Alan Wallcraft, May 17 2007

This is a tour of FBReader features based on screenshots of version 0.8.3c on a Pepper Pad 3. The PP3 is a small Linux-based UMPC, and runs the standard Desktop Linux version of FBReader. It has a 640x480 7 inch screen, the in-lined images are half-sized but clicking on one will show it at full size. The small grey icon in the bottom left corner is a rolled-up gnome-panel, i.e. not part of FBReader. Details of icons and default keybindings may be different on other devices, but the basic behaviour should be similar.

When you open FBReader for the first time, you will see the following picture:


Note the top panel of icons and the position indicator at the bottom of the screen. The rightmost panel icon (help) can be used to bring up this document at any time.

The full screen mode removes the panel:


The position bar can be removed as well. By default, the return key toggles full screen mode and the b key toggles the position bar.

By default, the background is white and standard text black but FBReader is highly customizable including colors:


Many languages are supported, although some need a Unicode font. Greek:




Many e-books have a cover image:


FBReader also handles embedded images:


It isn't typically used on the PP3, but clicking on the 2nd last panel icon will rotate the screen:


Note that the panel does not rotate, so go full screen:


If you have fb2, oeb or OpenReader books these will be added automatically to your library if they are in FBReader's book path. The default path depends on the device type, for Desktop Linux it is ~/FBooks:~/Books where "~" is your home directory and ":" separates entries in the path. To update the path, select the options panel icon (crossed tools) and then the General tab:


Here, I have added /opt/Downloads to the default path and selected subdirectory searching. The recent book list is under the 2nd panel icon (down arrow), a size of 24 books may be overkill. English isn't an option for Encoding Detection, so I set it to Other (i.e. none).

Taking the other tabs in order, next is Scrolling:


The three options are Large and Small Scrollings (actions which can be bound to keys) and Mouse Scrolling. The PP3 has a large scroll wheel to the right of the screen, so I set Mouse Scrolling to "No Overlapping" to use this for paging.

Margins controls the blank space around the edge of the screen:


Format controls the layout of text elements on the screen:


There are many elements in the right hand list. The selectable layout options depend on the element chosen:


Styles is where the font and font size is selected. The actual fonts in the list depends on what is available on your device:


The familiar elements are again in the right hand list:


but here it controls the font appearance:


Indicator is the progress bar at the bottom of the screen:


There are many options, which I usually select with the exception of showing the time.

The rotation tab:


Disabling rotation removes the rotation icon from the panel.

The colors tab may look different on your device, but it always sets colors:


The many color elements include External Hyperlinks, here set to green:


The Keys tab binds actions to keys. First press the button icon and then the key you want to bind an action to:


Here I have hit the return key, and now can select an action. Toggle Fullscreen Mode is the default for return and I show it selected.


Note the long list of possible actions. Here are the rest:


The defaults are device dependent, and if you don't have a keyboard the number of keys available may be limited. On the PP3, the default key binding are:

  • RETURN toggle full screen
  • D toggle position indicator
  • R rotate screen
  • A add book
  • Z show recent books
  • L show library
  • I show book info
  • O show options
  • C show table of contents
  • F search
  • P find previous
  • N find next
  • - decrease font size
  • = increase font size
  • ESCAPE cancel

In addition, right/left arrow are bound to "Large Scroll Forward/Backward" and control-right/left arrow are "Go To Next/Previous TOC Section".

The Config tab:


The Web tab:


Returning from options back to books; if they are not in fb2, oeb or OpenReader format they need to be added one at a time.
Select the 3rd panel icon (BOOK+):


FBReader will remember where it was last time, and come up in the same directory.
Only directories and books readable by FBReader will appear.
You may need to navigate through directories
(under Linux, ".." does down towards the filesystem root; in this case it would go from the current /opt/Downloads/Mobipocket to /opt/Downloads).
Selecting Dickens, brings up the Book Info menu. There are many Encodings, so they are split into Sets:


English MobiPocket books are usually ISO-8859-1, encoding of others formats may depend on the source machine (windows-1252 or MacRoman):


Once an e-books has been added it is in your library, under the 1st panel icon:


Books that were automatically added to the library only have a book-info icon, but the rest also have a book-delete icon.
Note that the icon panel has fewer icons here, and that the left arrow icon will move back to the previous state.

The other way to find a recent book is the 2nd (history) panel icon:


If an e-book has them, internal hyperlinks (here in blue) can be used for navigation:


In this case the book is a CHM file, and so has a TOC under the 7th panel icon:


Clicking on the progress bar (if navigation is enabled) can also be used to move about the document.