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ReadPal-ThumbIt’s very likely you don’t have an attention deficit disorder or suffer from reading disabilities. It’s very likely that you might dismiss a reading aid software out of hand. But take ReadPal out for a run through a few blocks of text and you will be pleasantly surprised. ReadPal is about a better reading experience.

ReadPal works with a few Microsoft applications like Notepad, IE, MS Office, Outlook and Outlook Express.

It presents text in a clutter-free easy to read format that helps you focus while reading . The clearer approach is helpful for those with poor eyesight and also those who have poor concentration. With the clutter-free way of ReadPal comes a better reading experience. When there are no distractions between the words on the screen and the reader, the job of going over text is faster. As ReadPal says, reading becomes 42 percent faster.

For the normal user it might be difficult to prove that it helps you focus, but we can all try to prove (or disprove) that the free reading software makes for more focused reading at least. That starts with a 1.7 MB sized download of the free version.

Reading With ReadPal

ReadPal installs as a system tray icon and launches with a compatible Microsoft application. The programs that ReadPal supports includes :

  • Microsoft Word.
  • Microsoft Notepad.
  • MS Internet Explorer.
  • MS Outlook and MS Outlook Express.

If any of the documents are active, ReadPal is displayed in the top right-hand corner of the application. Clicking on the ReadPal button opens the reading screen and a selected format.


A user can select from any four of the reading modes. Column, Double Column, Banner and Sentence reading are all designed around a user’s reading needs.

For instance, the Column and Double Column are like a newspaper. It is designed keeping in mind the span of your eyes in order to help you focus on the text.

focus while reading

The Banner mode follows a user’s reading speed by scrolling words across the screen. The speed can be tweaked for reading at your own pace.

focus while reading on pc

The Sentence Mode groups each sentence and presents it to the user, one at a time. Again the speed can be adjusted around one’s comfort.

how to focus when reading

The last two are modes of active reading where the text is moved across the screen according to the speed settings. The active modes also come with speed settings which can be controlled on the fly with arrow keys.

A progress bar is like the master page turner indicating your current position and also giving you the option to skip across the content.

But it is the Auto-skim feature that really speeds up the reading. This single button function removes the unimportant words and displays the core points. It’s like shorthand for the eyes. The percentage of words that will be “˜skimmed’ can be set from the settings.


The comfort factor for the eyes lies in the Format menu. Set the font styles, the color combos and the text size to customize your reading experience and help you focus. Personally, I found the use of full screen with white text against a black background the apt choice for laser sharp focus.


A Reader’s Opinion

Intuitively, I wasn’t absolutely sure about the high percentage increase in reading speed. But I am pretty sure about a more focused reading experience. Perhaps speed is a fallout of practice. ReadPal really helped me out with large blocks of text especially which have smatterings of technical words. The one problem though is that the program is limited to a few Windows applications. There’s no Firefox and no PDF.

But then sometimes, we can’t win “˜em all. ReadPal does win some of them with its easy layout and smooth reading.

What do you think? Do you really think a reading program can help you focus while reading those dull monotonous texts?

ReadPal ver. 2.2 is free for personal use only and runs on Windows XP/2000. Vista/Windows 7 support is not explicitly mentioned.

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  1. David Rogers
    February 10, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Saikat, thanks for a nicely written article. I tried ReadPal with my W7 netbook and narrow-band thumbdrive internet connection. Was able to make it work only with .txt documents but for a guy with poor vision who likes to read it works GREAT! Now I can download .txt docs -- books especially -- and be able to read them comfortably, at last. Even with only the .txt ability on my machine, ReadPal is definitely worth it. And for geeky fun, we´ll see how the Skim tool can improve on Henry James´ convoluted passages, ha ha!

    • Saikat
      February 10, 2010 at 9:30 am

      Great! Your feedback solves my Win 7 compatibility doubts. Thanks.

  2. Doc
    February 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    "Works with Notepad, IE, MS Office, Outlook and Outlook Express." In other words, not a single program I use.

    February 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm