How to Use a Kindle Paperwhite

You'll navigate your Paperwhite with taps, just like your phone

What to Know

  • Go to More (three lines) > Settings to do initial setup of Wi-Fi and more.
  • To move to the next page of a book, tap the center or right side of the screen; to go back, tap the left side.
  • Tap the top of the screen while reading a book to open the toolbar and adjust screen brightness, type, and more.

This article will show you how to use the touchscreen and controls on your Kindle Paperwhite. Instructions apply to all generations.

How Do I Start Using My Kindle Paperwhite?

Once you've set up your Kindle Paperwhite by linking it to your Amazon account, books you buy or download will appear on the Home screen. Before you start doing that, however, you may want to adjust some settings. Here's what to do.

  1. From the Home screen, select the menu icon. It looks like three horizontal lines.

    The menu icon on a Kindle Paperwhite
  2. In the menu that opens, you can choose how your library appears on the Home screen by choosing List View or Cover View (depending on which one is currently active). You have two options: You have two options: List View displays a simple list of books and documents, while Cover View shows the covers of books in your library when they're available.

    Books in the PDF or other formats may not have art to show in Cover View.

    The List View command and Cover and List Views on a Kindle Paperwhite
  3. If a book you've bought or borrowed isn't showing up on your Home screen, tap Sync and Check for Items to force your Paperwhite to download them.

    The "Sync and Check for Items" command on a Kindle Paperwhite
  4. Tap Settings in this menu to see more options.

    The Settings option on a Kindle Paperwhite
  5. In the Settings menu, you can connect to Wi-Fi, turn on Airplane Mode, manage a Family Library, and set parental controls for your Paperwhite.

    The Settings screen on a Kindle Paperwhite

How Do I Navigate on My Kindle Paperwhite?

Just like your phone, your main interactions with the Kindle Paperwhite will be through taps. For the most part, you'll just tap the menu item or object to select it. You can also do long presses to open additional options. But the instructions are a little different when you're reading a book.

How Do I Read Books on My Kindle Paperwhite?

Because the book interface on a Kindle prioritizes the pages, you won't see "Forward" or "Back" buttons to read. Instead, the Paperwhite screen has "zones" you tap to go different directions. Here's how it works:

Tap the center or right side of the screen to go to the next page.

The part of a Kindle Paperwhite you tap to move to the next page.

Use the far left of the screen to go back a page.

The part of a Kindle Paperwhite screen you tap to go back a page

Tap the lower-left corner to change how your Paperwhite shows your reading progress. It can show:

  • Your location in the book.
  • The time you'll take to finish the current chapter.
  • The time you'll take to finish the book.
  • None of these.

The Paperwhite calculates the "time remaining" figures based on how long you spend on each "page" while you read.

The "time remaining" section on a Kindle Paperwhite

Finally, tapping the top of the screen opens the toolbar.

The part of a Kindle Paperwhite screen you tap to open the toolbar

Opening the toolbar provides you with several reading and navigation options. For basic use, only a few of them are important. Tap the Home icon to return to your library.

The Home icon on a Kindle Paperwhite

The icon shaped like a lightbulb lets you adjust the brightness of your screen. Tap the plus and minus symbols to increase and decrease the brightness. You can also use the Max button next to the plus to instantly go to the highest setting.

The brightness icon and plus and minus emblems on a Kindle Paperwhite

The Aa icon in the second row lets you change several options for how print appears on your Kindle. Options include:

  • Font size: how large or small letters are.
  • Font type: the font style. You can choose from a variety of both serif and sans-serif fonts.
  • Line spacing: how close or far apart lines of text are.
  • Margins: how much space appears at either side of the text.
Display Settings on a Kindle Paperwhite

Your Paperwhite automatically remembers your reading progress, so you don't have to "save" or anything before you stop reading for the day. To mark a space to return to later, however, use the Bookmark icon.

To go back to your bookmark later, tap and hold the name/cover of the book on the Home screen, and then select View Bookmarks.

The Bookmark icon on a Kindle Paperwhite
  • How do I restart a Kindle Paperwhite?

    You can reboot your Paperwhite using two methods. The easiest is to hold the button at the bottom of the reader until a menu appears, and then select Restart. Otherwise, select the three-lined menu in the toolbar > Settings > Device Options > Restart.

  • How do I turn off a Kindle Paperwhite?

    Your Kindle never actually turns off except for an instant while it's rebooting. Instead, it enters a low-power mode to save the battery. You can manually turn off the screen by holding the bottom button and selecting Screen Off once the menu appears.

  • How do I reset a Kindle Paperwhite?

    To return your Kindle Paperwhite to factory settings, which will delete all of its contents and any changes you've made, select the three-lined menu > Settings > Menu > Reset Device. To force an unresponsive Kindle to restart, hold the Power button for about 20 seconds.

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