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instapaper appMake the incredibly useful but often bland reading service Instapaper more attractive and useful by adding style and keyboard shortcuts. By design this site is simple; the site’s creator says this in the Instapaper FAQ. But just because the interface isn’t beautiful by default doesn’t mean you can’t make it beautiful yourself. A variety of Instapaper enthusiasts have made plugins that change the look of your favorite tool for the better, giving it a modern interface and even keyboard shortcuts.

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.

Look

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.

instapaper 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:

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instapaper scripts

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.

instapaper apps

Feel

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!

ChromaPaper

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 How To Use Calibre To Read Instapaper On Any E-Book Reader How To Use Calibre To Read Instapaper On Any E-Book Reader Read More but without the investment in a dedicated device.

Conclusion

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.

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