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Nook Color: Tips, Tricks and Hints

Below are some of the questions I’m commonly asked by users about the Nook Color along with their answers.


How do I take a screenshot?
Hold down the n (Home) button and then hold the volume down button for a very short time.  A little camera icon will appear in the bottom status bar telling you a screenshot was taken. The screenshot will be saved in the Screenshots folder and can be saved to your computer via USB.  They can also be viewed on the Nook by using the Gallery.


My computer isn’t recognizing the Nook Color, help!
Be sure the device is out of sleep mode and is unlocked as these can cause the Nook Color to not be recognized on some systems.


How do I add different wallpapers to my device?
Connect the Nook Color to your computer with the USB cable and place the wallpaper image(s) in the My FilesWallpaper directory.

One source for wallpapers is


Can I change my books margins?
Most people I know like little to no margin on their readers screen, thankfully the NC’s margins are adjustable.

Touch anywhere on the page and a menu bar will pop up on the bottom. Select the text option and another window will appear. On the right are three rectangle icons with various sized rectangle inside. These specify the amount of the screen covered by the text. From this same menu you can adjust line spacing and allow you to enable night mode.


How do I bookmark a page (and remove a bookmark)?
Pages can be bookmarked by tapping the upper right corner of a page, a little bookmark ‘ribbon’ will appear.  The bookmark can be removed by tapping the upper right corner again or all bookmarks in a book may be cleared by tapping the center of a page and selecting ‘content’ and then the bookmarks tab and using the ‘clear all’ button.


How do I look up words in the dictionary?
Simply tap and hold on a word and a menu will pop up where you can do a look up, you can also make notes and highlights from the same menu.


Is there a quick way to navigate backwards without going ‘Home’?
You can swipe to the left in the small black status bar at the bottom of a page and it will act like a back button would.  Be careful not to hit any of the status indicators on that bar or it won’t work and you’ll have other things popping up on your screen.  I’ve found it best to get a kind of “running start” at it and just barely brush the screen as my finger goes by.


Is there a shortcut to common settings like brightness instead of using the settings menu?
Simply tap the battery icon in the lower right corner and a quick settings menu will appear.


How do I create playlists for my music?
The create a playlist tap and hold on a song in the music app instead of just tapping to play it.  A menu will pop up where you can choose ‘add to playlist’ which will then bring up a menu to either add the song to an existing playlist or create a new one.  You can change the song order in the playlist by dragging the up/down icon next to the name of each song.  You can remove songs from a playlist by tapping and holding on the song and selecting remove from playlist (be careful you don’t select delete instead).


How do I do a factory reset?
Hold down Home (n button) + Power + Vol up at the same time or go to ‘settings’ then tap ‘Device Info’ then tap ‘Erase & Deregister Device’.  Note: Both methods will reset the NC to factory defaults, erase the content from your device and deregister it.


A factory reset didn’t fix things, what else can I do?
You can try a complete wipe which will cause the Nook Color to “reflash” it’s system partition to whatever version it was when you first bought it.  Note: you shouldn’t need to do this unless you’ve been messing around with rooting or a custom ROM.  If your NC is stock you’ll likely have contacted B&N support before you ever get this far and if you haven’t I’d recommend you do that first.

To do a wipe…

1.      Turn off your Nook Color if it is currently on.

2.      Turn it on by pressing the Power button.

3.      When you see the welcome message appear on screen, hold the power button down to interrupt the boot process.

4.      If the boot animation (nook color by Barnes & Noble animation) does not appear and the device turns off you’ve successfully interrupted boot, go to step 6.

5.      If the boot animation appears you’ve failed to interrupt boot, go back to step 3 and try again.

6.      Repeat from step 3 until your interrupted boot count reaches 8. At this point, the nook will re-flash its system partition.


What is rooting anyway?
This isn’t an official techies explanation, but basically rooting is similar to giving yourself full access rights to parts of the Android operating system (which is based on Linux) that are usually not allowed for general users.  Specific to the NC, folks root because it gives them access to the Android Market and the thousands of apps there (you can also load the Amazon Appstore), including other reading apps like Kindle, Kobo and Aldiko. Basically you’re still using the basic stock B&N interface with a few “extras”.


