Reading PDF files on Kindle devices is one of the best things you can do with your Amazon ereader - but the process is quite fiddly, which is why we've drawn up a guide on how to do it.
If you flesh out your Kindle with PDF documents you can read your own books that aren't on the Amazon Kindle store, as well as work documents, design sheets, university reading materials and more - though, don't forget, Kindle screens only show things in black and white
The process of converting PDF to Kindle devices is a tiny bit fiddly to begin with, but once you've got your head around it, it's pretty easy to do in the future. Plus, this method actually works for other document types including Word documents, JPEGs, PINGs and GIFs.
Below, you'll find a quick-guide on getting PDFs on Amazon Kindle ereaders, but below that, we'll go into detail on each of the stages to hold your hand through the process. We've also got guides on connecting your Kindle to the internet, and also how to buy, download and lend Kindle books if you don't need PDFs.
PDF to Kindle: the basics
- Ensure your file is a PDF
- Find your Kindle email address
- Get your personal email address approved
- Send your PDF file to your Kindle
- Sync your Kindle
PDF to Kindle: in depth
Various Kindle formats
Before we begin, you should make sure the file you're trying to convert is compatible with the Kindle - so it should be a PDF or .doc, .html or similar - we'll list the full compatibility list to the side, courtesy of Amazon.
If you're not sure the file format of your file, right click it on your computer and select 'Properties' - here you'll see the type, so you can see if it's right or not.
The compatible file types cover most formats you're likely using, but if you find the document you want on your Kindle isn't compatible, there are a few ways to convert it. In the program it typically opens into, like Microsoft Word for .doc files or an image editing apps for .PNG ones, select 'Save As', and in the drop-down menu, see if any of the compatible options are available.
If not, you could try a PDF converter tool. There are plenty of great paid options and a few good free ones too, so check out our list of the best PDF editors for guidance.
Find your Kindle email address
To get a PDF on a Kindle, you're going to need to know your Kindle's email address. If that last clause makes no sense, don't worry - not many people know, but your Kindle has its own bespoke email address, using which you can send files to it.
You'll need to look up yours, as you're not told when you set up your Kindle, but it's little hassle. You'll need to head over to the Amazon website and sign in first. Just note, the following steps are slightly different in different regions' versions of Amazon - we'll talk you through the US and UK guide, but if you're in another country, you might have to hunt around for options a little more.
In the US, to the top-right of the main Amazon screen should be an option saying 'Account and Lists'. Click this, then select 'Your devices and content', which was in the bottom-left for us. Now click 'Manage Devices'.
In the UK, the 'Account and Lists' option should still be clicked to the top-right of the Amazon home page. From here, scroll past the 'Your Account' settings to the 'Digital content and devices' block to the left. In here, click 'Content and devices', and you'll be in the same place as our US counterparts.
Now, you should see a list of the books you have assigned to your Kindle account - but that's not what we're looking for right now. Above this list, in a toolbar should be some options - you'll currently be on 'Content', which should be followed by 'Devices', 'Preferences' and 'Privacy Settings'. Click on 'Devices', and in the next menu, select the option for the Kindle you want the document on.
You'll be brought to a Device Summary page which tells you your Kindle email as well as the type of device it is, and a few other things. What you'll need here is your Kindle email address - save this somewhere you'll be able to easily find it. We'd recommend saving it as a contact in your email app of choice, so you can email it at ease.
Approve your email address
Not just anyone can email your Kindle and have their PDFs accessible on the device - though you have your Kindle's email address, you now need to approve your personal one, so that when the Kindle receives your PDF, it knows to download this.
Make sure the email you approve is the one you're planning to send documents to your Kindle from otherwise it won't work.
To approve your email address follow the steps as for finding your Kindle email address but instead of selecting 'Devices' in the top bar, click 'Preferences'.
Scroll down this list until you find 'Personal Document Settings', and select this option so it expands into more options. From here, scroll down until you find 'Approved Personal Document E-mail List'. This list will show people who can email stuff to your Kindle, and obviously you want to be on this VIP list.
Below the emails is an option to 'Add a new approved e-mail address', which you should, of course, select. Enter your email address and click 'Add address' to get yourself approved. If you have multiple email addresses that you could send PDFs to your Kindle from, you should add them all now.
Send your PDF to your Kindle
Now the hard work is out the way, simply head over to your email client of choice, attach the file to an email, and send the email to your Kindle email address.
You're able to send multiple documents at once, so if you have loads of files you want on your Kindle, you don't need to send separate emails.
It's worth pointing out, that if you're sending over a PDF file, you can actually ask Amazon to automatically convert the file into a Kindle one, which lets you annotate the sections and change font size. Simply put the word 'convert' as the subject line and the rest will be handled for you.
Once you've sent the file to your Kindle, you should be able to access the file straight away. If it doesn't appear immediately firstly make sure the email has definitely sent, and that your Kindle is connected to the internet. If both of those are the case, you can Sync your Kindle which will likely help. Do this by going to the Kindle home page, pressing 'settings' and then 'Sync Your Kindle'.