More Browser Features You May Not Be Using – Google Chrome

Google Chrome icon

Today, I continue the series called “Browser Features You May Not Be Using.” This is the second post in the series. You’ll find the first one which was all about Microsoft Edge HERE.

Reader

Unlike Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome’s Reader is (strangely) not turned on by default. Here’s how to turn it on:

  • Open Google Chrome and in the address bar, type chrome://flags
  • In the search field at the top, type reader
  • The first result should be “Enable Reader Mode”
  • Using the drop-down menu on the right side of the Reader Mode, choose Enabled.
  • As the pop-up window indicates, you will need to relaunch Chrome before the change can take effect.

Now that the reader is enabled, it acts just like the one in Microsoft Edge. The feature doesn’t show up when you’re searching or on a page with tons of stories. However, if you click on one of the articles, at the right side of the address bar, you’ll see this:

Google Chrome Reader icon in address bar.
I’ve circled the Reader icon

You should be familiar with the Star icon – that’s how you mark a page a Bookmark (aka Favorite). The Reader is the left icon. If you click or tap it, you’ll then see this:

Google Chrome Reader icon colored blue meaning it is active

The Reader icon is now blue and the story you were viewing doesn’t show ads and/or other distracting graphics.


Text Preferences

Once you are in Reading mode, an icon appears on the right-side just above the text.

One of the browser features you may not be using - text preferences

When you click or tap the icon, this window appears:

Screenshot of the Chrome text preferences

Using the features available, you can change the Font (limited fonts available), the text size and the color of the background. You might note that if you choose the black background, the text automatically changes to white.

Read Aloud

Again, unlike Microsoft Edge, there is no built-in method of reading a page aloud. However, you can easily add an extension that will read you a page. The extension is found in the Chrome Web Store. Rather than making you search, you can go to it directly by clicking HERE.

Once you’ve added the Read Aloud Extension, you’ll see this icon in your list of extensions:

The Chrome extension Read Aloud icon circled in read.
Read Aloud icon is circled in red.

When you want a page read aloud to you, simply click or tap the icon. Once the audio begins, you’ll see this window:

Chrome Reading Aloud extension control window

At the top of the window, you can pause and restart the reading or stop it altogether. By using the arrows, you can move forward and backward. You should note that the text being read is highlighted in yellow.


Grammar Tools

Google Chrome doesn’t have built-in grammar tools like Microsoft Edge does. Instead, you need to install an extension to perform these functions. There are a number of grammar extensions available. Find a list of them HERE. For the record, I use the Grammarly extension which you can find HERE.

Grammarly for Chrome control window

Translator

You might begin to see a pattern with Google Chrome. If you want the ability to translate a web page, you need to add an extension. I prefer the Google Translate extension which you can find HERE.

Reader Example

Let’s look at some examples of the Google Chrome Reader. While these images are small, just click or tap on a photo and it will show you the full photo. We’ll start with a normal article:

Example of a webpage in normal view.

In the article above (remember, you can click or tap it to see it larger), I put a red circle around the Reader icon. Now, if you were to select the Reader icon, the page would appear like this:

A page in Reader mode.

Translate Example

Using the same page as above, I used the Google Translate extension. I translated the page into Spanish:


You might take note of the arrow on the left side of the picture. I inserted it so you would see the drop-down menu you use to pick the language into which you want to translate.

Now It’s Your Turn

It’s now your turn to try these features. Oh, you don’t use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (which we covered previously)? Have no fear, this series will continue with Firefox, Safari and Opera. Still, if you have Chrome – even if you don’t normally use it – give it a try.

By the way, if you’d like to visit the same page I used in this post, you can find it HERE.

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About the Author

John Grubb

I've been working on computers since 1983! I love helping people resolve their computing issues and sharing preventative measures, as well.