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Customer Discussions > Kindle forum

You can add back in JUSTIFICATION as a Kindle Aa menu option.

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Showing 1-25 of 106 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 9, 2011 1:43:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 7, 2012 10:43:14 PM PST
Q says:
For those of you who would like to add back in the justification (left or full) option that was on the K1 but not the K2 or K3, you can do the following. (I just did this on my Kindle 3 and it worked quite well.)

There is a hidden menu item in the font menu [Aa] of all Kindles that toggles between left and full text justification. This menu item can be enabled and set from the default "full" to "left" so that most properly formatted Kindle ebooks can be read with a ragged right margin.

These instructions have been tested on a Kindle 3 but should work with all versions of the Kindle.

1) Turn on your Kindle and press the HOME button
2) These instructions won't work if you mount your Kindle (plug it into a computer with the USB cable) while in a Kindle book.
3) Plug in your USB cable so that the Kindle is seen by the computer as an external flash drive
4) From any File Manager, on the Kindle, edit the file:
System / / reader.pref
(Windows' Notepad works fine). The system folder on the Kindle is hidden so you need to be sure that Windows Explorer or the file manager has been set up to show hidden files & folders.
5) Add the following line to the end of the reader.pref file:
6) Eject your Kindle
7) Do NOT open a book yet
8) From the home screen, restart your Kindle by using the following sequence of menu items:
Once fully rebooted, from within a regular Kindle book, you can press the font button [Aa] and you will see a menu item called "Justification" with options of "left" or "full". This change is persistent. You can modify any other font menu item and the justification should remain set. "

NOTE - Be sure:
* before you connect your K3 to your computer that you're on the HOME screen, not with any book open.
* after you eject the Kindle, don't open any books. Instead, immediately go to:

Having now done this, I can confirm that this method works. Now, in all of my Kindle books, except the Topaz ones, when I press Aa, a new choice is given called "Justification: Left Full" just after the "Words per Line".

Posted on May 9, 2011 1:47:14 PM PDT
badeggsalad says:
Awesome! Thanks. I'll have to try this.

Posted on May 9, 2011 5:39:29 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on May 9, 2011 5:44:02 PM PDT
Thanks Terry. I'm gonna try it tomorrow !

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 6:24:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2011 9:11:00 PM PDT
Q says:
Well, Bufo, I'm going to *hesitantly* question your interpretation there -(and I use the term "hesitantly" very hesitantly since you know Kindle matters beyond anyone I've read here).

You may be right, but here's why I don't think it violates the terms you've listed above (though I'm certain Amazon CS would prefer that users weren't mucking around in the Kindle's system folder!):
* that file already changes slightly every time you open a book. It is a user reader preferences file after all. It also stores whatever present choice you've made for font size, line spacing, etc.
The file is easy to see and Notepad opens it just fine. So it isn't a very big change on an already-changing reader preference file.
* that line can easily be removed at a moments notice. It isn't changing or touching the OS on the ROM (or wherever it's kept.) Hence it is called a non-hack or "restoring the text justification without a hack" workaround.
* Resetting the Kindle to factory defaults (not necessary) also will reset that file.

But I can't see that it is reverse engineering or decompiling or disassembling.

Still, it is a form of modifying, but at a gnat's level, I think. It is adding a line in that text file, so that may not be permitted by the powers that be. But I can't imaging how it is affecting much of anything; certainly not the actual stored OS nor the Kindle itself.

I'll ask CS about it...

NOTE: Done. Here is a copy of the email I just sent to Kindle CS:
"After owning the Kindle 1st gen, we were surprised to find that the Kindle 3rd generation had lost the ability to change the justification (a feature present in the K1).

Today, I read in a forum ( that an owner could add back in the justification Aa menu item by going to the Kindle's:
system / / reader.pref

And add the following line to the end of the reader.pref file:

Then when the K3 is restarted, in a book, one presses Aa and the "Justification Left Full" is restored to the Aa menu.

I have a question and a suggestion:
1) Is this a violation of the terms of service? The reader.pref file changes already with the opening of any book and it can easily be removed via Notepad or any simple text editor. It seems a fairly small change.
2) I and others would love to see the "Justification" option officially added back into the Aa menu as it was in the K1. It is a useful feature now lost -- and it seems it is still present in the Kindle's software for such a small change to bring it out.

Many thanks for your response & help in this,

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 6:36:51 PM PDT
We differ on this one...

It's just a user's preference text file, that they don't make obvious.

They'd rather it not be modified but in no way should it be a violation of terms of service.

It's not modifying the software, as that term is used in agreements of this type.

It's just providing (in an option-scenario already programmed into the software) a user-preference.

Modifying the software would mean to change it so that there is no option at all - something like that -- in other words, changing the 'coding' of the software, deep down. The software itself stays unchanged or unmodified.

We are at the higher user-level of the software and just choosing a user-option though it's not presented to us outfront.

