Many of us are into blogs and news these days. A lot of these sites are professionally designed and easy to read, but a majority of the sites are designed keeping in mind ‘the required exposure to advertisements’.
As a result, readability suffers at times. If you come across such a site or you would like a consistent look and feel across all the articles that you read so that you can scan them faster, here are some ways to make reading articles easier on the eyes and (thus easier to print as well). So, how to print a web page the way you want it?
Subscribe to RSS feeds
Number one on the list and an absolute must do if you are into serious reading. One – it would keep you updated with all the latest content. Two – Many sites offer full text articles so you would be able to read, print, email article from within your RSS reader without having to visit the site. Try out Google Reader if you are getting started with RSS. If you never subscribed to sites using RSS feeds before, you should definitely give it a try. Here is the MakeUseOf RSS feed.
Readability is a simple yet wonderfully useful idea. Visit Readability and choose the basic setting as in how you would like to view the page. Customize it with the help of the example to see how you would like it best. Click and drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar.
Now whenever you visit a site you would like to spend some time reading upon, just click the bookmarklet to view it according to your selected settings. It doesn’t work on all sites as you might expect it to. Try it on MakeUseOf (it didn’t work correctly when I tried it.).
Firefox – Aardvark
One of my favorite extensions for Firefox, Aardvark lets you play with the structure of a webpage. Want a distraction free view of only the article on any website? Just Start Aardvark, hover over the article till you see a red rectangle bounding the article, press i (to isolate) and enjoy the view.
Additionally you may use Ctrl + + or Ctrl + Mouse Wheel up to zoom into the page to make the text look bigger. This may seem too much of a task at first but just try it for a day or two and you will make it a habit. Requires just 2 key presses (and some mouse positioning) and bam you’ve got your content.
There are a number of other options for Aardvark, it has been covered previously in detail on MakeUseOf.
A site similar in concept to what Aardvark does. You enter the URL of any site and then it would allow you to retain only the content you want and remove all other distractions. Both Aardvark and PrintWhatYouLike also make excellent choices while formatting a page to be printed. They can help you save some ink and paper by only printing the content you really want and not all the accompanying links and navigation.
Same concept as Readability, but offers greater control via a Stumbleupon-like toolbar of sorts. Using the toolbar you can modify the options on the fly without having to create separate bookmarks for each setting.
Using Custom Style Sheets
You can use custom CSS (Firefox users see Stylish, Opera has it built-in) on any website to make it work according to your needs. Add in some Greasemonkey scripts and you can even get rid of the so called “clutter” and focus only on the content.
If you are into some serious reading you would greatly realize the power of the above methods in allowing you to get through the content fast and easy and print the web pages the way you want them. You might also have figured out some cool ways of your own to do the same. Please share them in the comments!