“Hi! I’m your Kindle’s G key!   I’m the g-ratest, most g-licious  voiced postalveolar affricate (not to mention voiced velar plosive) on this whole darn keyboard!  Gee-galloping-golly, let’s get going, G-guys and G-gals!”


Actually, the G key is one of the more interesting keys on your Kindle’s keyboard. Of course, you can use it when you type search items, like  Gerald Durrell.

When you are sorted by Author or Title on your homescreen, you can use it to jump to that part of the alphabet (type G, then click).

Alt+G (refresh)

If you combine it with the Alt key, it tells your Kindle to refresh the screen.  Sometimes, the screen doesn’t look quite right.  You may have missing or partially missing words.  Using Alt+G tells the Kindle to give you a “do over” on drawing that screen, and that may fix the problem, and give you a nice clear screen again.  It’s a good diagnostic.  If it doesn’t fix it, you may need to take additional action.

Alt+Shift+G (screengrab)

This is the most interesting one to me, although it’s also the geekiest (hmmm…coincidence?).  😉  It’s not of much value to the casual reader, but can be helpful for researchers.

Alt+Shift+G takes a picture of what is displayed on your Kindle screen and saves it for you.   It’s everything on the screen: it will include the location numbers, for example.  It’s similar to the PRT SC (Print Screen) button on your computer.

The “Shift” key is the Up Arrow

Where does it go?  On the Kindle 1, it’s on your SD card.  With the Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX, it’s in the documents folder.

If you are reading this on the Kindle, you can try it now.  Alt+Shift+G…you’ll probably see the screen redraw (like a flash, sort of).  It’s a little hard to do, but the flash will let you know it worked.

Later on, connect your Kindle to your computer using the included USB cord.  Look in the documents folder…it’s a gif (Graphic Interchange Format) file.  I’ve seen them named “screen_shot” something.

What can you do with it?

If you double-click it (either on your Kindle or after you drag it to your computer, if you want), you’ll see it.   It will depend on your computer and how you have it set up as to what program it uses.  It might be Microsoft Office Picture Manager, for example. 

From there, you may be able to “crop” it (trim off the top and bottom, for example, so you don’t see anything but the content part of the screen), export it to another format (like .bmp) and so on. 

This is a way to preserve a picture, a map, an error message…anything on the screen.  If you preserve text, it won’t be words you can edit at that point…it’s a picture of them.

Kindle 1 owners, here is a place where you can do something cool.  You can change your sleep mode picture (commonly referred to as the “screensaver”) without a “hack” (a modification of the Kindle software).  So, you could do a screengrab of the cover of the book, convert it to an appropriate format (600 x 800 jpg should work), and make it your sleep mode picture.  That way, when your book sleeps, your Kindle will show the cover.  🙂  Of course, you may not want people seeing what book you are reading.  😉  If you are like me, you may also be reading several books at once.

I’m going to hold off on the technique for making the screensaver…it’s several steps, and deserves its own post.  If you can’t wait until I get to it here, it is in my title (currently $1) in the Kindle store, Frequently Asked Kindle Questions.

Kindle 2 and Kindle DX users, it requires a “hack” to change your screensavers, which appears to violate your Terms of Service with Amazon.  I don’t recommend that.

So, that’s the G key…25 letters to go (just kidding).

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


2 Responses to “G-whiz!”

  1. Mario Says:

    Your next book should be just a list of all the shortcuts available in the Kindle. ‘G’..quite impressive.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks, Mario! I’m glad you liked it.

      It would be a pretty short book. 🙂 Hmmm…a short book of shortcuts: it might disappear altogether. 😉

      Maybe I’ll do a post just on that later, or add it to one of the other titles. They are available in some other books and websites about the Kindle. I don’t want to do just a list, though…I like to do more context.

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