- Andrys

Posted on May 9, 2011 6:41:50 PM PDT
When the hack came out to change the screen saver pictures, Amazon stated that they didn't recommend it, but it would not affect the warrant I can't imagine them having a problem with this.
I'm going to try it tomorrow. I'll post back and let everyone know how it worked out.

Posted on May 9, 2011 6:43:08 PM PDT
loriltx says:
I'm confused. I have a K2, and all my books are full justification. What am I missing here?

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 6:51:28 PM PDT
Q says:

That's the default on the K2 & K3. But the K1 had the option of making the page of text appear as either "Full Justified" (as it is now) or "Justified Left" (which makes a ragged right.)

This known workaround simply restores the option to justify the text on both sides or just the left.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 6:55:58 PM PDT
flipoid says:
I would love to try this with my K2US, but I'm too chicken. And I'm very computer literate in most things. (-:

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 7:12:43 PM PDT
Q says:

Concerning that file, there is little you can harm. The worst that happens is nothing.

The reader.pref file is a user preferences file that stores ever-changing things like last book opened, font size, font style, line spacing, etc.

Go on! Give it a try! >:)

Posted on May 9, 2011 8:03:53 PM PDT
Holy Smoke says:
Terry_L, I am fairly computer savy, (I've managed the screensaver changes easily.) On this adjustment directions, I keep looking for the
"System / / reader.pref"
and don't see it (even though I have "show hidden files" checked.)
I'll keep watching this thread to see how things go.

I'm interested in CS's reply to you. tyvm!

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 8:09:25 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
NurseDina, my understanding is that you are right about the warranty...but not the "etcetera". ;)

It has been posted that Amazon has said the "screensaver hack" and the "font hack" violate the Terms of Service (not the warranty). You may find this thread interesting:

(Amazon thread relevant to the discussion)

Terry and Andrys, you could certainly by right. I'll be interested to hear what Customer Service says.

Bufo Calvin
Amazon Author Central page:

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 8:16:30 PM PDT
Are you first looking for the 'system' folder?

Enter that and you'll see the
'' folder

Enter that and you'll see the 'reader-pref' file.

(Notepad doesn't always see it. I had to use another editor
-- in my case ultraedit -- to see and edit it once I had already edited it earlier. Most text editors should see it always, once you've chosen to show hidden files though.)

Macs do resist one's efforts to show extensions sometimes! But it's doable.

- Andrys

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 8:45:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 9, 2011 8:46:25 PM PDT
Re deciding, bear in mind also the very differing answers that we'll get by customer support reps we get either in writing or on the phone. As we say, "Call another customer rep" or "Write again!" :-)

As most of us know, if they don't want to openly sanction something but would also rather not say anything because people who choose to do something might cause more customer-support work for them (as we've seen), they stay silent about anything specific.

I tend to pay more attention to the official forum responses they used to give as a team (when they would have put thought into it as a group).
And with the Kindle 1, when they were answering questions like that (re the screensaver, which DID involve a patch), they said it would not violate the TOS. They never replied on the matter with the Kindle 2. Had many chances and did not warn people not to do it.

The font darkness was a very sensitive matter for Tech Support with the K2.

This particular editing of a preference option doesn't involve a 'patch' as mentioned in that customer rep's boilerplate, nor does it involve modifying software, as mentioned.

The ending of the boilerplate from that rep, which is meant as strong language for nefarious things people might try to do, seems to focus on one action in particular ... "or any mechanisms operatively linked to the Software, including, but not limited to, augmenting or substituting any digital rights management functionality of the Device or Software"

I think that's the bee in the bonnet, understandably. But they definitely don't want anyone messing with the software itself (except that I think they breathed a big sigh of relief when so many went to the patches for the alternate font-sets, which were external additions anyway).

This one for justification options modifies a text file of preferences, which changes during your sessions many times. That they even left in options (but made them hard to find) means they are available in the programming.

The choice of left or full justification wouldn't be a 'protection' feature either. I'm also pretty sure that the preference file just regenerates itself if someone makes a mistake with it. The worst so far is that the file is unchanged when people goof and maybe they have an older last-page read :-)

- Andrys

Posted on May 9, 2011 8:55:12 PM PDT
I had another thought that I inadvertently left at the end of the previous post for awhile but I'll add it separately here.

What gets me is that full-justification causes a WALL of words, which is fatiguing on the eye. There are none of the usual spaces to relieve the eyes. Worse, the words can expand with gaps like lost teeth, to make the outer edge line up.

It's not only hard at time to make out the words from the wall but it's also ugly to some of us, and you have to leave your pattern of recognizing a word when some are compressed and some are expanded. It destroys the rhythm, all those words with big gaps or which are very squeezed.

- Andrys

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 10:30:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 9, 2011 10:30:51 PM PDT
"What gets me is that full-justification causes a WALL of words, which is fatiguing on the eye."

I think it really depends on the person. Paper books are fully justified. So when I got my K2 I didn't see anything weird or odd with reading fully justified text on my K screen. It's how I've always read books!

I actually do not like ragged right text in this context. It's like reading a forum post on the computer, not reading a book.

