The Four Google Chrome Extensions For Easier Online Reading

Matt Smith 07-09-2010

<firstimage=”//”>web readingWhile the Internet is a great source of information, the information sometimes isn’t displayed in the best fashion. Web content is usually supported by advertising, and that’s fine – except ads can sometimes be distracting. Font and style choices can also be a problem. A poor combination of background and text can make it impossible to read a website.


It would be great if web designers stopped making poor design choices, but that’s unlikely to happen. Not everyone is an experienced designer. However, there are a number of Chrome web reading extensions that can be used to combat hard-to-read websites and banish all hints of eye strain.

Reading Glasses

Many website distracts are placed outside of the site’s main text. These distractions – typically advertisements or introductions to other parts of the site – are fine by themselves, but they can become very annoying if they prevent you from concentrating on a long or complex article.

web reading

The Reading Glasses extension makes it possible to side-step this problem by fading out everything on a website except for the selection that you want to read with a single click. The rest of the website is still there, and you can still interact with it, but you’ll no longer be so distracted.


Reading Glasses is also smart enough to display an entire selection of text even if you select only a small part of it.

ChromeVis [No Longer Available]

The ChromeVis extension, which is actually made by Google, is a quick-and-easy way to make obscure text readable. Once you’ve installed ChromeVis you can activate it at any time by pressing the “0” (as in zero) key. Any text that you have selected will be displayed at the top of the browser in a high-contrast format. You can  select between different color schemes by pressing number keys 1 through 6.

internet reading software

ChromeVis also offers numerous keyboard control functions that make it easy to navigate through text. For example, pressing Shift+S will move the text forward by one sentence.


A full listening of available hotkeys can be found by right-clicking on the ChromeVis icon in the upper right of Chrome and clicking Options.


Web designers usually have to cater to the lowest common denominator. This means that webpages are usually no wider than 800 or 1024 pixels. Obviously, such a web page is going to look rather silly if you have the page maximized on your 1080 px monitor. Webpages can be hard to read on monitors with a high resolution as well.

internet reading software

Zoomy [Broken URL Removed] tackles this problem by automatically adjusting Chrome’s level of zoom when you have a web page maximized. If the page’s standard size is much smaller than your monitor the browser automatically zooms in until the page takes up the entire width of your display.


This isn’t for everyone – it may be annoying for experienced web users – but it is excellent for people with vision difficulties.

Plain Clothes

Today’s Internet looks a lot better than the Internet of a decade ago, but it isn’t necessarily easier to read. That’s because many of the style decisions made on today’s websites are optimized to grab visitors quickly with a slick, modern design.

Some functions of the Internet are obscured, as well. Hyperlinks Check Your URL's With The Free Document Hyperlink Checker Read More , for example, can be difficult to detect become some designs do not make a clear distinction between normal text and text containing a link.

web reading


Plain Clothes solves this by “unstyling” the web. All of the fancy CSS work is torn away, leaving behind only the basics. The resulting bare-bones site isn’t pretty, but it is sometimes easier to read and navigate. I’ve also noticed that some websites seem to load more quickly with Plain Clothes on, although this could be my imagination (the extension’s authors makes no claim that the extension will improve load times).


It is very easy to dismiss a website or blog because it is hard to read even if the information on it is worthwhile. I’ve found that I don’t have to use these Chrome extensions The Best Chrome Extensions A list of only the best extensions for Google Chrome, including suggestions from our readers. Read More constantly, but having them loaded can be extremely handy from time to time. Begone, headaches and eye strain! These goggles actually do something.

Related topics: Google Chrome, Reading.

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  1. Ghost
    September 17, 2010 at 9:16 am
  2. Gaming PC
    September 13, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    There's some ace SEO plugins now for Chrome as well worth checking out.

  3. Saikat Basu
    September 10, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Nice post Matt. Though I use Firefox for my browsing mostly, after your post I am thinking of converting Google Chrome into a dedicated web reader with the help of these cool add-ons. They will help when one has to read lengthy text.

  4. Elvin
    September 8, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    i`m using iReader. I love reading blogs with that. You should try it some time. :)

    • jmitch
      September 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm

      I just found iReader today very nice extension. Looks better than any of the ones list here, but pretty much the same as Eye Glasses

  5. Amaan 1996
    September 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Misleading title. I thought, like reading eBooks online. :@

    • Mark O'Neill
      September 8, 2010 at 5:20 pm

      No, it isn't misleading, you just misunderstood. There's a difference :-)

  6. CGA
    September 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Zoomy is indispensable if you're running high resolutions.

  7. Dimitris Tzouris
    September 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    You forgot to mention Readability Redux, similar to Reading Glasses.

    • M.S. Smith
      September 9, 2010 at 3:14 am

      That's a good one I missed. Definitely worth checking out.

  8. sachxn
    September 7, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    i am using reading glasses...others are new..thanks for sharing