Instapaper is well known for its ability to bookmark articles to read later. A simple shortcut on your browser bar allows you to save articles you want to read but don’t have time for right now. The service even removes annoying layout elements from the text for you, allowing you to focus on just the writing.
Having said that, it’s not the prettiest site on the web. The Instapaper iPhone/iPad app can be customized to look how you want, but there’s no default way to do this on the web. Enter Greasemonkey and its increasingly cross-browser user scripts. There are several scripts dedicated to sprucing up Instapaper, and one of them is right for you. Heck, if you use Chrome, you can even have the services back your readings up for offline reading. Let’s see what can be done.
There are a variety of scripts out there for changing the look of Instapaper. Perhaps the best known is Threestyled, which gives the web app a feel comparable to an iPhone app.
If you’re looking for something more understated, try Greyscaled. This theme makes use of the color gray, and gives your reading an understated feel:
Finally, if you’re a big fan of the font Helvetica, you should check out Helvetipaper. This theme gives Instapaper a feel inspired by the famous font, giving your reading a cool vibe.
Changing the look is nice, but what about Instapaper’s lack of keyboard shortcuts? Don’t fret; there’s a script for that. There’s one catch, though: you need to be using a Mac, or at least Safari. If you are, check out Instapaper Beyond, an extension for Safari that brings intuitive keyboard controls to Instapaper. It’s really nice being able to browse articles using the keyboard, so check it out.
I wish there was something like this for every platform, but it seems the extension is Safari-only at this point. Sorry everyone else!
Want access to your Instapaper articles offline? If you’re a Chrome user you can. Just install the ChromaPaper app from the Chrome Web Store. This simple app gives you a quick way to access Instapaper, and also archives all of your Instapaper articles for offline reading.
This is perfect for plane rides or other long periods of disconnection. It’s like using your e-reader to read Instapaper offline but without the investment in a dedicated device.
Great services inspire great third-party tools, and Instapaper is no exception. You can change the look and feel of this tool and even read it offline.
Have any other great Instapaper tools to share? As always, comment below. Also feel free to recommend alternative services to reading things later.