Use Safari 5′s Reader for easier reading on the web

Use Safari 5′s Reader for easier reading on the web
Mac Tip #442, 23 June 2010

An ordinary web page.

An ordinary web page.

The text on many web pages is just too darn small! My latest MacBook Pro has quite a high resolution screen so everything looks smaller, and text is harder to read. Of course you can zoom in, but Safari Reader is easier and a much more elegant solution.


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Safari 5 has the Reader feature

This Tip will be meaningless if you use an older version of the Safari web browser. Make sure you have version 5. It requires at least Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8.

Reader only works on some web pages

I haven’t been able to discover what factors on a web page prompt the Reader feature to become available. If you try to use Reader and it’s not there, try another website. Unfortunately Reader is not available on

This Tip is being published at around the Solstice time. My screenshots show me reading a page about what Solstice is.

Engage or Exit Reader

After loading a page where Reader does work you’ll see a ‘Reader’ badge at the right-hand end of the Address Bar. You can see it in my first screenshot, next to the Refresh arrow.

To read the page in Reader (or to exit the Reader) do one of these things:

  • Click the Reader badge in the Address Bar.
  • Choose Enter Reader from the View menu.
  • Press Command (⌘) Shift (⇧) R.
Safari Reader is active.

Safari Reader is active.

You can also exit Reader by clicking the X at the right-hand end of the Control Bar (see below).

When you call up Reader the usual page is covered by a transparent black overlay, with a white area in the middle. The text of the main article on the web page appears in easy to read black text on the white background.

Hide and Show the Reader Control Bar

A transparent black Control Bar appears at the bottom of the Reader. Move your mouse away from the window to make it disappear. Move your mouse back over the window to bring it back again.

Zoom in or out

To increase or decrease the size of the Reader text either click a zoom button (magnifying glass) in the control bar at the bottom of the Reader or:

  • press Command (⌘) + to increase the text size; or
  • press Command (⌘) - to decrease the text size.

Zoom In and Zoom Out are also available under the View menu.

Mail or print the article

The Control Bar also provides buttons for emailing or printing the article.

Easy and elegant

Reader is my favourite feature of Safari now. I used to spend time and effort zooming in or using the Readability bookmarklet. If I set a preference to use a minimum font size in Safari many web pages would display oddly.

Reader is elegant and easy to use. It has a benefit of also hiding all the ads and decorations and other ‘fluff’ that usually appears around web pages, making it simpler and easier to read the interesting stuff.

If you’re able to run Safari 5 then install it and try out Reader immediately. I think you’ll be impressed.

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Tell us in the Comments at the website your experiences with Safari Reader.

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  1. Graham McKay said:

    There’s another “magic” feature that I’ve discovered for Reader. For certain web sites where I read news articles that are split over several pages (ie. to increase their number of ad impressions) Reader will pull all of the pages into its single display. Much nicer than having to click the “Next” button several times.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Thanks Graham for pointing that out – it’s very helpful.

      I find I use Reader all the time. Between horrible page designs (white text on black, for example), ads, and fonts that are too small or poorly chosen, there are vast numbers of pages I don’t even try to read as they appear. I go straight to Reader and can just find out what I want from the text.

  2. Allison Sheridan said:

    Miraz – I should have read Ceeinbc’s initial comment – I had no idea this wouldn’t work on the “home” page. I get the Reader button on individual posts. Didn’t realize that’s how it should work! thanks for the help (both of you).

    Allison Sheridan
    NosillaCast Podcast at
    A technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias!
    Follow me at

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Allison, it’s very odd. I get the Reader badge on all those sites – at least on the pages for individual articles.

  3. Ceeinbc said:

    Miraz, I believe Reader only appears for specific posts or stories etc. as opposed to general ‘home page’. IOW, Reader isn’t available for your site’s home page but is fine with this individual post.


    • Miraz said:

      Well, I still only get the RSS badge. I can’t even call up the Enter Reader option from the View menu as it’s greyed out. Odd that you folks are getting the Reader option….

      Still, if you are, that’s great!

        • Allison Sheridan said:

          you’re not going to believe this, as soon as I typed that comment and hit submit – Reader showed up and is no longer greyed out. How odd is that? Obviously it’s unrelated but I’ve been searching for a solution for weeks.

          Allison Sheridan
          NosillaCast Podcast at
          A technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias!
          Follow me at

          • Miraz Jordan said:

            Thanks Allison.

            We seem to be down to just me who doesn’t get the Reader badge. :-(

            Thanks for visiting.

  4. Miraz Jordan said:

    Hi Sheryl, that’s odd. All I get is the RSS badge – no Reader. Still, glad it worked for you.



  5. Sheryl said:

    Unfortunately Reader is not available on
    Huh, it appeared for me on this article and worked like a charm.

Comments are closed.