Using your Kindle as a notepad

Using your Kindle as a notepad

When people on the street ask me if I have a pen, I always want to say, “No, do you need a keyboard?  I have three of those.”  😉 

Why would I carry a pen?  I almost never use them.  It’s not like I write checks…I have a debit card.

I was pretty amused to see the obsolescence of the pen as a plot point in a recent Fringe episode.

I don’t even make notes with pen and paper.  I use my Kindle.

Yes, I mostly read on it, and it’s not as easy as typing on a laptop, but it does work.  I use it in a practical sense at work fairly often.

I’ve mentioned that before, and I’ve had some people ask me how to do it, so I thought I’d do a post to explain it.

You can’t create a document on your Kindle…you can add notes to existing documents.

You could just make a note in the book you are reading.  That’s how I started, and that works okay.   It’s just a little weird to remember which book it was.

There are some advantages to using a Kindle store book to make your notes.  The biggest advantage is that the notes are stored for you automatically at

That means you can copy and paste from that website right into an e-mail or a document, and that can be convenient. 

However, I’ve created a text document using Windows, and put that in the Documents folder on my Kindle using my USB cable.  I called it Notepad, but you could call it whatever you want.   I just add notes to that.  That makes them easy to find, and I delete them when I’m done.  The disadvantage is that I need to connect the Kindle to my computer if I need to actually copy the notes.  They’ll be in your MyClippings.txt file.    Most of the time, my notes are just for my use, so I don’t typically have to send them anywhere. 

One odd thing, though: I was making a note, and I edited it several times during a meeting.  Only one note showed on the Kindle, but MyClippings.txt had a separate note for every time I edited it.

How do you make the notes?

It’s easy…

Menu-Add a Note or Highlight

Then, you just type your note.

You can hit “enter” without ending the note.

To type numbers on a K3, you can either use the Sym key or use Alt and the top row of letters.

They go left to right, so

  • Alt+Q=1
  • Alt+W=2
  • Alt+E=3
  • Alt+R=4
  • Alt+T=5
  • Alt+Y=6
  • Alt+U=7
  • Alt+I=8
  • Alt+O=9
  • Alt+P=0

To put in symbols, like : / @ and so on, use the Sym key.

When the Sym button is pressed, you can continue to use the keyboard.  However, to finish up, you’ll have to hit the Sym key again. 

You’ll see the option either to Save the note or Save & Share.  If you Save & Share, your note can also go to Twitter or FaceBook, if you’ve set that up.

How do you find the note again?

Just open the book or file.  Then

Menu-View My Notes & Marks

You can edit it by hitting “enter”, delete it with delete key, and share it with Twitter or Facebook.  My notes are often longer than I can see easily, so I’ll hit enter, but just not actually edit it.

That’s about all there is to it.  If you send texts, you’ll probably find thumb-typing on the Kindle pretty easy.  I type quickly, but text embarrassingly slowly.  However, I do think making these notes is improving my texting speed…a collateral benefit.  😉

There are some utilities you can buy from the Kindle store to serve as a notepad.  These will have the advantage of backing up your notes to that site.  For some people, it might be worth a dollar to get the file on your Kindle easily and to have that backup.  You won’t open the document and see your notes immediately…it will be like notes in the text file I use.  You’ll still have to call up the note, either by selecting the superscript number or doing Menu-View My Notes & Marks.

Notepad Plus

Notepad for Kindle

Note to Self

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

16 Responses to “Using your Kindle as a notepad”

  1. draegi Says:

    I intensely dislike writing lengthy notes on kindle. It’s amazing for short notes, and continuous while reading notes, but when taking longer ones I invariably will press “menu” or “back” in a typing frenzy, losing all the note since I last “saved”. You can save by pressing save, but as you saw, that ends up creating loads of useless entries in the my clippings file from various parts in the notes life cycle. Finding the symbols is also really annoying. I’m afraid I’m lazy enough that I dont care that I’m not easily getting any of the millions of accents all my languages seem to need áéíóúàèìòùāēīōū, but welsh at least, and english to a certain degree, really needs apostrophes all over the place. And if i leave the symbol box open it makes it more likely ill press menu by mistake for some reason.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, draegi!

      Yep, I understand…it’s awkward, but it works for short things. It’s also not very friendly for symbols.

      I’m hoping that the microphone’s “future functionality” will include making verbal notes, ideally converted by text. That’s not so far out there: Amazon licenses Vocalizer from Nuance…the people who make Dragon.

  2. Tom Madsen Says:

    I think my DX wouldn’t allow me to type while in symbol mode. I had to exit out I believe. That was irritating!

  3. Magno Says:

    Dear Bufo,

    Notepad for Kindle is free on 🙂

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Magno!

      The only issue with getting it that way is that your notes wouldn’t be backed up by Amazon, since you wouldn’t have gotten it through the Kindle store. However, for people who don’t feel they need that…free is good. 🙂

  4. Joe Chiappetta Says:

    Thank you for the tip on making the note and then just going online to copy and paste it later. I will use this tip and probably even try to write a short story in this manner. I did something similar on a pocket pc for a sci-fi novel that I released earlier this year. Therefore, writing something on a Kindle, while unorthodox, seems to me an interesting challenge.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joe!

      For the note to go to that

      page, it does have to be made on a book purchased from the Kindle store. As mentioned, there are utilities you can buy to do that. But, if you started just from a text file you created, it would not go to the page.

      I love challenges like that! If you write a short story on your Kindle and put it in the store, let me know…it would be fun to share that information with my readers.

  5. Brent Jones Says:

    Nice tips. Thanks.

  6. eliza Says:

    Good article. You can also use to transfer your note to your just saves a lot of time.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Eliza!

      Thanks for mentioning that for my readers! I think I published that post about a year before was released. 🙂 That’s the nature of the internet, though…time doesn’t exactly exist in the same way. 😉

  7. myrtle Says:

    I need to write one letter and copy

  8. Bevis Says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the helpful article. Do you know if there’s a way to get notes ONTO your kindle from your pc? I have something that’s already underway but i’d like to take it with me and edit it on my kindle. I know i can transfer it there as a document, but that wouldn’t be editable. Any way to transfer it there as a note?

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