The Reader View feature in Mozilla Firefox can vastly improve the readability of a webpage, but is there anything that you can do if a particular webpage does not appear to support the feature? Today’s SuperUser Q&A has some helpful suggestions for a frustrated reader.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader xypha wants to know if there is a way to force-enable Reader View in Mozilla Firefox:

My initial query was, “What determines if a webpage can or cannot be displayed in Reader View in Mozilla Firefox?”, but I found the answer in a Webmasters StackExchange Q&A post.

As I understand it, websites that do not automatically show the option to enable Reader View have a problem with their code, tags, html, etc. The Mozilla Firefox support webpage for Reader View suggests something similar:

  • If a page is available in Reader View, the Reader View icon will appear in the address bar.

My question is, if the Reader View icon does not appear in the address bar, is there a way to force-enable Reader View on those webpages? I visited this discussion on Reddit, but it did not answer my question.

I am not sure an addon will provide a solution. Maybe this can be done with a script, a Mozilla Firefox setting in about:config, or something else entirely?

Is there a way to force-enable Reader View in Mozilla Firefox?

The Answer

SuperUser contributor someusername has the answer for us:

You can try installing this extension that will force-enable Reader View even if the icon is not displayed.

  • This addon adds a button to the toolbar. Clicking on it activates the Reader View feature even if the icon in the address bar is not present. Technically, this addon prepends “about:reader?url=” to the current tab’s address.

Alternatively, you can use Reader View on any website. In the address bar type:

  • about:reader?url=

And replace with the one you want.

If you use Pentadactyl, you can create a command:

  • :command reader execute “open about:reader?url=” + content.location.href (And then you type :reader to get the Reader View)

And with a key shortcut:

  • :nmap :reader (A simple Ctrl+R and that is it)

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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