How do I root?
Instead of providing instructions here I’ll simply give you links to the original XDA thread and also a YouTube video so you can see the process.  Note: rooting does void your warranty and while it’s hard to completely brick/ruin a nook color do it at your own risk.


What about a custom ROM, what is that?
A custom ROM is a customized, third party, version of Android which replaces the stock B&N interface.  This basically makes the NC into a full Android tablet.  One interesting thing is that since the NC looks to the microSD card first when booting you can use a custom ROM without altering the stock NC at all.  To stop using the custom ROM you simply remove the SD card and the NC will boot up as a stock reader.  Custom ROMs can also be flashed to the NC’s main memory replacing the Nook’s stock OS and interface all together, but most readers I know have found the SD card version runs great without risking altering the actual device.

One of the more popular ROM’s in use is CyanogenMod 7 which is a customized copy of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

If this is something of interest more info (with videos) can be found on Ana Mardoll’s website…


Brian is an avid reader who loves books of all kinds. He's been known to try just about anything once, but is partial to SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery and Romance. His favorite authors include Jane Austen, Ray Bradbury, Jacqueline Carey, Lisa Kleypas, Michelle Sagara West, JD Robb, David Weber, Julie Miller, Lynne Connolly and Lynsay Sands.


  1. Keziah Hill
    May 29, 2011 @ 05:01:10

    Dear me. Rooting means something COMPLETELY different in Australia. But with a devise called Nook, anything’s possible

  2. Mary Anne Graham
    May 29, 2011 @ 08:33:29

    Sounds neat & the Nook Color seems like a great device. Color is tempting for an e-reader and the android update makes it seem more like a tablet.

    Except, I understand that even with the update, the (unhacked) device only runs the Nook app. Understand B&N and Amazon are coming out w/tablets by Christmas, but if they’re both going to just run the home-grown apps, they won’t be really user friendly.

    Aren’t we all better off picking up a tablet that will run more of the apps? Yeah, i-Pad would run them all but it’s too rich for my blood. It seems to me that the best thing is to wait closer to Christmas and the technology develop and the prices drop.

    But, like I said, great review of the tips and tricks for Nook Color. I’d just find it more tempting if the android update made it a full fledged tabled, able to run the Kindle app, the Sony app, the KOBO app AND the B&N app.

  3. Brian
    May 29, 2011 @ 09:16:44

    @Keziah Hill: LOL, yes in Aussie slang it means something very different. Think of it as what’s referred to as jailbreaking.

  4. Brian
    May 29, 2011 @ 09:28:41

    @Mary Anne Graham: At this point we don’t know what Amazon will do. Some rumors have the doing two different tablets plus a phone, but who knows.

    I agree that the NC is less useful since it’s locked down, but know at least four people who own them that want/like it that way (they just want to read their NookBooks) and find the full Android experience too much.

    If someone was wanting a small tablet now that they didn’t have to root to get other reading apps on they could perhaps check out the 7″ Galaxy Tab ($349 for the WiFi version, sometimes found refurbed under $300) or the 7″ Dell Streak (Staples has dropped their price to $299).

  5. theo
    May 29, 2011 @ 09:56:09

    Every reader is proprietary though, at least what I’ve heard. So, if I can read anything on my HTC EVO which is an android based phone and has BN, Kindle, Sony and just about any other reader app out there to allow me to read what I want, when I want, why wouldn’t I buy the android based reader and root it?

    BTW, I studied all the links from your last post when we ‘talked.’ As soon as my 32G card comes (I didn’t want to use the one from my phone,) I’ll be hacking my Nook and will let you know how it goes. Thanks again for everything on this.

  6. Sunita
    May 29, 2011 @ 10:21:54

    Very helpful post, Brian, thanks! I didn’t know about the screenshot feature, and I’m still trying to get a wallpaper I like so I’ll check out that site.

    I rooted my Nook twice, first when I bought it and then again when B&N pushed out the Froyo update. I flashed it to the main memory, keeping the SD card as a backup. It works really well and I still have access to the B&N software, which I like for pdf reading. For ePubs I’m using CoolReader, which is free in the Android market.

