Kindle Fire: Tips for Entering Text

The Kindle Fire is much more interactive than previous Kindle models and you often need to enter text, for example when you search your content libraries or the web, annotate text, or fill out web forms. However, entering text on a relatively small device can be overwhelming. This article explains techniques and tricks that will make entering and editing text much easier, enhancing your enjoyment of your Kindle Fire.

Using the Kindle Fire keyboard

When you touch a text entry field on the Kindle Fire, the onscreen keyboard appears automatically. Typing on the Kindle Fire keyboard (or any on-screen keyboard on a relatively small device) is an art that takes practice. Some prefer the method of hunting and pecking with a single index finger, while others achieve greater speed by holding the device with both hands and typing with both thumbs. In any case, the keyboard will be much larger and easier to use if you turn your Kindle on its side (its long horizontal dimension).

Note: If your screen doesn’t reorient when you turn your Kindle sideways, your screen is probably locked. To unlock it, tap on the gear-shaped Settings icon on the right side of the status bar at the top of the screen. Then tap on the Locked icon on the Quick Settings bar that appears.

The Kindle Fire customizes the keyboard according to the context in which it is displayed. For example, if you need to enter general text, you will see an alphabetic keyboard, while if a number is required, you will see a numeric keyboard.

If a character has alternate forms (such as an or, which has alternate forms with accents, umlauts, etc.) and you touch the key for about a second, the Kindle displays the alternate characters in a palette above the key. To enter one of these characters, slide your finger to the character you want to insert, and then lift your finger.

To type a number (or one of the punctuation characters that is not included in the top row) switch to the numeric and punctuation keyboard by touching 123 !? key code. (Touch the ABC key to return to the alphabetic keyboard.) Alternatively, you can type a number using the alphabetic keyboard by tapping one of the keys in the top row of letters for about a second and then lifting your finger.

Another way to enter a punctuation character (: / & and so on) is to touch the period (.) Key for about a second, slide your finger to one of the characters that appear in the pop-up palette, and then lift your finger.

Note that you can customize the way the keyboard works through the Kindle Fire general settings screen. (Tap the gear-shaped Settings icon on the right side of the status bar at the top of the screen. Then tap More).

Edit your typed text

To delete all the text you have typed in a text field using the keyboard, simply touch and hold the Backspace key.

But what if you’ve typed in a long string of characters only to find that you made a mistake near the beginning? Instead of repeatedly tapping the Backspace key to go back to error and then retype all the text, you can use the Kindle keyboard’s editing features, which are explained here.

Move the cursor and insert / delete: To edit at a particular position in the text you have written, touch that position. A flashing cursor will appear at the position you touched, with a marker below it. You can drag the marker to move the cursor forwards or backwards. Type Characters or Backspace inserts or deletes text at the cursor position.

Please select: To select text, touch a word for about a second, and in the pop-up menu that appears, touch Select word or Select all. The text will be highlighted and a marker will appear at each end. You can change the range of the selection by dragging a marker.

Cut or copy: To cut or copy the selected text, tap on it and from the pop-up menu choose Cut (to copy and delete the text) or Copy (to copy the text without deleting it). The copied text goes to the clipboard of the Kindle Fire.

Paste: If no text is selected, you can insert the contents of the Clipboard at the cursor position by touching the text field for about a second and then choosing Paste from the pop-up menu. If text has been selected, you can replace it with the contents of the Clipboard by tapping the selection and choosing Paste.

Note that the Clipboard works on all built-in Kindle Fire software, as well as installed applications. So, for example, if you copied text to the Clipboard while viewing a web page in the browser, you can paste it into a search field in a content library.

If the keyboard disappears at any time while editing text, simply tap inside the text field to restore it.