How-To Geek

How to Use and Tweak Reader Mode in Safari

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

Would you like to make online articles easier to read without having to deal with scrolling back and forth or skipping between multiple pages?  Here’s how you can turn your browser into a book with Safari Reader.

Using the new Reader Mode in Safari

Safari 5 has added many features that make it a nicer browser, one of which being the new Reader Mode.  When you’re reading an article online, you’ll see a new Reader button in the top right corner of your address bar.


Here’s a close-up of the button.  It’ll appear gray before you click it.


This will open the article in a nice viewer overlay that makes the article look like it would on print.  The Reader pane hovers over the article, and swooshes in with a nice visual touch when it opens.


You’ll still see any images in the article inline as normal, and can print, email, or zoom in and out of an article from the small toolbar that appears when you hover over the bottom of the Reader pane.


If you’re reading a long article that’s split into multiple pages, Safari Reader will automatically load them so you can read the article seamlessly.  This doesn’t work on all sites, but it’s a nice feature when it does.


To go back to your main page, press the Esc key on your keyboard, the X in the Reader popup toolbar, or click the Reader button in the address bar again to close it.


Tweak Your Safari Reader

Safari Reader is a great feature, but there are ways to make it better.  Creative designers have added fonts and extra features to Reader, so let’s see how to add a customization to Safari Reader.

Find a Reader design you’d like to use, such as the Antique theme (link below), and download it to your computer.


This theme was saved as a zip file, so extract the file first so you can add it to Safari.


Now, you need to backup your original Safari Reader theme.  Exit Safari, and then in Windows, browse to the following folder; if you’re using a 32 bit edition of Windows, switch Program Files (x86) to simply Program Files.

C:\Program Files (x86)\Safari\Safari.resources

Scroll down to the Reader.html file, and change it’s name to something else, such as Reader_old.


Since Program files is a protected folder, you’ll need to approve the file rename.


Now, copy the new Reader file you downloaded, and paste it into the Safari.resources folder.  Again, approve the file transfer as before.


Now when you use Safari Reader, you’ll see the new design.  The Antique theme gives you a aged paper look with a very nice fonts from the new Google Fonts API.  It even adds more tools to the bottom popup toolbar, including a Send to Evernote button.


If you ever decide you want to switch back to your original Reader theme, just delete your new Reader.html file and switch your original Reader file back to its original name.


For more ways to make Safari useful, check out how to Add Extensions to Safari in One Click and Import Your Firefox Bookmarks into Safari.


Download Safari

Info About Safari Reader

Download the Antique theme for Safari Reader

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 08/13/10

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!