The desktop version of Google Chrome’s browser is getting a reader mode, which can be used to strip out a page’s unnecessary background clutter to make an article easier to read. ZDNet notes that the feature launched today in Chrome’s experimental Canary release, and it should make its way to more stable versions of the browser in the future.
Reader modes have become a standard browser feature. Safari added its reader mode in 2010, and Firefox and Microsoft’s Edge browser have had one since at least 2015. All three allow you to change the color of the background of the page and adjust the font size to whatever is most comfortable to read.
Edge, Firefox, and Safari already support the functionality
The new reader mode isn’t entirely new for Chrome. It’s existed for a while in the Android version of the app where it’s called “Simplified view,” and it can be turned on from the browser’s accessibility menu. The desktop version’s reader mode is a renamed port of this accessibility option, as noted in a bug report that was spotted back in February.
If you want to enable the new functionality, then you’ll need to use an up-to-date version of Chrome’s experimental Canary release. Head over to “chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode” toggle the feature on, and restart your browser. You can then put a page into reader mode by clicking the settings button on the top right of the browser and selecting “Distill page.”
Correction: A previous version of this article claimed that Safari added its reader mode in 2017. In fact, it first included a reader mode in 2010, before allowing users to make it the default way to display the web in 2017. The article had also been updated with information about how the look of reader mode can be customized on Edge and Safari. A previous version of this article also said Firefox added its reader mode in 2017. That is incorrect; it added one in 2015.