Keyboard shortcuts and how to disable indexing on Kindle 3.

Keyboard shortcuts and how to disable indexing on Kindle 3

My Kindle3 (Kindle Keyboard) recently started grinding to a halt every time I added a note or a highlight (a wait of up to a couple of minutes to save each note). A bit of digging showed that my firmware had recently updated to version 3.3 and this had re-enabled indexing.

Indexing is great for finding text within books. As any software coder will tell you, indexing isn’t easy to get right and there are always trade-offs. I’m an editor. I often make several thousand Kindle highlights and notes every month. That makes my usage pattern unusual enough that Amazon’s default settings make my Kindle unusable. I had previously solved this by disabling indexing. Unfortunately I’d forgotten how.

So here, as a reminder-to-self for the next time I need this, is how to disable indexing.

  1. Start at the HOME screen
  2. Bring up the search window (hit a letter key and then delete it)
  3. type in  ;debugOn   + ENTER You need to match the case and you need the symbol window OFF before you hit enter (the bit in the middle of the 5-way controller)
  4. type ~help + ENTER   to check you’ve activated debug mode.
  5. enter ‘disableIndexing
  6. enter ;debugOff
Not obvious, but works a treat.

Incidentally, there are a whole host of keyboard shortcuts you might not know about. Here’s a few:

  • ALT+SHIFT+H  Takes a screenshot (as a .gif file) and leaves in your ‘documents’ folder on the kindle
  • HOME->MENU->Settings->MENU->Restart  This gives a soft reset. Basically, if anything seems wonky, try this first. It’s like rebooting your PC.
  • ALT+SHIFT+M is naughty, so I won’t mention that.

There are loads more. Here’s a site that keeps a list. You can even download them to your Kindle. You might come across hacks that are downloaded applications. Be vary wary of these as they might become unstable with future firmware updates, and could be malicious.