How to make your computer better for reading

Reading for extended periods of time on your computer is often a cause for eyestrain and fatigue, as many people have found out. Having discovered that university seems to consist of several lectures and tutorials interspersed with a lot of reading, there surely must be some way to improve the reading experience without printing out all the texts, especially late at night.

Make the colour warmer

For many people, making the screen warmer (that is, increase yellow/red whilst decreasing blue) makes it much easier to read. In addition, blue light has been shown to supress melatonin, the biological chemical that makes you feel sleepy, so decreasing the amount of blue light coming from your computer might also make you sleep better at night.

To do this manually, you can go to Control Panel > Display > Calibrate Colour. You need administrator permissions to do so. It may ask you to calibrate your brightness or saturation, but what you want to do is adjust the colours. When you get to the screen, reduce the amount of blue.

Colour Calibration

Alternatively, you can use this great program called f.lux. What it does is it automatically changes the temperature of your screen depending on the time of day. At night, it automatically adjusts the colour to look warmer, then it reverts back to normal when the sun rises. Note that you can disable f.lux for an hour so you can do colour sensitive work such as photo editing.

Reduce brightness

This is a fix that often works best when you’re reading in low light situations. It reduces the amount of light coming from your screen, which makes it easier on your eyes.

Reducing the brightness on a laptop can be done through the power settings. Right click on the icon of the battery on the taskbar to access this function.

Please note that if you are using a monitor instead of a laptop or tablet, you can manually adjust these settings using the buttons on the monitor itself. Usually, changing the settings on the computer will not affect the monitor, so you may have to do this manually.

Brightness

Reduce distractions

A great way to help you read is to reduce the amount of things distracting you. Close all other programs, especially social media. Adobe Reader also has a full screen function, so use it!

Increase text size

Also in Control Panel > Display is text/icon size. Often all you need to do to make things easier to read is make it bigger. Now, you don’t have to squint as much, which reduces the stress on your eyes.

Display

 

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