Remove web clutter with Readability for Chrome

Reading glasses

Reading glasses

Some web pages are so cluttered that it is hard to read the actual content. There are menu bars, banner and skyscraper adverts, sharing buttons, links to other pages, comments and more. To make matters worse, many page elements trigger effects as the mouse moves over them, such as pop-ups, pull-downs and slide-outs. Readability, a free extension for Chrome, cuts out the distractions leaving the content easy to read.

What is the Readability extension?

To see the effect that Readability has, here is a news page from the CNET website.

How to use Readability

Clicking the Readability icon at the right side of the address box displays a menu with three options. The first one is Read Now.

The three Readability options

Selecting it reloads the page in the web browser and after a second or two it looks like this:

After using Readability

Notice how much cleaner and simpler this web page is. All the clutter, menus and other features have been hidden and there is a headline and body text. This is far easier to read and much less distracting than the original. You can’t see in these static screen shots, but the original page has animated adverts that constantly flash while you are trying to read.

The second option on the Readability menu enables you to use the Read Later function and this saves the page to a reading list. This can be accessed through the Readability website ( and you can reload those pages you saved earlier or archive old links.

Read Later is optional, but if you want to use this feature it requires that you sign up/log in with Facebook or an email address. The Readability website is a sort of social network and you can choose to follow people and this shows what they recommend reading. People following you can see what you recommend reading too. You don’t have to sign up to use the Read Now function which cleans up web pages and it is only for storing pages for reading later.

The third option on the Readability menu is Send to Kindle and this works by sending the page to your Kindle email address. If you have a Kindle device or the Kindle app on a phone or tablet, go into Settings, Account Settings and your Send-to-Kindle email address ( is displayed. Send any document to this email address and it can be read on the Kindle device or Kindle app on phones and tablets.

Get Readability for Chrome

Adding Readability to Chrome is straightforward and you just need to go to the Chrome Web Store. Click the install button to add Readability and as soon as the button appears in the toolbar it is ready to use.

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