Previously, I’ve written about my fondness for Readability, a bookmarklet that makes reading online a more pleasant and less distracting endeavor by removing unnecessary clutter and improving typography. Well, a couple weeks ago Apple introduced Safari 5, which touts a new feature closely resembling Readability called Safari Reader. Safari Reader is great, and I’ve come to use it in most instances where I would otherwise have used Readability; however, Safari Reader does not enjoy the same level of customization as Readability. Also, for some inexplicable (and inexcusable) reason, Safari Reader sets body text justified (note that Readability sets text ragged-right). Without proper hyphenation, which Safari lacks, the result can be dreadful.

There is hope for the intrepid — Safari uses the HTML file with embedded CSS located at /Applications/ (on the Mac, I’m not sure about it’s location on Windows at this time) as a template for the Reader view, so a judicious alteration can easily rectify the above. In this case, the offending statement can be found on line 85. Here’s my edited version, with that directive commented out:

.page {
    font: 20px Palatino, Georgia, Times, "Times New Roman", serif;
    line-height: 160%;
    /*text-align: justify;*/

Of course it would be simple from here to change the body fonts, colors, etc. as desired. In all likelihood this change will be overwritten by future updates, but by then Apple will hopefully have come to its senses and made ragged-right the default.