    I’ve looked at the other tablets, and I don’t think you can beat the Nook for price; in addition, it has a great screen (same as the Galaxy Tab and better than the Streak). It’s slow compared to the pricier tablets, but it’s so much cheaper that for me the tradeoff is worth it. I think the processor is almost the same as the processor Samsung uses in the WiFi Galaxy Tab, so once it’s rooted it’s very comparable. If you can get the Galaxy Tab at a deep discount then definitely buy it, but otherwise the Nook is fine.

    I haven’t had that much experience with the Android OS, but even starting from a place of relative ignorance, I rooted the Nook much more quickly than I hackintoshed my netbook.

  7. Brian
    May 29, 2011 @ 10:40:28

    I’ve looked at the other tablets, and I don’t think you can beat the Nook for price

    It would be hard, but if you want a full tablet without rooting or custom ROM’s I think the Tab’s pretty nice. Part of the reason the NC has sold so well I think is the active dev community at XDA which has made experimenting and tweaking the device so easy (that plus it’s almost impossible to brick). I personally wouldn’t spend the extra $100 for a Tab, but know at least one person who did because they wanted more of a “full” tablet experience, but didn’t want to root or load a custom ROM.

    I think the processor is almost the same as the processor Samsung uses in the WiFi Galaxy Tab, so once it’s rooted it’s very comparable.

    Both the Tab WiFi (the Tab 3g uses different hardware) and the NC use an A8 processor, but B&N has gone with a slower version to get better battery life out of their device or so I’ve read.
    The new Touch Nook uses the same processor as the NC interestingly enough.

  8. Sandra
    May 30, 2011 @ 00:34:35

    Anyone have a good source for help with the B&N PC app? I was having trouble getting a book I bought a few days ago to download. I could download to the “my stuff” directory, but couldn’t get the auto download to load to my main library. The online forum and FAQ’s are useless, so I emailed B&N help and they told me to uninstall and re-install. When I did, I lost everything — over 400 books. They’re still on my hard drive and in my B&N online library. I just can’t get them to show up in the reader. I’m getting just a little frustrated. It shouldn’t be this hard.

  9. lucy
    May 30, 2011 @ 01:07:58

    I’ve been thinking of getting a nook. I’m taking this article as a sign that I should take the plunge.

  10. Brian
    May 30, 2011 @ 01:17:55

    @Sandra: I have very little experience with the B&N desktop software, but my thought would be when you did the uninstall did you also go in to program files and make sure the Barnes & Noble folder was deleted (I’m thinking something old might have been left behind)? Also I’d delete or rename the My Barnes & Noble eBooks folder in your Documents (perhaps renaming would be best so you still have a backup of your books). This should truly reset things as if the program had never been installed and you’d be starting from scratch hopefully solving whatever is causing problems.

    Otherwise you could try B&N support @ 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665) and choose option 2 for Digital Support

  11. Lferdz
    May 30, 2011 @ 10:49:43

    @Sandra  I had to enable IE Cookies for PC app to work. Others have had to enable Firefox cookies as well. If that doesn’t work, delete the app per Brian’s instructions and try the Nook Study app. 

  12. Lferdz
    May 30, 2011 @ 10:54:06

    Thanks Brian. I like my NookColor, and my Kindle.
    I haven’t rooted since like the interface as is and no need for another tablet.  I have NookBooks on it with tons of sideloaded books (spent a bunch at ARe sale yesterday) from other sellers. I have put all my Kindle books on it after strip and convert (calibre) since I’ve lost my kindle to a bratlet.

    The BN app store is growing daily, but I’m not interested in wasting main memory on games and such. The apps I do use frequently are Evernote (free right now), ezPDF, calculator, Pulse News, and Office. You don’t have to buy the Office app to read docs or spreadsheets since that is native to NC. You need the app to create them.  

    I haven’t tried the Goodreads app since I’m not registered there yet. Anyone tried it yet?  Haven’t tried the social networking features for Twitter, FB, or LendMe and NookFriends.  Very easy to do book reviews from NC. Library books easy. Decent browser. Easy shopping from the device. Too easy with a bottle of wine. 

