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Viewing Web Pages Clearly

or having them read aloud

My observations on particular browsers may apply to all versions, or only to the version I have. If my directions aren't quite right for you, poke through the menus until you find what you need. Don't put up with being obliged to peer at things!

Most of the text on most web pages can be changed to a larger or smaller size.
However, this setting can also affect the printing of emails. If you have a large viewing size set in Internet Explorer, for instance, emails printed from Outlook Express may be in a huge font.

Most browsers allow you, if you wish, to have your own styles that override colours, fonts and sizes set by the writers of web pages. To set your own style, here are some places to look.

To make text on an individual page bigger or smaller, try one of these.


Click "View" on the menu bar.
Slide down the menu to Text Size.
Click on Increase, Decrease, or Normal.

Internet Explorer

In Internet Explorer, click "View" on the menu bar.

In the third from top division of the menu that drops down, you will find the item "Text Size", which offers a choice of five different sizes.

Choose the size you find most comfortable. It may vary from page to page.


Click the Spanner Icon, then click Zoom.


To change the text size in Opera, click "View" on the menu bar.
Click "Zoom" on the menu that appears, then choose a percentage viewing size from the next menu.

I don't really like Opera's zoom, because it enlarges pictures as well. It does, though, seem to help with pages whose text won't enlarge in other browsers—usually because their text-size has been set for a printer instead of for viewing on the web. In the case of pages where the text is actually a picture, the size is increased, but it can be rather blurry.

Opera 8 does have one bonus feature that's very special—it will read aloud to you! It will even, if you have difficulty with keyboard and mouse, obey voice commands. In order to use these extras, you need to download and install an extra 10 megabytes. Just Google for Opera read or Opera voice to find out about it.

Have It Read Aloud

If your computer has a speech engine—there's one built into Windows XP and most Macintosh machines—there are a couple of free programs that will read highlighted text aloud. One is Read Please (12.8MB download) and another is HelpRead from the Hawaii Education Literacy Project (2.5MB download).

Neither of these programs is very sophisticated, but they are easy to set up and may be worth a try. These differ from the reading module in Opera in that they will read any document—not just web pages.

There are, of course, full featured screen readers available, but they are by no means free.

See also the note about having Opera read aloud.



Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you. My email address is here.

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