Though Amazon relies on the AZW and MOBI file formats for any e-books delivered to Kindle devices, the entire line of models is also natively capable of supporting a variety of other file types. PDF documents, for example, can be opened and read on any Kindle -- and no additional conversion steps are necessary when creating the files, whether using Adobe or any other document management program.
Compatible File Formats
All Kindle models can open e-books in the AZW, PRC and MOBI file formats (provided the files were not saved with digital rights management protection) as well as basic TXT files. Some Kindle models also natively handle Microsoft Word documents, both DOC and DOCX, though if you send these types of files via email to your @Kindle.com address, Amazon may automatically convert them to Kindle format first. Additional supported file formats include PDF and HTML, as well as JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP images.
PDF Creation and Handling
Whether you are using the "Save As" feature, converting using Adobe software or printing to PDF with a general printer driver, PDFs destined for the Kindle require no special handling to make them device-accessible. Once you have created the general PDF file, simply transfer it the same way you transfer your e-books. Drag and drop files from your computer over a USB connection; sync using an e-book management program; or send to your @Kindle.com address so they're delivered via Whispernet.
PDF Tips and Limitations
While you won't likely experience any access issues opening a PDF on your Kindle, the universally compatible file format isn't necessarily the best choice for e-book reading. Since PDFs are exact representations of the printed document, you won't be able to adjust font sizes, make notes or modify margins. If you prefer more manipulation capabilities, convert the PDF to one of the two Kindle-native e-book formats -- AZW or MOBI -- so you have access to features like size adjustments, typeface modifications, note taking and highlighting.
Converting to AZW Instead
There are a number of viable PDF conversion options. Send the PDF to your @Kindle.com email address and add the word "Convert" in the email's subject line. Amazon will automatically convert the PDF to Kindle format before storing it in your Kindle Library and delivering it to the device. A comprehensive cross-platform e-book management program like Calibre, or an online conversion tool like Zamzar or Convert Files, can also knock out a PDF-to-AZW or MOBI conversion in mere seconds.
- File.org: AZW Extension
- Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Support: Transfer Content from Your Computer
- Amazon Kindle DX Support: Transferring, Downloading, and Sending Files to Kindle DX: Supported File Types
- Amazon Kindle Support: Transferring, Downloading, and Sending Files to Kindle 2nd Generation
- Amazon Support: Kindle Personal Documents Service
- Adobe Press: Kindle FAQ
- MacWorld: Cleaning Up an Ebook Library with Calibre
- Hong Kiat: E-Book Readers & Managers – Best Of
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