How to use Kindle to work with PDFs

How to use Kindle to work with PDFs

Summary: Early on, Amazon integrated the ability to read PDF documents on Kindle, including an easy way to send them to Kindle devices and apps. Some who use Kindle technology don't know about or forget about this ability.

Kindle Fire HDX 7
Kindle Fire HDX 7 (Image: Amazon)

Shortly after Amazon released the first Kindle electronic book reader, it decided that owners would benefit from sending personal or business documents to them for reference. This utility was extended to the Kindle apps, available on most every mobile platform.

This is achieved by linking a unique email address to every Kindle, device or app, when it is first activated. Sending a document to the Kindle is as simple as sending an email to that address with the document, usually a PDF, attached. The new document appears in the library alongside ebooks.

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This is a superb way to use PDFs on the Kindle, especially for reference. The Kindle apps handle PDFs very well. It's particularly suited for use with work-related PDF documents.

What makes this so powerful is it is platform independent. There is a Kindle app for nearly every platform, mobile and desktop, which means you can view your PDFs no matter what you are using. Here’s how to make it work.

Send the PDF document to your Kindle or app installation

Manage your Kindle
Manage your Kindle and content.
Kindle email address
Find your Kindle email address.

When you register your Kindle installation it is assigned a unique email address specifically to send documents. This is ****** To find out what it is, go to and find the “Manage your content and devices” section. On the Your Devices tab you’ll find all of your devices and installations of the Kindle app. Tap the one you want to receive your PDF and note the email address.

Attach the PDF to an email to the Kindle

This works like any other email. Attach the PDF you want on the Kindle and send it to the email address noted in the last step.

Open the Kindle/app

New PDF on Kindle app

A few minutes after sending the email you will see the PDF in the Kindle library (see above). It should be perfectly captured and viewed just like any Kindle book. You can use bookmarks as in other books but you cannot highlight passages. Kindle gives a useful page view (see below) that you can swipe through and go directly to the desired page by tapping it.

Working with PDF Kindle

More than PDFs

There are many PDF tools available to work with documents, some of which are better than the Kindle method. The latter is free for Kindle users and works well no matter what device or platform you use. This makes it a handy (and simple) tool in the mobile professional’s tool kit.

As useful as this is for business purposes, the Kindle devices and apps can do more than PDFs. According to Amazon you can also send the following file types to Kindle:

  • Microsoft Word doc (DOC, DOCX)
  • HTML
  • RTF
  • Kindle format (MOBI, AZW)
  • GIF
  • PNG
  • BMP
  • PDF

Note this method sends the PDF to one instance of Kindle in your account. If you want it on multiple installations, simply email it separately to each one. If you prefer to use native Kindle format instead of PDF simply put "convert" in the subject line of the email to send it to Kindle and it will auto-convert it.


Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Apple, Smartphones, Tablets, Windows 8

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  • Kindle and Cloud Drive

    What I don't understand is why doesn't the Kindle Fire let you look at cloud documents. For example, if I just upload a document to my Cloud Drive, shouldn't I be able to see it when I go to "Docs > Cloud" on my Kindle? This business of e-mailing it to specific devices, thus storing it on that device's hard drive, seems clunky to me. What good is Cloud Drive for documents if I can't view the document in the cloud from my Kindle?
  • Of course you can

    You can indeed put things on your Google Drive. This method has the advantage of letting you use Kindle to read the documents.
  • Some better Ways to send PDFs to Kindles

    Amazon has a Windows desktop app "Send to Kindle". If you install this on a PC, then you can right click on one or more items in a File Explorer window (for file types that can be sent to kindle -- as listed above in article) -- there is then a context menu selection "Send to Kindle". Picking that will pop up a dialog within which you can select the kindle (or kindles) on your Amazon account to which you want to send the selected items. The size of the selected items cannot exceed 50 MB. This is a handy way to send PDFs from your PC to one or more kindles on your account in one fell swoop.

    Amazon recently moved this "Personal Documents" feature to Amazon Cloud Drive where these "Personal Documents" appear in the "My Send-to-Kindle Docs" folder on ACD. Merely by moving a PDF into this folder moves it into the Amazon Kindle "Personal Documents" environment which is accessible from all the kindles on your account. This method supports files up to 2 GB in size (as opposed to 50 MB using the above method). The size of the "My Send-to-Kindle Docs" folder cannot exceed 5 GB (and you apparently can't buy more) -- so some management of this folder's contents might be necessary.
  • Windows Explorer

    I prefer to attach my Kindle to my desk top and copy and paste files to the "Documents" folder. This method also lets me create sub-folders and organize my documents. Also important I do not have to be online to read them.

    I use the PDF reader from Abode. It is much better than the default Kindle PDF reader. Still, it is not as good as the PDF reader that comes with Windows 8.X. That reader supports digital ink so I can put notes in PDFs. I wish there was a reader for Kindle that supported digital ink.
  • so the kindle email

    Auto-decodes attachments into a file.
    What's the big deal?
  • Awesome Product!!

    Awesome gadget with 2.2GHz quad-core processor @ 379$ only!! check this out at amazon:
  • I love this feature!

    When you let the Send-to-Kindle App convert to Kindle format, it is so much better than using a PDF viewer. Sometimes the table-of-contents in books comes out a little weird. I've never had problems with anything else though. Using the Kindle reader is so much more streamlined that trying to read from a PDF viewer, IMO.
  • Kindle for Reader App

    Great Read. Does anyone here use for organizing book notes? Just wondered how anyone else was managing their notes?