What's Reader View For Google Chrome and How Does it Help Screen Reader Users?

Posted by Ryan Fleury on

As anyone who has spent any amount of time online already knows, many websites that you visit will bombard you with ads, links, or additional distracting information that may or may not be relevant to the topic at hand. For those with vision, this fact can be annoying, but for those who are accessing that website with a screen reader, it can make any given web page almost unintelligible. Having to go through the process of discounting all that superfluous information that can include pop-ups, navigation links, sidebar promotions, and whatever else the web designer saw fit to cram on the page can easily double the time and mental energies needed to pick out the relevant information.

Luckily, there is a solution for this for those people in the know (which will soon include you, by the end of this article!). It’s called Reader View and it will simplify most web pages and strip out all that extra information for easier readability. Almost every browser has this feature, but the way that it’s accessed can vary depending on the browser and operating system. In the rest of this article, we’ll step through easy-to-follow steps on how to turn on Reader View on the various browsers and operating systems.

PC Browsers:

Reader View for Google Chrome on the PC:

  1. Type the following into a new tab in Google Chrome: “chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode”. Press ENTER.
  2. A Chrome settings page comes up that you can navigate using headings.
  3. Press the letter ‘H’ until you get to Reading Mode.
  4. There is a combo box that shows that Reader Mode is disabled.
  5. Press ENTER to go into forms mode if using JAWS.
  6. Press the DOWN ARROW to navigate to ‘enabled’ and press ENTER.
  7. Go to the bottom of the page with CONTROL END and find the ‘restart chrome button’, and Press ENTER.
  8. Now visit a page that has news stories such as the Victoria Times Colonist , navigate to a story and press ENTER to open it.
  9. You can DOWN ARROW through the page and see all the garbage on the page.
  10. Press the ALT KEY to bring up a menu and either UP or DOWN ARROW to “Toggle distilled page contents” and press ENTER.
  11. You will hear your screen reader say, “Simplified View”.
  12. Now what you have is the news article in its entirety without the ads and other garbage.
  13. To get the page back to normal view, repeat step 11 and press ENTER.  
  14. Press the ESC KEY to close the menu.  

Reader View for Firefox on the PC: 

  1. Open Firefox and enter the address of the page you want to visit. Let’s use the Victoria Times Colonist again.
  2. Press F9 to enable reader view.
  3. If nothing happens then reader view is not available for the current page.
  4. If Reader View is available, the page loads and is clutter free.

Mac Browsers:

Reader View for Safari on the MAC:

To display an article in Reader on the Mac, do the following:

  1. Click the Safari icon on the Dock or Launchpad.
  2. Type in the URL for the website you want to visit. For example, you might visit The New Yorker.
  3. Click the article you want to read.  You see the article with various advertisements, banners, photos, links, and so on.
  4. Click the Reader button, or press Command+Shift+R.
  5. If the article runs over several pages, Reader displays it as one continuous page so you need only scroll down, not click from one page to the next.
  6. If you need to adjust the size of the text, click the TYPE BUTTONS (the two A’s) in the upper-left corner.
  7. To exit Reader, click the Reader button, or press the ESC key to exit Reader and return to the normal Safari view of the article. Click the Back button to return to the original site.
  8. In both Reader and normal Safari view, press ⌘+= or ⌘+– to zoom in or out on the text. If you have a Magic Mouse or Trackpad or a MacBook that recognizes multi-touch gestures, you can also pinch in or out to zoom.

iOS Browsers:

Sadly, there is no Reader or Simplified View for the Google Chrome Browser for iOS.  

How to enable Reader View in Safari on iOS:

  1. Launch Safari from your Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the website you'd like to read.
  3. Tap the Reader button on the left of the address bar. It looks like a series of stacked lines.
  4. If the Reader button doesn’t appear it means the page isn’t able to be simplified.  

How to enable Reader View in Firefox on iOS:

  1. Launch Firefox from your Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the website you'd like to read.
  3. Tap the Reader button on the right of the address bar. It looks like a series of stacked lines.
  4. Double Tap it again to turn it off when you want access to more of the page.  
  5. If the Reader button doesn’t appear it means the page isn’t able to be simplified.  

How to enable Reader View in Microsoft Edge on iOS:

  1. Launch Edge from your Home screen.
  2. Navigate to the website you'd like to read.
  3. Tap the Reader Mode button on the right of the address bar. It looks like a book that is open.
  4. Double Tap the Done button to turn it off when you want access to more of the page.  
  5. If the Reader Mode button doesn’t appear it means the page isn’t able to be simplified.  

Android Browsers:

Chrome for Android

Alas, we haven't been able to get reader mode on Chrome for Android to work.Hopefully this is something that will be addressed soon in future updates.

FireFox for Android

FireFox for Android is even easier than most. Just visit a website using the app.  Now at the top of the screen is a READER VIEW button, double tap it and the clutter from the story will disappear which makes reading the news a much more enjoyable process. 

So as you can see, once you’ve mastered getting into Reader View, it can make a huge difference on optimizing the information on the page. Now get out there and get reading!


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  • Hi. I noticed the Android mobile vs stripped out the author and dateline here but that is really handy. Thanks for the tip.

    David G. Horsman on

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