Read easier on iPad mini (while surfing the web) with these bookmarklets

Readability’s bookmarket lets you change font size, themes and margins

The iPad mini is a fantastic 7.9-inch tablet, though there’s no denying that there’s plenty of room for improvement when it comes the display. Factor in the smaller screen and only 163 PPI (pixels per inch), browsing the web on the mini with Safari can at times be trying. The easiest way of course is to simply double tab or pinch-and-zoom into any webpage, or better yet, tap the Reader button located in the url bar once the page has completely loaded, which then strips out everything save for the text, with the option to increase/decrease font size. But for those who like to tinker and tweak, there are other options out there that can get the job done too. More specifically, they’re bookmarklets that you can easily “install” on your mini (or any iDevice for that matter); one works very much like iOS’ Reader functionality, the other lets you change the font size right from the bookmarks toolbar.

While I may have switched over to Pocket for saving articles to read later on iOS, I still use Readability’s bookmarklet from time to time on the iPad mini. Like the Reader button, the bookmarket removes all the unnecessary clutter and displays only the text in a easy to read format. The advantage here is that aside from being able to change font size, you can also cycle through several themes (one of which is great for night reading) and increase or decrease the margins.

  1. First head over to www.readability.com/bookmarklets on your iPad mini or other iDevice (you must be on mobile device to see necessary info)
  2. Under the Read Now box, tap Select All and Copy the block of javascript code
  3. Tap the Action Add Bookmark Icon button and then select the Bookmark icon
  4. Give it a different name if you wish (i.e ‘Read Now’) and choose location of where you want to save it (Bookmarks Bar will give it easy access). Tap Save.
  5. Tap the Bookmarks icon (Bookmarks Icon) and locate your newly created bookmark
  6. Tap ‘Edit’ in the corner of the window and delete the URL that’s shown. Now Paste the javascript code you copied in step 2 into this url field, hit ‘Done’ on keyboard and ‘Done’ again in corner to complete the edit.

If you chose to save Readability bookmarklet under Bookmarks Bar, just make sure that under Setting –> Safari –> Always Show Bookmarks Bar is turned to ‘On’. Below you can see how Readability converts a webpage:

…to this after converting webpage into much easier layout for reading on 7.9-inch diplay.

Readability isn’t nearly as fast as iOS’ own Reader, though I do prefer how it formats webpages. And the fact that you can change themes/margins and embedded non-flash videos (Youtube) won’t be stripped out are just an added bonus.

Now onto the other bookmarklet. If you’ve ever wondered how to manually change font size on iOS’ Safari (there is no such feature unfortunately), this “hack” should be right up your alley. Created by Marcos Kirsch, this tweak will let you change font size on the fly, which is a great feature to have on the iPad mini.

As pointed out by Marco, there are two ways to install them. The easiest way can be accomplished on the computer, assuming you use iCloud to sync bookmarks between Safari on your Mac/PC and your iDevices. Simply drag the Font- and Font+ links found in his blog (under Method A) into your Bookmarks Bar and in a short while, they will automagically appear on your mini and other iDevices (just make sure that under Settings –> iCloud, Safari is turned ‘ON’). If you don’t have access to a computer at the moment nor use iCloud to sync your bookmarks, below are steps (Method B) which are similar to the install for Readability bookmarklet.

  1. Copy the following Javascript code on your iPad mini: javascript:var p=document.getElementsByTagName(‘*’);for(i=0;i<p.length;i++){if(p[i].style.fontSize){var s=parseInt(p[i].style.fontSize.replace(“px”,”"));}else{var s=12;}s-=2;p[i].style.fontSize=s+”px”}
  2. Tap the Action Add Bookmark Icon button in Safari and select the Bookmark icon
  3. Tap the ‘x’ to delete the title (first box) and name it Font- (or you can give it a something similar)
  4. Make sure you choose ‘Bookmarks Bar’ as the location and hit ‘Save’
  5.  Tap the Bookmarks icon (Bookmarks Icon) and locate your newly created Font- bookmark
  6. Tap ‘Edit’ in the corner of the window and delete the URL that’s shown (which will be this TouchMyApps url assuming you’ve added it from this page). Now paste the javascript code from step 1 into this url field.
  7. If you have numerous bookmarks in your Bookmarks Bar, there’s one more step to make sure that it’ll always be there for easy access.
  8. Tap Bookmarks (Bookmarks Icon), go into Bookmarks Bar folder and tap “Edit”. Find Font- and drag it (by 3 horizontal stripes icon) to the very top. It will now appear in the top left section of the bookmarks bar. Note: Make sure that under Setting –> Safari –> Always Show Bookmarks Bar is turned to ‘On’.
  9. Now copy the following Font+ Javascript code on your iPad mini and repeat steps 2 – 6: javascript:var p=document.getElementsByTagName(‘*’);for(i=0;i<p.length;i++){if(p[i].style.fontSize){var s=parseInt(p[i].style.fontSize.replace(“px”,”"));}else{var s=12;}s+=2;p[i].style.fontSize=s+”px”}

Here’s what you should see in your Bookmarks Bar after adding both Font- and Font+ bookmarklets.

By tapping on the corresponding -/+ bookmarklets, the font size on the webpage will change accordingly. To reset the size back to its default, just reload the page.

Advanced Tip: There’s a way to make it so that the incremental increases are much bigger (as pointed out by a Macrumors user), should you find that it’s somewhat of a pain to repeatedly tap Font+ to blow up the font. Here’s what you need to do. Tap on Bookmarks icon once again, locate Font+ and hit ‘Edit’. Now tap the box with the javascript code and look for the red bolded part below:

  • %7Ds-=2;

The default value is 2, which you can replace with a bigger number. I’ve been using a value of 8 and it’s worked well for me. Now when you use Font+, the font size will increase significantly more with just one tap. You can play around with the value and see what works best for you. Also, you can do likewise for Font- if you wish.

So there you have it. Several ways to increase font size on your iPad mini while surfing the web. iOS’ Reader functionality is the easiest and fastest way to go about it, though depending on how a particular webpage is designed, these bookmarklets could come in handy as well.

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