Make Reading on Screens Easier

With so much learning moving digital, some students may have a period of adjustment to the amount of reading on a computer screen. To enhance your online experience, we’ve put together a few tricks and tools you can use to make reading on a computer screen even more enjoyable.

1. F11 Full Screen
On most keyboards, pressing F11 in a web browser will make the top browser toolbar and the bottom task bar disappear. This key is helpful to minimize other distractions while reading and dedicate more of the available screen to the content you’re reading. Below you can see an example of the normal browser view on the left, and the browser view after hitting F11 on the right. To exit this full screen view, simply hit F11 again. (On some keyboards you may need to hold down the functions button (Fn) and then hit the F11 button to go full screen.)

2. Ease of Access
The Ease of Access function allows you to customize how things appear on your screen.

If you’re using a Windows computer, you can open Control Panel and select Ease of Access. Depending on the version you are using, you will see an option that says something like Make Computer Easier to See or Optimize Visual Display. From that option, you can change the size of the font on your screen, alter the contrast or transparency settings, and even launch a narrator who can dictate text on the screen.

If you’re on a Mac, you can open the Apple menu and select System Preferences. Select the blue circle with a human icon and turn on the visual aid features you want to use.

In addition to these accessibility features on the computer, there are also many apps and browser extensions that can make reading on a screen easier.

3. Just Read
Just Read is a free Chrome browser extension that allows you to declutter your computer screen when reading something online. Below you can see the difference between a normal screen on the left and a screen with Just Read on the right.

Just Read has a print option that allows you to print just the essentials of the webpage, without all the ads, pop-ups or side distractions. The application also allows you to delete elements on the read view to declutter even further. You can customize the color of the screen for night reading or reading in bright daylight, and you can change the size of the font and the width of the column of text.

4. Easy Reader
Another free Chrome extension is Easy Reader which allows you to choose just the section of a web page you want to read. Once you click on a section to read it, the application condenses that section onto a sepia colored middle pane which allows for smaller columns of text. Easy Reader even creates a table of contents just for the section you chose to read, which can be seen by hovering over the far left of the reader view.

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