For whatever the reason Apple decided Mac users didn’t need a built-in RSS reader and chose an even simpler method to browse multiple websites with Favorites and Sidebar. Yet, one of my favorite options is the Reader button in the URL Search Field. Browse to an article, click on the Reader option and Safari cleans up the webpage so all that’s left to view is headline, date, and the article. No sidebar, no annoying promotions or advertisements.
It’s just content. Boring, vanilla content.
What if you want to customize Reader a bit; perhaps change the text color, or the background? For that you need CustomReader, a free Safari extension that gives you a bit more control over webpages.
Install the Safari extension, open up a web page, and click on the double letter icon on the right side of the URL bar.
The options in CustomReader are obvious.
Click the letters at the top of the drop down menu to make the text larger or smaller within Reader. Click to select the background color; white, beige, gray, or reverse text to white on a black background.
The extension also gives you can option to change the font to something perhaps more readable. The choices are numerous.
- San Francisco
- Times New Roman
Right-click anywhere on a Reader page and you get a pop up window with even more customizable features. The Basic tab gives you controls over Body Font and Heading Font, plus Text Color and Background Color. Even the Page Width can be zoomed to a specific setting.
The Other setting has options for an Activate Reader keyboard shortcut, printer font size, print margins, and even scrolling speed.
Click anywhere outside the pop up window and it disappears and takes you back to Reader mode.
CustomReader also has an Advanced tab so you can really get your Mac geek on. This tab lets you edit the injected stylesheet (can you spell C S S?). Any CSS rules you assign will show up the next time you open a page in Reader. Check the CustomReader website for the how-to details as options vary a bit between Safari browser versions.
In the end, what you get with CustomReader is something like you’d expect Apple to provide– a way to improve on Reader basics– fonts, background colors, font size– but which Apple ignores. I’ve noticed that some custom fonts won’t change the font in CustomReader on some website pages. Otherwise, CustomReader makes reading articles in Reader a bit easier on the eyes.