Reader Mode: This handy Chrome extension offers text-to-speech, dyslexia fonts, and other cool customization tools

This versatile Chrome extension is great for reading -- and listening to articles.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

The tool I'm showing you today optimizes web article reading, with a bunch of clean and useful features, including accessibility tools.

There have been other solutions that clean up webpages for better reading experience, but some have been officially discontinued (like Evernote's Clearly), and others (like Readability) have just vanished from Chrome's add-ons store.

Reader Mode is a next-generation reader mode. You install the Chrome extension, and you're good to go. There is a one-time $15 fee if you want to add features like annotations and translation, but the free version is quite powerful.

Once you visit a page you want to read, you can click the Reader Mode icon in your toolbar. This cleans up the webpage and provides a set of controls on the upper right side of the screen. One of the most useful features is the Text to Speech button that will read the article out loud, and spotlight the words as they are read.


Another option allows you to set up the look of your page. As you can see, the above style is black text on white. You can select any background color and any text color, although if you choose a black background, the icons on the top left disappear.

In fact, you can do a lot to style your articles so they appear the way you'd like to see them. As a programmer, I always like everything to look like I'm viewing it in a terminal window, so I styled my Reader Mode to emulate a terminal screen (I'm kidding! Kids, don't try this at home!).


If you notice on the menu, you can define your own custom CSS, style individual components, and more. There's even a feature intended to help folks with dyslexia, including a set of dyslexia fonts, a dyslexia ruler for reading guidance, and the text-to-speech mode discussed above.

The bottom line is that Reader Mode is the nicest reader mode feature I've ever seen on Chrome. Give it a try. And don't forget to support the websites you visit, and the sponsors who support them.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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