How to Enable Reader Mode on Chrome and Read Distraction-Free

Strip down distractions from websites!

by: - Last updated on: November 25th, 2021
Key Takeaways
  • Reader mode is a popular browser feature that improves readability across different websites.
  • Unlike most other web browsers that come with inbuilt reader modes, Google Chrome doesn’t offer a native reader mode yet.
  • But thanks to Chrome flags, you can enable the hidden reader mode in Chrome and strip down distractions from websites for a pleasant reading experience.

Reader mode is a popular browser feature that improves readability across different websites. It works by stripping down distractions, removing ads, and deleting unwanted elements on a webpage. All of which can cause distractions when you’re reading and lead to an unpleasant reading experience.

Chrome reader mode

While most web browsers these days offer inbuilt reader modes as part of the browser settings, those who use Google Chrome don’t have access to a built-in reader mode yet.

However, that’s not to say you can’t get reader mode on Chrome. As it turns out, Google Chrome includes a hidden reader mode since version 75 that you can activate to enable reader mode in Chrome.

Follow along as we walk you through the steps to enable reader mode on Chrome on your Mac or Windows PC.

Steps to Enable Reader Mode on Chrome

The easiest way to get reader mode on Chrome is to use Chrome flags. Chrome flags, for those unaware, are (experimental) tweaks in Chrome that let you add more functionality to the browser to improve its usability and performance.

Google Chrome supports a host of flags to help you enable various features on your browser. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll be using the Enable Reader Mode flag, which is compatible with Chrome on all major platforms, including Linux, macOS, and Windows.

To get started, first, update Chrome on your computer to the latest version. Once that’s done, follow the steps below to enable reader mode using the Enable Reader Mode flag:

  1. Visit the Chrome flags webpage on Chrome.
  2. Tap on the search bar and search for reader mode.
    enable reader mode on Chrome
  3. From the search results, tap on the button next to the Enable Reader Mode flag and select Enabled from the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can choose Enabled available in settings to get a setting for reader mode inside Chrome settings.
    enable reader mode on Chrome
  4. Once you’ve selected an appropriate option, you’ll see a message that reads Your changes will take effect the next time you relaunch Chrome at the bottom. Click on the Relaunch button on this message bar to relaunch Chrome and apply the changes.

How to Use Reader Mode on Chrome

When Chrome relaunches, go to the website or the webpage you wish to view in reader mode. Here, tap on the reader mode button (book icon) in the Chrome address bar to turn on the reader view.

using reader mode on Chrome

As soon as you do that, Chrome will strip away all the different elements on the webpage—except for the body element with text—in a monochrome scheme. So you can now read the text in this mode without any distractions.

When you’re done and want to go back to the normal mode, simply refresh the page using the Ctrl+R or Command+R keyboard shortcut or hitting the refresh icon in the browser toolbar.

Moreover, you can also choose to enable reader mode for web pages automatically for sites that support reader view. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Chrome settings (Ctrl+, or Command+,). Or, tap on the three vertical dot menu and select Settings from the menu.
  2. Click on the Search settings box and lookup reader mode.
  3. Tap on the toggle next to Reader mode for web pages to toggle it on.
    using reader mode

Now, every time you visit a website that supports reader mode, Chrome will automatically show you the article in reader mode.

Customize Chrome Reader Mode

Google Chrome’s reader mode also comes with a few customization options that can be helpful when you want to customize the appearance of web pages in reader view. These options include changing the background color, font size, and font style of the text on a web page.

To access any of these customization options, turn on reader mode on a web page and tap the A icon (with an underscore) on the top of the website. When presented with the Customise appearance window, click on the options to change their values to your preference.
customize reader view on Chrome

Enjoy Distraction-Free Reading on Chrome With Reader Mode

With the reader mode Chrome flag successfully enabled and running, you can now enjoy reading blog posts on Chrome without getting disturbed by various site distractions. Do note, however, that the browser flag is an experimental feature, so you may sometimes encounter unexpected bugs in your usage.

FAQs About Reader Mode in Chrome

1. Is reader view available in Chrome?

Yes, reader view is available in Chrome. However, as mentioned earlier in the guide, it’s not a part of the standard feature set; it’s available as a hidden feature that you can activate using a Chrome flag.

2. How do I turn on reader mode?

Once you’ve enabled the Enable Reader Mode flag in Chrome, you can turn on reader mode by clicking the reader mode button in the address bar. Similarly, to turn it off, simply press the button or refresh the page. Moreover, you can also enable automatic reader mode—for websites that support reader mode—to automatically enable reader mode on websites that support it.

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