Reducing the Friction in Transferring Word Documents to Kindle

Word Send to Kindle Option Makes Document Transfer Easy

As you might know, the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook is available for Amazon Kindle. We don’t sell many copies on Kindle. The price is the same (a regulation imposed by Amazon), but it’s easier to download updates for the EPUB/PDF version. Amazon’s publishing mechanisms are built for novels that don’t change often. They don’t cope well with a book like Office 365 for IT Pros when updates appear monthly. Another fact is that it’s possible to transfer the EPUB file to a Kindle, meaning that people who subscribe to the EPUB/PDF version get all the benefits of easy updates while being able to access the content on Kindle when needed.

In any case, since 2016 we have accumulated lots of experience dealing with the Kindle model as we publish monthly updates. Our preferred tool is Calibre eBook management, which does a nice job of turning Word documents into EPUB format. We then update the EPUB file to Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform to generate a file that Amazon publishes in its store.

Sending Word Documents to Kindle

All of which means that Microsoft’s announcement about a new Send to Kindle feature in Word in MC519245 (last updated 21 Mar 2023, Microsoft 365 roadmap item 117542) attracted my attention. The plan is to make the feature available in Word desktop for Windows and Mac (subscription version) and Word Online. The documentation says that the web version is “coming.” It is available in the Current Channel (Preview) of the Windows app (Figure 1). I tested the feature using version 2304 (build 16327.20200).

Word's Send documents to Kindle option

Word Send to Kindle
Figure 1: Word’s Send documents to Kindle option

Transferring Word Documents to an Amazon Account

To send documents to Kindle, you must have an Amazon account that’s linked to a Kindle device. Documents sent to Kindle become available for download to any device registered to the Amazon account. Dating from 2011, my Kindle is antique at this stage. However, if documents sent from Word worked on this device, they will work on any Kindle.

When you send a document, you sign into the Amazon account and decide which of two formats to use (Figure 2):

Options to send Word documents to Kindle
Figure 2: Options to send Word documents to Kindle

Here’s how Microsoft’s support documentation describes the two options:

Kindle book: This formatting style enables adjustable font sizes and page layouts. It also supports handwritten sticky notes with Kindle Scribe. It works well for storing documents with simple text formatting for better readability on smaller screens.

Word document format: This formatting style preserves the page layouts and text formatting of your Word document. Your content will display in Kindle as it would appear when printed (except tracked changes and comments, which will not appear).

After selecting the format to use, Word sends the document to an Amazon service to prepare the content for viewing on Kindle.

Reading Word Documents on Kindle

After a while, the file synchronizes with the Kindle and is available for reading. Testing with a few trial documents worked well, and then I decided to send the full current version of Office 365 for IT Pros (Figure 3). The source Word document is a 33.1MB file spanning 1,380 pages complete with many tables, embedded web links, graphics, and a table of contents. We do not use footnotes. Interestingly, selecting the Kindle format created a 33.3MB file, very close to the size of the Word document, while the Word format (like a printed document) option generated a 28.4MB PDF file.

The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook on a very old Kindle

Word Send to Kindle
Figure 3: The Office 365 for IT Pros eBook on a very old Kindle

I first tried the Kindle book format. This worked except for graphics. Everything else was fine, including the formatting of PowerShell code examples. As expected, the formatted PDF file looks like a printed document and preserves graphics and other formatting. It’s been possible to transfer PDFs to Kindle for several years and it appears that Word uses a modified version of these techniques to convert to PDF and copy the file to Amazon.

Word Send to Kindle is Simple Inbuilt Transfer

The value of Word’s Send documents to Kindle feature is that it’s built into the app and makes it easier for people to transfer documents to Amazon for synchronization to their Kindle devices. There outcome is no better than with previous methods, but the simplicity of the operation and reduced friction is welcome.

Stay updated with developments across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem by subscribing to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We do the research to make sure that our readers understand the technology, even if we decide not to mention features like Word Send to Kindle.

2 Replies to “Reducing the Friction in Transferring Word Documents to Kindle”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.