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While reading, I prefer that the text width is "reasonably" small and centered in the middle of the window (just to make an example, pick a blog post layout or the layout of SuperUser itself, which I find easily readable).

I am looking for a way to reduce the line width for all those pages out there which strech from one edge to the other of the window (example: a page from wikipedia). Simply zooming is not effective, because the width doesn't change, and is also not pleasing because it fattens the font size.

Is there some addon which gets this ? I have found, in the accessibility type of extensions, things like Readable which is almost there, but not quite (which is not surprising since I am not using it for its primary purpose).


I have found another application called Readable which almost fits the bill. Only problem is that on some pages it doesn't extract all the text but starts more or less in the middle.

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migrated from Jun 21 '11 at 1:57

This question came from our site for power users of web applications.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have you used Greasemonkey before? Not sure how technical you want to get, but I just put this together:

// ==UserScript==
// @name           Blog width
// @namespace
// @description    Narrow line length on blogs
// @include        http://*blog*
// ==/UserScript==
var sheet = document.createElement('style');
sheet.innerHTML = 'body{ text-align: justify; font-size: 110%; width: 50%; margin-left: 25%;}'

You could fiddle with values inside the sheet.innerHTML to adjust sizes and positions. You can modify the excludes/includes to get it to run (or not run) on the pages you like.

There is also a firefox addon called Stylish that does similar things as Greasemonkey, but sticks mainly to styles, I believe - I have not used Stylish before so I cannot say for sure.

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I will get as technical as it needs be, thanks for the suggestion I am going to try it right now! – Francesco Jun 22 '11 at 21:21
this is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot. I didn't know about Greasemonkey (showing my age, I fear...) – Francesco Jun 22 '11 at 21:30
Great! I'm glad I could point you to an awesome addon! It really is powerful, and there are a lot of scripts already out there for you to browse at – BrianH Jun 23 '11 at 12:45

Normally I use the Evernote Clearly add-on to make web pages more readable. In most cases it produces a very nice output, but, unfortunately, for wikipedia, it looks a bit strange.

I just took the Greasemonkey script written by BrianH above, and changed it in a way that it applies only to wikipedia, and makes the line width approximately 80 characters wide, which makes the text more comfortable to read. All credits to BrianH

// ==UserScript==
// @name           Blog width
// @namespace
// @description    Narrow line length wikipedia
// @include        http*://**
// @grant          none
// ==/UserScript==
var newWidth = '50em';
var sheet = document.createElement('style');
sheet.innerHTML = 'body{ text-align: justify; font-size: 100%; width: ' + newWidth + '; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}';

var headPan = document.getElementById('mw-head'); = 'auto'; = newWidth;
var leftPan = document.getElementById('mw-panel'); = 'auto';

And this is how it looks like: enter image description here

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The readability add-on strips pages down to their main text (as best as it can judge).

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Thanks but i am not looking exactly for that: I would simply like to "reformat" like if I had resized the window. While keeping the window fully open. Look at the layout of this site: on the left of the questions and answers there is a lot of free space and it helps a lot the usability/readability for the site. – Francesco Jun 20 '11 at 18:01

You can use the Firefox add-on "Column Reader".

The user interface takes some getting used to, but basically you:

  1. Click the column reader icon
  2. Move your cursor around the web page until the red box surrounds the text you want to read
  3. Double click
  4. Set column count to 1
  5. Set layout to scroll
  6. Set margins as desired
  7. Save your settings
  8. Read
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