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Learning how to navigate your Kindle Paperwhite like a pro cuts down on precious time you'd really like to use reading. If you’re a seasoned Kindle Touch owner, the following information should be familiar. However, if you're upgrading from a Kindle with buttons or are new to Kindle overall, the following primer will get you started.

What happened to the Home button?

Every Kindle before the Paperwhite has a physical Home button that returns the device to the Home screen with just a press. On the Kindle Paperwhite, the Home button is now a Home icon (it looks like a house), which appears on a toolbar at the top of the screen.

If you're reading a book or other content and don't see the toolbar, simply tap at the top of the screen to make it appear.

All common uses of the Kindle Paperwhite — opening books, turning pages, placing bookmarks, and so on — involve a few simple touchscreen gestures, such as finger taps and swipes. For the most part, these gestures are consistent throughout your interaction with the Kindle Paperwhite. (We point out the few cases where the behavior is a bit different than you might expect.)

Unlike Amazon’s prior touchscreen device, the Kindle Paperwhite has a capacitive touchscreen, which means that it responds only to an ungloved finger or a capacitive stylus that mimics a finger’s touch. Here are touchscreen gestures:


A simple tap is the most common gesture you use with the Kindle Paperwhite. See an onscreen button and want to activate it? Tap the button. Viewing the list of books on your device? Tap one to open it.

When you’re reading a book or other content, you tap to page forward (display the next page), page backward (display the previous page), or display a menu of commands. What happens when you tap a book's page depends on which part of the screen you tap.


Swiping, or sliding, your finger from right to left horizontally or diagonally on the screen causes it to page forward. The motion is akin to flipping a paper page in a printed book. To page backward, reverse the motion with a left-to-right swipe.

When reading a book or other content, you advance the page by swiping or tapping. If you want to page forward or backward when viewing a list of books on the Home screen, you must swipe, not tap. A tap on the title of a book (or other content) on the Home screen opens the item for reading.

When swiping, you need to move your finger only a short distance. You can probably swipe (or tap) without moving your hands from their reading position.


For a long-tap, also called a tap and hold, you touch and hold down on the screen for a few seconds before releasing. In general, a long-tap results in a special action, depending on what you’re viewing at the time.

For example, when viewing a book page, you can long-tap on a word to display its definition. When viewing a list of books on the Home screen, a long-tap on a particular book displays such options as adding the book to a collection and reading its description.

If you tap and hold the title of an e-book sample listed on the Home screen, you can buy the book, read the description, or delete the sample from the device.

Pinching and unpinching

When reading a book or other content, place two fingers (or a finger and a thumb) on the touchscreen and slide them closer together. This pinch motion decreases the font size. Move your fingers apart — called an unpinch — to increase the font size. You need to move your fingers only a small distance to change the font size.

You might see a lag between the pinching and unpinching motions and a change in the text size. Moving your fingers slowly helps.

Touchscreen zones

The Kindle Paperwhite screen is set up with tap zones, which are designed to let you turn pages effortlessly with one finger.

The three zones work as follows:

  • Top zone: This area covers the full width of the screen and is approximately 1.25 inches high. While reading a book, a tap in the top zone displays two toolbars. The top toolbar contains the Home, Back, Light, Store, Search, and Menu icons. The second toolbar contains the Font, Go to, X-ray, and Share icons. At the bottom of the screen, you can see your progress in the book.

    The top toolbar is always displayed on the Home screen.
  • Central zone: This area, which is the largest of the three zones, covers the middle of the screen. A quick tap or swipe here advances to the next page.

  • Left zone: This area is a long, narrow rectangle that is approximately .5” wide. A tap in the left column moves to the previous page. Because this zone is narrow, your tapping has to be precise. That said, if you can visualize the zone on the screen, remembering where to tap will be easier.

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