[Google Chrome Tutorial] How To Enhance Web Site Readability in Chrome

Every Friday I’ll publish a Google Chrome tutorial article.   Want to learn more and master this state of the art browser?  SUBSCRIBE to RSS feed or email updates to get more!

Modern web sites are getting more complex and readability decreases accordingly.  Many flash animations, lots of ad blocks, eye-catching graphics… there are just too many things that distracts you from reading the content of a web site.

In this Google Chrome Tutorial, we shall see how we could improve the readability of web sites in Chrome.  We shall use Chrome settings, Chrome extensions, bookmarklets and web apps to make web pages easier to read.


Chrome Settings

The easiest way to “purify” web pages is to block everything that may get you distracted.  Most of these things re multimedia contents.  You can click the wrench icon on the top right corner, choose “Settings” / “Preferences” (depending on your operation system), then choose “Under the Hood” and click the “Content Settings” button.  Here you can choose to block all images.  Besides, if you click “Disable individual plug-ins…” under “Plug-ins”, you can see a page where you can disable individual plug-ins including Flash, Java, RealPlayer, etc.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Chrome Settings

To make web pages easier to read, you can adjust the zooming and font size by clicking the wrench icon on the top right corner, choosing “Settings” / “Preferences”, then choosing “Under the Hood”.  There you can set the default page zooming and font size.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Web Content Settings

This is a universal setting that affects all web pages in all tabs.  If you only need to fine-tune a specific tab, click the wrench icon and click the + and – sign beside “Zoom”.


Chrome Extensions

There are a few Chrome extensions you can use to purify web pages.  AdBlock and Adblock Plus are two popular extensions that block ads on web pages.  For the purpose of blocking ads these two extensions are similar, you can choose whichever you like.

Google Chrome Tutorial - AdBlock

Zoomy is a Chrome extension that maximize the use of the window size.  Sometimes web designers limit the column size of web pages, the space on two sides are unused.  This Chrome extension automatically enlarge the column width and thus the size of the content.  You can see its effect in this video:


iReader is a great Chrome extension that purifies web pages.  It automatically removes unnecessary stuff on web pages.  What you get is the main text and associated images only.  This is the purified version of an article on the Guardian newspaper web site:

Google Chrome Tutorial - iReader

There is another Chrome extension, Readability that works in the same way but it has richer features.  You can select the font size, reading pane color and width.  Links could be converted to footnotes to further eliminate distractions.  A killer feature of Readability is that it can send the simplified web page to your kindle for reading.  Isn’t it great?

Google Chrome Tutorial - Readability


Notforest is a bookmarklet.  It is a bookmark stored in the bookmarks of your Chrome.  Installation is pretty easy, just drag it to the bookmarks bar in Chrome.  Whenever you want to simplify a web page, just click the bookmark and the page would be turned into a reading pane with pure text.

Google Chrome Tutorial - Notforest


Web App

My last recommendation is rdd.me, a convenient web app that not only simplifies web pages but also shorten the URLs for easy sharing.  It is a service that Readability provides, so their rendering engine are probably the same.

Google Chrome Tutorial - rdd.me

The best thing is you get a shortened URL.  You can copy it and send to your friends.  What they’ll see when opening the URL is the simplified page.  Mobile users will see a further simplified page specially for mobile browsers.

[Google Chrome Tutorial] How to Create Your Own Chrome Theme Online

Google Chrome Tutorial is a Friday post series for new Chrome / Chromebook users to learn the basic operation of Chrome. Find out more here: Google Chrome Tutorial.  SUBSCRIBE to RSS feed or email updates to have these tutorials delivered to you!

Every Sunday I recommend Chrome themes for Chrome and Chromebook users.  These themes are great but maynot necessarily match your needs.  Have you ever considered creating your own theme?  In this week’s Google Chrome Tutorial I’ll show you how to do it easily with web apps.


Theme Creator for Chrome

This is a Chrome web app you can find in Chrome Web Store.  It is a handy created by Chrometheme.net.  You can upload your own images files and customize the color settings in this web app, then pack your theme into a .crx (the official Chrome theme, app and extension file format) or .zip file for download.

Create Your Own Chrome Theme

Using it is not difficult at all.  There are four tabs on the left, just complete everything in all tabs.

How to Create Your Own Chrome Theme - Image Files

You need to have a number of image files before creating your theme.  This theme creator tells you where each image belongs to and the dimensional requirements of them.  Just follow the instructions and you should have your first theme created in 10 minutes.

How To Create Your Own Chrome Theme - Image Dimensions


Chrome Web App: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/akpelnjfckgfiplcikojhomllgombffc

Official Web Site: http://www.chrometheme.net/chrome-theme-creator-online.html


Chrome Theme Maker

This is another tool used to create Chrome theme online.  Basically its features are quite similar to the previous tool, but it allows you to choose images in their gallery instead of your own pictures.  So you can experiment with this tool immediately without having to spend time to create images of appropriate sizes.

Chrome Theme Maker


After creating the theme, you can apply it directly to your Chrome or compile it and download as a file that you can send to your friends or share online.

Official Web Site: http://www.chromethememaker.com/



Chromizer is a rather simple tool.  You cannot choose the color and image files except the background image.  Instead of using it as a theme creator, consider it as a wallpaper changer.  Since Chrome does not allow you to change the wallpaper without changing the whole theme, this is a convenient tool to customize the wallpaper (only).

Chromizer - Google Chrome Theme Creator


You can find out how to use it in a video published on its official web site: http://chromizer.com/



These are the simplest ways to create Chrome themes without any knowledge of web creation.  If you want to craft your own product by “coding”, you can read the theme creation guide of Chromium Project and this Lifehacker article.

[google chrome tutorial] 5 Alternatives to Chrome Browser

Starting mid-October, every Friday I’ll publish a Google Chrome tutorial article.  Want to learn more and master this state of the art browser?  SUBSCRIBE to RSS feed or email updates to get more!

Are you using Chrome?  According to Google Analytics statistics, over 60% of my visitors land on my blog using Chrome.  How did the remaining 40% people browse this site?  Apart from the popular Firefox (around 20%), I could find other less common browsers, including Chrome variants.

Chrome variants?  Yes.  Some Chrome users may not know that there are other browsers using same core engine as Chrome.  These browsers are developed to provide additional / different features and have serve different purposes.



Technically speaking Chromium is not a “variant” of Chrome.  Chromium is an open-source browser project behind Google’s Chrome.  If you haven’t used Chromium before, you would be surprised to found how similar it is to Chrome.  Basically they have the same core so that are almost the same, except a few things added by Google, such as built-in PDF viewer, bundled Flash player and (of course) the Google Chrome logo.

It is probably the most popular open-source browser employed by different Linux distributions.  It is fully compatible with Google Chrome, meaning that your Chrome web apps, Chrome extensions and Chrome sync are all workable in Chromium.  As long as you choose to synchronize the Chromium with your Google account, you get the same experience in Chrome and Chromium.

Chromium browser

Besides, many new features are tested on Chromium before transferred to Chrome, meaning that if you like trying new things, Chromium lets you preview what may be included in the next major release of Chrome.

Read more »

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