Using Your Kindle as a Personal Notepad

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Editor’s Note: As you may have noticed, this post was written during a period when the only Kindle you could buy was an e-ink Kindle with a keyboard. I put together the Notepad, a simple document to reside on the Kindle, that would allow the reader to take notes that would not be embedded in a book they were currently reading. Since that time, many, many new devices have been released, and readers today have lots of alternatives for notetaking. On the newer touchscreen devices like the Kindle Fire, the best way to approach the issue is to search the Amazon App Store for a notetaking app. We like the Notepad Pro, but we like the free version almost as much.

You can get the app here: Notepad Pro

For the older and newer e-ink models, there is a great notetaking app that also provides calendar support.

You can get the app here: Notepad Plus

But please, in the interests of historical accuracy, what follows is the post that I originally wrote at the dawn of the e-reader revolution, when checking your email using the Kindle’s experimental browser, linked to the original Whispernet service that shipped with the original Kindles, was about the coolest thing you could do with technology. Thanks for visiting EduKindle!

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If you are like me, your pocket is full of little notes and reminders written on tiny, crumpled slips of paper. With the full keyboard, I always wondered why the Kindle did not provide for personal notetaking as part of the basic set up.

In order to solve my problem, I thought I would just convert and upload a singe page document and then keep my notes on the Kindle. Then I could view them in “My Notes and Marks” from the document menu using the scroll bar clicker, or save them to my computer through the “My Clippings” file that is kept as a text file on the Kindle itself.

Next, interested as I am in how documents can be properly formatted for the Kindle, or “Kindle Optimized,” I decided to create a document that could help keep my notes organized. What I came up with is the “notepad” document. Once it is loaded on your Kindle, this is what the screen will look like:

On this one, I have made one note, and you can see the little “note” icon next to the Note #1 text highlighted. When you click the menu and select “My Notes and Marks,” you will see the notes listed in order. You can also view (and edit) the note by selecting it with the scroll wheel; if you access your note this way, you will also be given the option to delete it.

Of course, editing or deleting a note will not affect the text of the Notepad document itself.

Nifty, huh? I have included this document for free download on the Downloads page.

Enjoy!

  15 comments for “Using Your Kindle as a Personal Notepad

  1. December 14, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I now have the Personal Notepad on my Kindle. It is fantastic! You truly designed a program that is both simple to use and yet so practical. Thank you!
    The only other thing that I am seeking is a type of calender on which I might keep track of assignments or appointments – maybe just simple pages labeled by month and providing the opportunity to list the dates and duties as needed. Any idea where such a program might be found?
    Thanks again – Mary

  2. December 20, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    What a great idea! Thanks for posting this.

  3. Cobin
    January 15, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Just wondered if anyone else has tried creating one of the MobiPocket “Quiz” or other “database” books via the MobiPocket Creator and downloaded them to the Kindle. I tried it myself, but the “.prc” file results don’t seem to have the correct linkage capability — i.e. they don’t work.

    Anyway, just wondered.
    Thanks

  4. Venice
    December 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    This is wonderful! Is there a way to send your notes back to your computer? I sent it to my Kindle using my kindle email address, but how to you send a document that’s you’ve filled with data from your Kindle back to your regular computer address? Thanks so much for sharing this!

  5. willd
    December 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Venice, you would have to connect the Kindle to your computer with the USB cord and move the file manually. Great idea about sending that Notepad file directly from the Kindle; I will have to look into that!

  6. Venice
    December 12, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Thanks for your reply. I discovered this, too, and love this feature! This is like having “notepad” on your Kindle. You just delete the “bookmarks” and leave the notes you took. This is great if you’re a writer with hours on an airplane, needing to jot down your thoughts for a possible article. Maybe some time in the future they’ll have Microsoft Word on Kindle, but for now this feature is wonderful.

  7. Al
    January 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I would like the capability to see the notes without going to the notes and marks page. We have the capability to write them up, but then it is a pain to get back the messages. Since I also have an iPod Touch, I find it a lot easier to just type into a notebook page. On the other hand this notebook page here at least keeps all the notes in one place that don’t actually belong in a book. I had implemented something similar a long time ago but it just had the title “Notes” and 1. 2. 3. vertically down the left side. It was just a simple txt file and I loaded it via USB. This was before collections and I had not thought to save that note document in many of the collections.

