Ask LH: How Can I Make Grey Text More Visible?

Dear Lifehacker, What can I do to counteract the current trendy habit of making text on web pages pale grey? My eyesight is slipping as I get older, I'm having trouble deciphering it. Are there any settings or software that fix this? Thanks, Grey Away

Blindfold picture from Shutterstock

Dear GA,

We've actually had a reader write in to ask this exact same question before, so you're definitely not alone!

The Luddite solution is to copy and paste the text into a Word document for offline reading. You can also enlarge the text on web pages by pressing the CTRL and + keys at the same time, which may help with visibility.

Alternatively, there are plenty of tools and extensions available that can completely change the colour and font to something that's easier on the eyes.

Below you'll find an option for each of the main types of internet browser (just follow the instructions for the browser you use most regularly):

Internet Explorer

Follow these steps to choose the fonts and screen colors that will be used for websites that do not specify those settings.

 

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
  3. To change the font, click the General tab, and then click Fonts. Specify the fonts you want to use, and then click OK.
  4. To change the colors used, click the General tab, and then click Colors.
  5. Clear the Use Windows colors check box, and then select the colors you want to use.
  6. When you are finished selecting colors, click OK twice.

If you want to have the fonts and colors you specify in Internet Explorer to be used for all websites, regardless of the fonts that have been set by the website designer, follow these steps:

 

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Internet Explorer.
  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
  3. Click the General tab, and then click Accessibility.
  4. Select the Ignore colors specified on webpages, Ignore font styles specified on webpages, and Ignore font sizes specified on webpages check boxes, and then click OK twice.

Google Chrome

Change Colours is a self-explanatory extension for Chrome that lets you change a webpage's styling to suit your preferences including colour and font size.

    Features list:

     

  • Quick page action to apply/remove styling overrides on a per page, per domain or global basis.
  • Optional font family and font size configuration
  • Ability to add new custom fonts
  • Optional background, text, links and visited links color configuration
  • Option for showing/hiding images
  • Option for showing/hiding flash objects
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Revamped options page for better usability (color preview, automatic saving)
  • New method for styling override (faster and mostly no flicker effect)

Get the extension here.

Mozilla Firefox

NoSquint is a Firefox extension that lets you adjust both text and images including zoom levels and color settings.

Having a hard time reading on the web? Is that website with the ridiculously small font and hot-pink-on-slightly-darker-hot-pink text raising your blood pressure? NoSquint can:

  • Override the default text-only and full-page (both text and images) zoom levels for all websites
  • Enforce your own foreground and background colors
  • Remember your zoom levels and color settings per site, automatically applying them when you return.
  • Disagree with what NoSquint calls a site? A powerful exceptions mechanism lets you split up or group together sites with URL patterns.

Get the NoSquint add-on here.

Safari

To adjust website text colour in Safari, simply head to the Appearance tab in the preferences menu. You can set fonts, colors, etc to suit your preferences.

 

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    Or, you could just do Ctrl-A.

      Ctrl-A and also selective highlighting with the mouse are the methods I now use.

      At least this "phase" of using pastel on pastel will be gone soon, and if web design follows fashion the 1982 pastels fad was replaced with primary colours.

        I have been using javascript bookmarklets for years to improve the readability of web pages. Should work on any browser that supports javascript. One click and text and/or background is reset.

        Explained here with sample scripts to copy

        https://www.squarefree.com/bookmarklets/zap.html

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