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5 Steps to Productive Online Reading

Aardvark makes reading easier and saves paper and ink when printing. It is a Firefox extension, but is also available as a bookmarklet for Internet Explorer and Safari.

When browsing the web, I always use the printer-friendly version of a page. It frees you from all the distractions of colour and ads, letting you focus on the material itself. Pure text reduces page length and takes up far less ink when printing. However, not all articles are available in a printer-friendly version.

In this case, I use Aardvark to “make” my own. Aardvark does this by editing any HTML element in a web-site. You can see the functions below:

Aardvark options

Step 1: Activate Aardvark by right-clicking on a page (or use the bookmarklet in IE or Safari).

Step 2: Highlight the desired text (e.g. the article, blog post, etc.) using the “wider” and “narrower” functions.


Step 3: Use the “isolate” function to focus the text.

Step 4: Use the “remove” function to erase any leftover undesirables (e.g. ads, blog comments, etc.).

Step 5: Use the “de-widthify” function to change the text layout to maximize the width of your screen.

You should now have a page that reads like a newspaper. Just be sure to actually read it instead of (insert your favourite online distraction here).

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6 Responses to “5 Steps to Productive Online Reading”

  1. jw says:

    What a great find! I hadn’t heard of Aardvark before, and after trying it out might make for viewing (and printing) much, much easier. Thanks GearFire!

  2. Chris says:

    Cheers and happy reading!

  3. Nathaniel says:

    That could be handy…

  4. paulette says:

    This is a good guide for reading. It can help one reading faster.At the same time it can save time and space too.

  5. Hey – I’m not the only one who uses Aardvark for printing! I have to say, printing blog posts is pretty badly broken. I get text that’s cut off on the right, huge font, etc. I really like how LinkedIn has added a ‘print this’ icon – very handy.

  6. Chris Y. says:


    I feel your frustrations with blog printing. Aardvark is a workaround, but defintely not foolproof.