8 Ways to Read Web Content Like a Zen Master

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These bookmarklets and browser extensions let you read web pages in a distraction free, beautiful environment.

The Common Features: Each tool listed here will center your text on a field of white. The customization tools are hidden until you click on some icon at the top left or right. The options include re-sizing the font, changing background color and adjusting the column width.

All ads, sidebars and unnecessary graphics are stripped away. These tools work only on article pages and not on home pages of websites.

1. Readability

readability

  • Readability’s distraction free reading bookmarklet doesn’t need you to sign up.
  • Just drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar, then tap it whenever you want to clean up an article. Readability will convert and save it with a new URL.
  • It also lets you download the article in ePub or send it to kindle and also share it to social networks using the Readability bookmarklet.
  • All links in the article are converted into footnotes (I love this about Readability).
  • Extensions for Chrome and Firefox are available.

2. Evernote Clearly

clearly

  • Evernote Clearly doesn’t provide a bookmarklet (only an extension for chrome & firefox).
  • To customize the column width, font sizing etc you need to head over to the extension options. The options are not right there on the screen like Readability and Instapaper.

3. Instapaper Text

instapaper

  • The Google dictionary extension (I use it a lot) works on a page de-cluttered with Instapaper Text and not with the other two.
  • Its slightly faster than Readability & Clearly and you don’t need to install an extension.
  • Also, the Instapaper-rendered distraction-free view is better looking than others.

4. Readable (No Sign Up Needed)

readable1

  • Evernote acquired this simple bookmarklet and made it into Clearly, adding the capability to save articles for reading later.
  • But the original ‘Readable’ is still available and is fast and easy to use and needs no sign up.
  • Only caveat is that you have to generate and drag-drop the bookmarklet each time you want to customize the look and feel.
  • You can also get the ‘Readable’ distraction free view for your website from here.

5. MagicScroll (No Sign Up Needed)

magicScroll

  • MagicScroll has all the functionality of the others plus it helps you read faster with its unique way of scrolling.
  • Google Dictionary works with this one too.

6. iReader (No Sign Up Needed)

iReader

  • If you’re looking for the fastest loading solution go with iReader.
  • It opens the uncluttered view in lightbox mode within micro secs of clicking the ‘R’ in the right corner of the address bar.
  • But again it has to be installed as an extension. Available for firefox as well.

7. NotForest (No Sign Up Needed)

notforest

  • NotForest is a bookmarklet and is the most minimalist of the lot with the least number of options.
  • No sign up or save for later. Limited themes with different backgrounds and font combinations. No option to change font size or column width.

8. Printliminator (No Sign Up Needed)

ThePrintliminator

  • The most flexi solution, Printliminator, is an extension that lets you choose what elements on a web page you want to get rid of.
  • When you click the bookmarklet you get red rectangles wherever your cursor moves on the webpage and you click to remove the highlighted element.
  • Optionally you can choose to remove all the graphical elements on a page.
  • Its original purpose is to make a webpage print compatible.

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