    You aren’t locked into only NookBooks from BN at all with any type of Nook, just like Kindle.  I buy from other sites if cheaper and sideload them.

  13. Lferdz
    May 30, 2011 @ 11:11:47

    @Sunita you can make your own wallpaper with your own pics on NC in Gallery. Tap the pic once and it will bring up menu to set as wallpaper or crop it to fit.

  14. Sandra
    May 30, 2011 @ 11:15:27


    I’ve been running versions of the PC App ever since they first released it. I’ve never had a problem before now. The reinstall appears to be importing all the files, but once the program opens nothing’s there. It’s like it can’t find the directory they’re stored in.

    Oh, well, off to spend the afternoon on hold. Thanks for the suggestions.

  15. Lferdz
    May 30, 2011 @ 15:11:35

    @Sandra I found the cookie fix on Mobilereads. I don’t use BN boards much.

    My ebooks always showed up in the app library. Was finally able to download them after I enabled cookies in IE. No bulk downloads. Must do each book individually.

  16. Sandra
    May 30, 2011 @ 19:09:01

    @Lferdz: I played around with it some more this afternoon. I found an older version of the software install file in my recycle bin. I ran that and it found all my books. I used the Update link in the About screen, which brought me back to the most recent release, AND kept all my books, including the one I was having trouble downloading in the first place. Needless to say, I’ve saved that install file to a safe place, just in case…

    I couldn’t find anything on the B&N boards that was useful. I don’t use IE or Firefox as my browser, and cookies have always been enabled for B&N. Like I said, I never had a problem before. So we’ll hope it’s fixed itself now.

    Thanks for responding.

  17. mary
    May 31, 2011 @ 17:10:59

    Short preface. I love my Nook Color, enough to hand sell it to others and I don’t work for Barnes & Noble. I know this thread is tips and tricks, but I have neither to offer. I do however have a question. Kind of.

    I recently purchased a manga on my Nook Color. Yes, I made the assumption (I know. My fault.) the manga/comic books would be treated the same as children’s picture books. IOW, rotation of the book would be enabled. Unfortunately with the manga I purchased, that is not the case. I do not know if other mangas have this option, but, again, mine does not.

    Here’s my question. Any help for getting either the words a larger size? Or, any way to rotate the book without cracking/rooting/breaking into my reader to do so?

  18. Brian
    May 31, 2011 @ 19:44:03

    @mary: I tried a manga a while back. They are ePubs just like regular books and the NC doesn’t support zoom or landscape for them.

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    […] Tips and tricks for the Nook Color. […]

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  21. Ruthann
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 15:03:10

    My nook will not play a video? is that a cookies thing…can I put google chrome on my nook …or do i have to root it first?

  22. Brian
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 15:13:47

    @Ruthann: What format of video, from where? There are tons of things that could be causing a problem.

    I assume you mean Chrome as in the web browser, not the OS? There is no Chrome for Android yet, it’s still in the works (AFAIK), but yes you’d need to root to be able to install something like that when it does come out.

  23. mae
    Jun 01, 2012 @ 13:32:09

    I have a nook color as well, I read in an article saying not to have it fully charged and plugged in, let the battery go down to 25% then charge. What do you say?

  24. Brian
    Jun 01, 2012 @ 15:01:38

    @mae: The Nook COlor uses a Lithium Ion battery. While I’ll fully admit to not being well versed in all of the science behind such batteries in general you can charge a Lithium battery whenever you wish to. If I recall correctly they perform best when they aren’t quite 100% charged (BUT, a lot of manufacturers build in a limit that cuts off charging before 100%, the user need do nothing). It is true you don’t want to overcharge a Lithium Ion battery, but modern electronics have built in circuits to prevent this so it’s not really an issue (unless you’re doing a DIY project).

    So I say charge it when you want to and don’t worry too much about it (although I haven’t read the article you have). It’s much worse to be stuck with an uncharged device than anything else. :-)

  25. Jordan
    Oct 19, 2013 @ 17:26:23

    Well my nook wont turn one… so what do I do???

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