5 Simple Tricks for Reading on a Computer Effectively

Published on June 2, 2016 by arothstein

Whether or not you’re an online student, you probably spend a lot of time reading on computer screens. E-textbooks are becoming more and more common, which has a big upside: they’re usually less expensive than traditional textbooks. The downside, of course, is that reading on a computer screen for hours on end can be tedious and tiring. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make reading on a computer screen easier, digest information more quickly, and learn as much as possible from your e-textbooks. Read on for some ideas!

digital transition

  1. Make your computer screen easier to read from: Making your computer screen easier to read will allow you to read for longer periods without eyestrain, and is probably the easiest and most dramatic change you can make to how you currently read on your computer. Here are a few ideas for making your screen easier to read from:


  1. Search for key words: Because it’s harder to skim on the computer screen than on paper, adjust your methods! Instead of skimming, make a list of key terms that you can expect to appear in the text, and use the search function to find them. Read through these sections to give you an overview of what you’re about to read, which will help with your overall reading comprehension.


  1. Continue to be an active reader: Active reading techniques such as notetaking, adding marginalia, and highlighting all help you to retain more information in the text you’re reading. Even if you’re reading on the computer, make sure you’re keeping up these practices! Use an application such as Skim, which allows you to make notes and highlight PDF documents with ease.


  1. Enable the cloud: If you use a service like Dropbox, create a file system in your cloud-based service in which you can backup your PDF files and ebooks. That way, you won’t lose important documents, and you can read them across multiple devices, which can help if you use both home and school computers.


  1. Keep your files organized: It’s much easier to glance across the titles on a bookshelf, or to keep papers organized in a notebook, than it is to access information at a glance on a computer. Compensate for this by creating an organization system for your schoolwork that can accommodate your ebook and PDF files. Use features such as color-coding and tags to indicate the subject of the document, its level of importance, whether or not you’ve finished reading it, and other information that will help you complete your reading easily and effectively.
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