Oct28

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Readability Reader Guy In my previous post I wrote about the open source Greenshot screen capture tool. Here’s another quicker tip and tool to use –

Have you ever read a site comprised of several columns, with unrelated ads embedded in the center of the article you are trying to read?

Have you ever wanted to save an article for later, either by converting to PDF or just plain printing it – and all of the text and formatting gets discombobulated in the resulting output?

Well then, Readability is for you! Their own web site describes it as follows:

Readability is a web & mobile app that zaps online clutter and saves web articles in a comfortable reading view. No matter where you are or what device you use, your reading will be there.

I have not used the features that allow things to be sent to alternate devices (like a Kindle), but I do use it regularly in my web browser to simplify articles for archiving.

Times Example - Original PageTake a sample page from the Irish Times – while not a particularly bad offender in the world of confusing page layouts, there is a lot of “noise” on this page. If you’d like to copy the info in the article, more often than not you and your trusty mouse will be in a fight to the death to select the article headers and content.

Times Example - Readability Version“But”, you say, “I can just click on the ‘Print Version’ icon on a web page and use that clean version!” Well, yes I suppose you can – but is the output as clean as this Readability version?

Click on the image at left to see a larger version – that’s some mighty nice text, ain’t it?

And do you notice those icons in the left column of the article?

Readability Controls
You can use those to tweak such things as font color, width, font size and even convert links to footnotes – which is an excellent thing to have when saving something for later research.

While the tool now appears to be available via browser add-ons, I use the simpler form of the service: I created a Bookmark in my browser using their drag and drop bookmarklet on this page.

Now, whenever I am at a page I would like to simplify for reading and/or saving, I simply click the “Read Now” bookmark and it does all the work.

You might also find that this tool can also come in handy for people with vision problems – turning a muddled page into a single, large font article in a single click can be quite helpful for them.

Their video, below provides some more information…

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