind...n#Launchpad_LP

Now, get the KindlePDFViewer here:
https://github.com/hwhw/kindlepdfviewer/downloads

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 “customupdates”.
- 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 you’ll 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 “modify page bbox”. You could’ve 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. Don’t 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, you’ll 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. It’s a lot less hassle.

KindlePDFViewer is not only good for eliminating margins in PDFs. It has many other options, of which I’ll 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 you’re like me and don’t like collections, you can sort your books using normal folders.

This concludes this guide. I didn’t 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. I’m probably not competent enough to be writing guides, being a new user myself (I’ve been using KindlePDFViewer for only a couple of weeks), but I’m 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 you’re interested in following the development progress of KindlePDFViewer, here’s the link to the developer’s thread:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=157047

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.

Update: 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.
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#2  geekmaster 09-10-2012, 08:14 PM
I added this to the K3 and HowTo index wikis. You can find them here:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=180113

And welcome to the "2600 Club"!
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#3  peter12345 09-11-2012, 08:06 AM
I like the FONT CHOICE, seems alright - though my very large Jung - Red Book pdf forces K3 to restart.

Other formats work too....I will try again just before work - I have another pdf Nietzsche And Economy which I will try again later. But I like it, though it does not like my Jung book which the K3 can read.

Though my Sony reader cannot read it, I had to convert it to text for my Sony READER to read it.
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#4  markom 09-20-2012, 08:26 PM
Quote peter12345
I like the FONT CHOICE, seems alright - though my very large Jung - Red Book pdf forces K3 to restart.

Other formats work too....I will try again just before work - I have another pdf Nietzsche And Economy which I will try again later. But I like it, though it does not like my Jung book which the K3 can read.

Though my Sony reader cannot read it, I had to convert it to text for my Sony READER to read it.
You can use k2pdfopt.

http://www.willus.com/k2pdfopt/

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=144711

I usually use it for cutting the borders of scanned pdf's and printing them in landscape mode with its wrap("reflow") function turned off i.e for original layout in scanned pdf.

If there is need for highlighting and search in k2pdfopt file, we should do quick OCR afterwards in Adobe Acrobat, Abbyy Finereader etc.

Beside k2pdfopt we can also accomplish similar or even better results by cropping firstly in Scan Tailor (takes about 20 minutes to crop tiff or jpeg images at exactly the text size, for average book) and then printing in Adobe Acrobat or free Adobe Viewer in Tile Mode(Poster mode) at 120x85 mm (landscape dimension of 6" readers) or even again in k2pdfopt if there were some problems with borders that k2pdfopt wouldn't solve as precise or as quickly as Scan Tailor.

For Scantaylor we should first export Pdf to Tiff, Png or Jpeg though, using Adobe Acrobat or any other application.

We can also use Briss or Pdf Scissors instead of Scan Tailor for quick cropping if we don't need extreme precision at cropping the borders around text on each and every page for maximum letter size in landscape mode.
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#5  willus 09-22-2012, 08:38 AM
You might want to cross post this in the PDF forum.
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#6  markom 09-22-2012, 10:27 AM
Quote Kai771
So, you’ve 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, something’s missing.

Most PDF files weren’t meant to be read on screens as small as Kindle’s. They’re representations of real pages, which are usually larger than the Kindle’s screen. So text comes up too small for comfortable reading. “OK” you think to yourself, “I don’t need to see the whole page on the screen. I’ll just do what I do when reading on my PC - I’ll 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 I’ll just scroll down for the second part of the page.” Good plan. Except, you can’t.
...
In Sony Prs T1, for example, we can do all that, but sometimes because of Pdf dimensions ratio we can not spread pages all the way in landscape mode (both, in zoom or fit-to-landscape mode).

I usually use above described methodes even if I can spread out Pdf completely, because it is quicker and easier to turn pages this way (no panning and we can use buttons) and there is no need of leaving the zoom and then getting into zoom again for annotations, drawings/handwritings, dictionary etc.

For those of us who use Abbyy Finereader 10 or 11 there is another way to crop pdf.

After Abbyy has completed its recognition we can save result as exact Pdf image with ocr in background or just pure ocr-ed text.

At that point all we need to do is to change dimensions of Pdf image from "original image size" to "custom".

To find out what custom dimensions should be, we can open saved Pdf image in some viewer, find exact width and hight of text (usually under Comments/measure/distance tool) and save Pdf in Abbyy with those dimensions.

Usually 95% of pages will be correctly cut, at exactly the text size, but some pages will be cut across the text.

To correct those pages we can open pdf in some pdf Editor i.e. Foxit Pdf Editor and manually move text on those pages a few millimeters left or right.
It takes just a couple of seconds per page with litle practice.

After that we can use k2pdfopt, virtual printer in Adobe(Acrobat or Viewer) or read Pdf as it is.
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#7  Doitsu 09-30-2012, 07:41 AM
KindlePDFViewer would be a nice alternative if the developers stopped duplicating features already provided by other, more stable third-party applications and focused on the one killer feature that everybody wants--PDF reflow. Instead, the PDF reflow feature request (as well as other suggestions by non-developers) are routinely ignored in very "linuxy" manner.
(The Duokan developers, who unfortunately don't believe in open source, have shown that it can be done.)
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#8  Kai771 11-01-2012, 09:00 AM
@Doitsu
As of v2012.10, kpdfviewer supports PDF and DJVU reflow. I thought you might want to check it out now .
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#9  Doitsu 11-02-2012, 01:16 PM
Quote Kai771
@Doitsu
As of v2012.10, kpdfviewer supports PDF and DJVU reflow. I thought you might want to check it out now .
Thanks for letting me know. I did check it out today. Unfortunately, as it is now, it's little more than a proof of concept, because at least on my K3, the reflow module was occasionally not immediately responding to page key presses and the option menu reacted to cursor key presses only after a delay of a couple of seconds, which made changing parameters a major PITA.
All in all, I got the impression that my K3 might be a bit underpowered for the KindlePDFViewer PDF reflow module.

For the time being, I'll stick with Duokan, which has none of these problems, but I'll keep an eye on KindlePDFViewer.
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#10  Kai771 11-03-2012, 08:20 PM
Admittedly, it is a bit slow. It doesn't use text extraction, it uses k2pdfopt for reflow, which uses bitmap manipulation, and that requires a lot of processing power. As a result, it is supposed to better handle complicated layouts and be more true to the original. It will also work on scaned books. It does take 10 or so seconds to display the first page, and every change of parameters (F key) also causes it to freeze for 10 or so seconds, because the author decided to show the changes live, instead after you close the options menu, and every change needs the page to be processed again. That's why it is not good for browsing, too.

However, for actual reading, when you spend more than 20 seconds on page, the caching kicks in, and next pages are processed while you're reading the current one, so you won't notice freezes.

I'm not saying that Duokan is not better suited to your needs (especially if you read novels or similar not demanding layouts). I'm saying that kpdfviewer's reflow is quite usable (although a bit slow to start and configure).
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