Many modern browsers have a feature called reader view, that presents web pages in a distraction-free layout. So, if a page has a cluttered sidebar, annoying ads, or a lot of elements which take the focus away from the article, you can enable reader view to get a better experience.
Now, the thing about this feature is that it’s pretty bare bones. You either use it or you don’t, there are just a couple of extra options like changing the font size or enabling text-to-speech. If you want more customization options, take a look at the Reader View extension for Firefox and Chrome.
Before we begin, I’d like to mention that while the Firefox add-on is called Readability Based Reader View, the Chrome extension is Reader View. I’ll be referring to it as the Reader View extension or add-on, because it sounds better and distinguishes it from the browsers’ built-in feature.
Visit a web page and click on the Reader View extension button on the address bar. You can also access the add-on from the browser’s right-click page menu.
This will display the page in a clean text-only view sans ads. You will still see the images included in the article. The add-on displays the content in its own tab, so to compensate for this, it places the URL of the page (that you enabled Reader View for), at the top of the page.
If you want to read a specific line or paragraph of a page, select the content before clicking the extension’s icon, and it will load the content in the reader mode, which is really cool. This doesn’t work with the context menu option.
Click on the X button on the sidebar to the left-hand side to go back to the original page. The AA button allows you to change the font size, type, display width, etc. The colors displayed aren’t for the background, rather it just switches the color of the side-panel.
The second option is for Printing the content in Reader View, while the next one can be used to email the page (opens it in your default Mail program). Save the page in HTML format using the 4th option in the Reader View extension, it preserves the reading mode style. You may toggle full screen mode (F9) for a more immersive experience.
Enter the design mode using Control + Shift + D; this brings up a formatting toolbar on the right side of the screen. It’s a floating bar that you can drag to any location on the screen. Select some text and click on the formatting options to apply the effect, like paragraphs, heading, bold, italics, bulleted lists, numbered lists, hyperlinks, images, etc.
The Reader View extension has a text-to-speech mode that reads the selected text aloud, you can control the volume, pitch and the speed of the narrator. The “image” button on the sidebar has options for zooming images, without affecting the text content.
Go to the add-on’s options to modify the keyboard shortcuts associated with the various tools. You can toggle every item on the side-panel, and also add a couple of new ones that can open a page in Reader View (new tab) or do the same in a background tab.
Reader View is customizable, providing you can modify the code provided in the options. If that isn’t a problem, you can change the text style, background color, etc.