Kindle Fire HDX: Working with PDFs

Kindle Fire HDX: Working with PDFs

Summary: Amazon has included some features in its latest tablets that make it good for the enterprise. One of the best is outstanding support for working with PDFs.

TOPICS: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets

Many companies have adopted PDF in a big way, as it makes it hard for casual users to modify documents. There are lots of ways on every platform to work with PDF documents, and Amazon has included a very good one with the Kindle Fire HDX.

Downloaded PDF in carousel
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Tablets are tailor-made for working with PDFs, especially when the software is good. That’s the case with the PDF viewer on the Kindle Fire HDX, both the 7 and 8.9 inch models.

This is especially true when receiving PDF files via email. Tapping the PDF attachment icon in the email downloads it, and tapping it once downloaded opens it in the viewer.

Thumbnail preview pane
(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The first page of the document is in the upper part of the window, with a thumbnail preview of all pages in a horizontally scrolling strip at the bottom (see image above). The viewer automatically zooms the page to fit the width of the screen, in either portrait or landscape orientation.

Page autofit to screen
Page fit to screen (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

If the main page display is too small, especially on the Kindle Fire HDX 7, simply pinch and zoom it to a comfortable level. This is a fluid operation, as is panning around the page by dragging it around. The high resolution screen on the Kindle Fire HDX provides good clarity for zoomed pages.

Page zoomed in
Zoomed in by pinching (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

To make the thumbnail preview table of contents pane disappear, simply tap anywhere on the page. To make it reappear, tap again. You can instantly go to any page of the PDF by tapping the appropriate thumbnail in the lower pane. Dragging the preview strip or the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the preview pane allows moving rapidly in large documents. You can also swipe left and right on the currently displayed page to scroll one page at a time through the document.

There are good methods for working with PDFs on every platform, but using the PDF viewer on the Kindle Fire HDX is one of the best methods I’ve seen on any of them. It is lightning fast, even with PDF documents containing hundreds of pages. It runs just as fluidly in large documents as it does one pagers.

The PDF viewer comes preinstalled with the Kindle Fire HDX, and has become my preferred method of using PDF documents for reference. There are no editing capabilites, but I seldom need them.

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Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Tablets

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  • When you said working

    With PDFs, I assumed you'd be talking about being able to annotate, markup, etc. I didn't realize you'd be talking about just viewing them.
  • On HD 8.9

    I found the viewer here really lacking. I installed the Abode one from the store and have been much happier with it. I use a lot of PDFs on my Kindle. At this point 100+. I liked the way the Abode one let me organize them in folders by subject and not just have them spread all over the Carousel. There are lots of other reasons as well.

    I still like the reader that comes with Windows 8.X the best. It lets me take notes and highlight things directly on the PDF with my digitizing pen. I wonder how long it will take Abode to have this ability?
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  • ToC?

    While I like the feel and performance of this built-in reader, I do have one major gripe which you seem to have glossed right over without a mention: I cannot find (so far at least) a way to display the built in Table Of Contents which many large PDFs have. Yeah, a page by page graphical preview table is nice and all, but in a PDF that's 100+ pages for example, being able to open the table of contents and click straight to "Chapter 25: That thing you were looking for" is basically a necessity. Is there a way to get this that I simply overlooked?