Improve Online Reading With Readability Bookmarklet

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 9, 2009
Updated • Dec 7, 2017

Online reading is not the same as reading a newspaper, book or magazine. The main reason why it is not the same is the many formatting options that webmasters have to display text and other elements on their websites.

Newspapers, books and magazines pretty much use standard fonts and text sizes. While there is some variance there as well, you'll probably never encounter a newspaper that uses a font and color scheme that makes the text barely readable, if at all.

Webmasters have a large selection of font types at their disposal, and may choose any color, font size or weight. Another reason why you may encounter difficult to read content on the Web and not in newspapers or books is that the latter are usually sold for money, while most web services are free.

Readability bookmarklet

online reading

Readability is a bookmarklet that runs in any web browser. It assists Internet users in improving the online reading experience. We have discussed other options before like the Tidyread add-on for the Firefox web browser or Washer which turns colors into grayscale for better readability.

Readability is a little bit different as it displays some options during the creation of the bookmarklet.

You can select an individual style (newspaper, ebook, novel and terminal), size (small, medium, large and extra-large) and margin (narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide) to improve online reading. The bookmarklet will use the selected parameters that you specify during creation.

But Readability will not only change the text that is displayed on the website; It will also remove all the clutter - and by all we mean anything from advertisement, sidebars and comments - from the page so that only the title, images and text remains.

Below is a screenshot of the original article HP Photosmart Premium All in one of Otakugadgets and the same article after having used the Readability bookmarklet with ebook, medium, medium settings.

You can configure and bookmark the Readability bookmarklet to improve online reading at the developer's website.

Update: Readability has been released for many different platforms since our first review of the service. You can now install it as a browser add-on or on mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone or Android devices. The functionality itself has not changed though.

Please note that the original site is no longer available, but that it was forked and is now available again at a different location.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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