The Kindle Fire: Tricks for Entering Text

The Kindle Fire is much more interactive than previous Kindle models, and it’s often necessary 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 somewhat daunting. This article explains techniques and tricks that will make it much easier to enter and edit text, enhancing your enjoyment of your Kindle Fire.

Using the Kindle Fire Keyboard

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

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

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

If a character has alternative forms (such as an o, which has alternative forms with a tilde, an umlaut, and so on), and if you touch the key for about a second, the Kindle displays the alternative 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 isn’t included on the top row) switch to the number and punctuation keyboard by tapping the 123!? key. (Tap the ABC key to return to the alphabetic keyboard.) Alternatively, you can type a number using the alphabetic keyboard by touching one of the keys on 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 on the popup palette, then lift your finger.

Note that you can customize the way the keyboard works through the Kindle Fire’s 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 text that you’ve typed into a text field using the keyboard, simply touch and hold the Backspace key.

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

Move cursor and insert/delete: To edit at a particular position in the text you’ve typed, tap that position. A blinking cursor will appear at the position you tapped, with a marker below it. You can drag the marker to move the cursor forward or backward. Typing characters or Backspace inserts or removes text at the position of the cursor.

Select: To select text, touch a word for about a second, and on the popup menu that appears tap Select Word or Select All. The text will be highlighted and a marker will appear at either end. You can change the range of the selection by dragging a marker.

Cut or copy: To cut or copy selected text, tap it and on the popup menu choose Cut (to copy and remove the text) or Copy (to copy the text without removing it). The copied text goes into the Kindle Fire’s Clipboard.

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

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

If the keyboard disappears at any time while you’re editing text, just tap within the text field to restore it.