  8. January 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Sigh! These comments explain why I’m sticking with my Kindle 1. Even with the Kindle 3, doing anything other that reading books and doing crossword puzzles is just too darn clumsy. Emails and USB aren’t the way to move data around on a WiFi, cellular data-equipped gadget.

    I love to read on my Kindle, but for doing anything else, including note taking, my iPod touch beats the socks off it. There are numerous note taking apps for the iPhone/touch that instantly auto-synch notes, via WiFi or cellular, with Macs and PCs. They do so quickly and easily enough, you could use them for instant messaging. A hubby dropping by the store, for instance, could use his iPhone to check the shopping list his wife has created on her laptop. There’s nothing like remotely like that for the Kindle. Imagine how handy that would be on a cellular Kindle.

    Amazon needs to realize the enormous potential for their little gadget. The Kindle isn’t just a ebook reader. It is a coat-pocketable computer whose only major deficiency is a slowly refreshing screen, and even that is a plus. Put a daily calendar or to-do list on a Kindle, and it could lie open in front of you all without consuming a bit of battery power. Try and do that with an iPad!

    On yes, and the other major deficiency is that dreadful keyboard. Amazon could fix that with a WiFi chip that also does Bluetooth. Taking notes, including notes about books, would be infinitely better if Kindles could be paired with a Bluetooth keyboard or one of the new mini-Bluetooth keyboards. It’d make note taking inside a book much easier.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of Untangling Tolkien

  9. Kindle academic
    February 17, 2011 at 4:01 am

    Thanks for creating this it works well! I think there is a place for using a Kindle over an iPhone or iPod Touch for notes. Here are a few from experience:

    1. If you use an iPhone people think you are checking email when you are taking notes.
    2. The battery life is exceptional on the Kindle – you just can’t rely on an iPhone for a day of notes. It will run out of juice.
    3. In a room with daylight the eyes quickly ache on the iPhone and turning up the brightness uses even more battery.
    4. The Kindle keypad while not as quick as the iPhone and no predicative text is faster with shortcuts: alt + top row
    for numbers etc.

    The only negative is that sometimes you can close this Notepad file without saving notes so you have to be mindful of this when pressing buttons. We’re all used to autosave nowadays!

  10. Bill Gibson, II
    July 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    If you have a WordPress site, you could set it up to post via email. You could then type your notes and send them to post on your WP site. WP has some shortcodes e.g. [category cat1, cat2, etc.] that will categorize your email postings. Except for the OCR that Evernote runs on uploaded images, emailing to WP is comparable. *This would mean that the notes would be available on whatever device with which you connect.

    *I don’t have a Kindle, so I don’t know how easily/quickly/accurately you can type on the keyboard, but it might be nice for taking notes in class.

  11. robi
    November 26, 2011 at 12:46 am

    the note pad available for the kindle touch, when is going to be available

  12. Jesse Cloud
    January 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Help! Just bought notepad and downloaded to my Kindle fire. When the notepad is shown on the bookcase, the menu icon shows, but when I open it, I see location but not menu. Any ideas how to proceed?
    Thanks!

  13. willd
    January 17, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Hi Jessie, and thanks for the feedback. We did not design our notepad for the Fire. I think Amazon can issue a refund for the purchase if you contact them. So sorry for the inconvenience!

  14. Ammiel
    May 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Willd!
    I never had a Kindle and when I was about to buy one yesterday I knew they don’t come with a notepad feature. I dind’t purchase it because half the reason why I want it is to have a notepad on me. Now I bumped into your website and found that you seemed to have solved it. Thanks god!
    I was considering to buy whether the Kindle Keyboard or the Kindle 3. Does this feature of yours work in any of those? I am outside of the US, would that be a problem? I read that some apps are not available abroad.

    Thanks a lot!
    Ammiel.

  15. Will DeLamater
    June 22, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Hi Ammiel, the notepad feature that I designed was for the original e-ink Kindle with a keyboard. I think you can now find many notepad-like apps for the Kindle that do more than my solutions did for the older Kindles. Thanks so much for your comment and request!

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