Reading Large Documents On Line

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The technology of a paper book is remarkably user friendly. Your fingers have learned to turn pages without your having to give the process any thought, and this becomes so automatic that after a while the book virtually disappears, and all that remains is you, the author and the story. The common wisdom has been that it would always be easier to read from a printed page than a web page.

But as web technology gets better, the computer gets closer to the book, and under the right conditions, it has now become practical to read large amounts of text on line. The primary obsticle may be that some monitor widths create text lines that are longer that the optimal length. To improve the experience, you can do four things:

  • Adjust the font size displayed by your browser to whatever works best for you, which may vary from page to page. Sometimes larger font sizes have thicker letters; it's better to stick with smaller fonts if you find them easier to read.
  • In Windows, make sure your computer is displaying smooth fonts. This varies by operating system version, and a web search for “smooth fonts” should provide the details for your computer. This is also called “anti-aliasing.”
  • Click the browser window size button, generally near the upper right corner of the screen, to reduce the window to less than the entire screen. Stretch your window to the full screen height, then reduce the width to create text lines short enough to read comfortably, usually with no more than 80 to 100 characters per line.
  • Use a mouse with a scroll wheel. This is the inovation that has finally made web page scrolling as easy as turning the pages of a paper book.
Opera users: The Opera browser can display longer text lines than Explorer or Firefox, and you may want to resize your browser window for shorter lines when reading large files.



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