Reading Online: Safari’s Killer Feature

I’m not a big fan of Apple.  Who needs another browser after you’ve already installed IE8, Firefox and Chrome?  So, I saw little point of installing Safari, Apple’s horse in the browser race.  Well, it turns out Safari has a feature that other browsers lack that makes it worth the time and effort to install. 

The feature is called Reader.  It takes a web page that looks like this:



And makes it look like this:



If you do a lot of online reading this makes all the difference in the world.  Now it doesn’t work with every web page, but it does with most, like the New York Times I’m reading here.  And it’s very easy to use.  If you look closely at those screen shots above, you’ll see a blue button on the right of the URL locator box, and a purple one in the Reader view.  They both say “Reader.”  If the button doesn’t show up, the feature is not available.  That’s all there is to using it.

While in Reader there are five buttons that will appear at the bottom of the page if you hover you mouse.  They do:  shrink the font, enlarge the font, email the page link, print the reader view and quit Reader.  I wished there was a sixth nifty button:  Save for Ebook.

Reader is great for reading shorter articles online while seated at a desk, but if you find one that’s dozens of pages, it would be cool to save to my Kindle and read from my La-Z-Boy.  If you have Acrobat or a clone, you can print to a .pdf file, but I’d rather have it save to a format common to most ebook reader.

I hope IE9 would add this feature, or even Chrome, because it is annoying to use four different browsers for various reasons.  But as of now, when I want to read the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly Magazine, or most of my other favorite online newspapers and magazines, Safari is the go-to browser of the moment.  It’s like having a special large print edition that filters out all distractions.

JWH – 9/6/10

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