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Moving Your Personal Documents to the Kindle

written by: Elton Gahr•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 8/14/2011

Reading other people's work is great, but for many having easy access to their own notes, papers and documents is more important. This makes the question of how to get a word doc from the computer to the Kindle a vital one. There are a number of solutions for this each with pros and cons.

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    While being able to read books on the Kindle is the primary value, there are other things that people may want to use the device to read. For some, those things that they read the most and spend the most time carrying around are personal. Whether these are papers for school, work or even just a journal, the question many ask is simply "How do I get a word doc from my computer to my Kindle 3?" While this isn’t difficult, there are a few different ways to do it. Furthermore, each has positives and negatives, which makes deciding which to use a bit more difficult.

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    Choosing the Format

    save as in word 

    The first difficulty you will run into when moving a doc file to the Kindle is that the Amazon Kindle doesn’t read doc files. This means that you need to know how you want to use it in order to know how to proceed. If you want to simply read the file on the Kindle, you’ll need to convert it. There are two options for this. The first is to save the file as is or convert the file to a txt or plain text file. Since the Kindle can then read the file, you should be able to read it. The advantage of this is that you will have all the functions of the Kindle, like text to speech, adjusting the font and more. The disadvantage is that plain text won’t have all the formatting, so pictures or tables will at best look very bad or mostly not show up at all.

    The second option is to save the file as a PDF. A PDF will keep any formatting, and can be read on the Kindle. As it is effectively a picture of the page, however, it won’t give you all of the kindle options. This is the format that it will arrive to your Kindle in if you email a doc file, and it should work if you simply want to read the file.

    If you don’t care if you can actually read the file on the Kindle, but simply want to be able to move the file from one place to another, that too is possible. Just make certain that you take the USB cord along with you so that you can move the file off the Kindle onto something that can read it once you are done.

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    Using Amazon Kindle Email

    Once you have decided which format you want to use in order to get the best functionality, the next step is to actually move the file. There are a few ways to do this. If you don’t want to have to bother to connect the device, you will want to set up your email for the Kindle. The advantage to this is that not only can you email doc files, it will be converted for you! This is Amazon's answer to the question "How do I get a word doc from my computer to my kindle 3 device?"

    The first time that you want to email a document you’ll need to go to your Amazon account and find the Kindle section. It should be under Digital Content. Here you will be able to find the email address. You will then need to find the approved e-mail list and add the email you want to send the document from.

    Once you have set this up, emailing documents to the device are very simple. Simply attach the document to the email and send it to the Kindle's address. Be aware that Amazon does charge for this service. The price isn’t high, but if you don’t have a reason for it to be wireless, it’s best to use one of the other methods.

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    Transfering Files Directly

    kindle pc documents directly 

    If you don’t like the idea of paying Amazon to move files, you can simply attach the Kindle to your computer using the USB. Once you have done this you will see the Kindle screen change to say USB mode. Then, go to the windows menu and choose Computer. You will see the Kindle listed along with the other drives. Open this and you should see a Documents folder. Put the file into this, and if the Kindle can read it then it should show up as soon as you unplug the device. If you’re not sure if a file will be read by the Kindle there is no harm in moving it and then erasing it if it does not work. Again, the easiest format is the txt file because virtually everything can read that.

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    Using Software

    convert doc If you have to move things to the Kindle a lot, it is well worth finding a program that will both convert and move the file. The most popular of these is Calibre. This program is designed to allow you to easily manage your ebook library across multiple devices. Once you have installed it, all you have to do to move a book or a doc file to the Kindle is to attach your device using the USB and then choose Add Books. Find the book or doc file you want added. Once you have added the file to the Calibre library, you will then need to choose the Send to Device button. This will convert the file into one that the Kindle can read and send it to the device. Wait a few seconds for the conversions to be done and you should have your doc file on the Kindle - generally in a format that is easier to read than a txt file.

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    Any of these three methods of moving a doc file to the Kindle 3 should be reasonably easy. For those transferring files often, Calibre or some other conversion program will save time. If you need to do so regularly while the Kindle isn’t attached to your computer, the email option will be most useful. For those who don’t mind a bit extra effort, or rarely move things, the direct transfer should work easily enough.


  • Source, author's own experience
  • images, screen captures from author's computer