Paperless? Not totally – yet. We all still have printers. Printing a website is always tedious and wasteful, with lots of ads and images that you don't need. Even the text can print strangely to the point that it's barely readable. Websites are designed to be viewed on screens, of course, and little thought is put into their ink-and-paper versions.
Reader Mode wasn't designed for printing, per se. The concept was created for commuters, who often lack the internet for their laptops and tablets. They could quickly download webpages and read them on the bus or subway. Or they can convert it to a PDF (print to PDF). Not only are pages easier to read, but it conserves printer ink, which will save you money in the end.
To activate Reader Mode in Chrome, open a new tab, and enter the following code in the search bar: chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode. This step takes you to a hidden settings menu where Google allows users to test officially unreleased features. Click on the drop-down menu and select Enabled. Chrome will prompt you to restart the browser.
After Chrome has restarted, click the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of your browser window and select Distill page. This converts whatever page you're reading into Reader Mode. The same process can be used on the mobile version of Chrome on both Android and iOS.
Steps for other browsers
For Mac and iPhone users, at the upper left corner of your browser window on either the desktop or mobile version of Safari, there is an icon that looks like three and a half lines. Tap this to enter Reader Mode. Safari's Reader Mode also lets you increase or decrease text size, which is perfect for those who prefer to read larger bolder print.
If you are using Firefox, Reader Mode is also available by default. To access it, click the icon that looks like a sheet of paper, and your webpage will instantly be converted.
Microsoft Edge users have it easy. There is a Reading Mode icon on the right side of the address bar. Click on it to read and print articles in a cleaner, simplified format.
Bonus: Use a free browser extension
If your browser still isn’t printing efficiently, there’s another option: PrintFriendly. This software automatically reformats whatever you want to print from a website. Navigation bars and ads are removed, but it goes an extra step.
PrintFriendly lets you choose what items you want when printing. For example, you can save on ink and paper easily by deleting individual images, changing font sizes, and turning text into gray instead of 100% black.
Tap or click here for links to download PrintFriendly for Chrome, Firefox, Android, iOS, Windows and more.
Submitted by ILTAn David Tobin, Applications Development Manager at Fowler White Burnett P.A.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kim Komando shares tips on how to print websites without ads and junk.