That's not to say that I don't think the option on the menu should be there for everyone to choose. It's great that Terry passed on the info on how to re-implement it on individual Kindles.

It's also worth noting the Kindle uses a modified full justification. It's not full "at any costs", which does create extremely bizarre word spacing. Some lines are shorter than others, but it attempts to fully justify as much as possible. I was reading a book the other day where the right margin was much more "ragged" than usual and it was bugging the heck out of me!

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 11:07:31 PM PDT
Q says:
Hi Inkling,

First a question. If you have your file manager set to "show hidden files" (at least on a Windows machine, that's what the option is), then when you look at the Kindle as an external flash drive at its root directory, you should see 5 folders/directories: .active-content-data, audible, documents, music, & system.

Do you see those five folders listed?

Posted on May 9, 2011 11:21:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 9, 2011 11:25:16 PM PDT
I did say that it was ugly to 'some' of us but the reason it is so ugly to me is the wall of words that it becomes on a little 6" screen. This is even more true of computer LCD screens (or even tube ones). I made sure my Kindle books on the Kindle 1 were left-justified and it was a real letdown to see the loss of that option on Kindle 2.

In work situations, when people have sent one another documents to read in printed form, we have generally requested heavily that they not be full-justified. It is really strange to try to read in those situations. Maybe because in work documents, people don't pay attention to proper kerning as they may do with some books.

Screens just magnify whatever problems there are for us in paper life.

Yes, re the option being available, and I'm glad they did put it in a preferences file (and those preferences are normally designed to be ours -- though they chose not to make their default changeable via the Kindle menu systems anymore).

Found something interesting. I went to 2 reference books I've chosen to read a bit of daily, one in the Throne room. One is a small but fat civilizations book by Brenda Ralph Lewis by Parragon Publishing and the other is a Peachpit Press book on the 7-point System for Photoshop, and they're both non-justified. I wonder if I chose them because the layout of the text appealed to me!

I also wonder if your ragged edged book layout was a Topaz file that was pre-formatted. All of my Kindle books were hard against the line. I'm glad to say, 'were' :-)

Remember when the Kindle 2 came out? There were a lot of calls on the forums to get back left-justification. And it kept coming up. That raised a lot of emotions for some.

Now, if someone could find a hidden way that they still have somewhere for flipping 5% of the book ahead and back as we could with Kindle 1 !

- Andrys

Posted on May 10, 2011 3:17:46 AM PDT
R. Spencer says:
Changing a plain text file is not a violation of the license terms. They refer to disassembly and reverse engineering where you are taking apart the binary code, not plain text. The Windows XP EULA has the same clause, yet you can can freely edit the registry and any plain text .ini files.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2011 5:11:54 AM PDT
Brian P says:
Just tried it and it works like a charm. THANKS SO MUCH. The full justification created unnatural spacing between words and made it really tiresome to read some books. However, it doesn't work on all books which I assume has something to do with the settings used to format the book. My recollection is this was also the case with the K1's when we had justification options on that device.


Posted on May 10, 2011 5:16:38 AM PDT
**M€¥@** says:
There is a way to change the settings on a K2 as well. I did it to mine, but don't have the directions handy. I did find them here though.

I actually don't like the ragged right edge, but haven't taken the time to change it back to the way it was.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2011 5:46:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2011 5:51:45 AM PDT
R. Spencer says: "Changing a plain text file is not a violation of the license terms. They refer to disassembly and reverse engineering where you are taking apart the binary code, not plain text."

Not true. Depending on the programming language, and if it's an executable or a scrpt, software can be either binary or plain text. In the case of the Kindle, some of it is binary and some if it is plain text (Java script). Any modification of the Kindle system sw is a violation of the TOU, there are no exceptions given, and may nulify the warranty.

In this case it is a modification of a system file that changes the way the program works. If that line has been removed from the file by Amazon's developers, then it was removed for a reason. There may be bugs associated with having it enabled. If they cause any problems that require CS assistance there is a chance that Amazon won't fix it.

Undocumented features and options are a fairly common thing in PC software, esp games. But they are undocumented on purpose. Even when developers acknowledge them they will state that using/changing them may result in unknown issues and any problems that may arise will not be covered by the software warrenty and CS won't be able to help.

"The Windows XP EULA has the same clause, yet you can can freely edit the registry and any plain text .ini files."

The Windows EULA does not have the same clause. The Windows EULA only states "You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the Software"... the Kindle TOU also states you can not "modify" the software. Plus MS provides the necessary software and tech support for the modification of ini and system config files.

Not saying Amazon will care that you modify the config file to add back in a feature they expressly removed. Only that one should only do it at their own risk and they won't be liable to help you in case of any problems.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2011 6:17:40 AM PDT
Holy Smoke says:
exactly, Terry_L, that's exactly what I see
(.active-content-data, audible, documents, music, & system)
next step? tyvm

Posted on May 10, 2011 7:29:51 AM PDT
Cagey says:
I'd love to try this change, but my system file doesn't show up in Windows Explorer, even though I've clicked "show hidden files"!! Any ideas?
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