I am looking for something like this:

person reading a book with a reading guide strip

(from Amazon.com)

I would like to know if there is a program with an equivalent function to a reading guide on the computer, both for web browsing and reading natively on the screen. I know Windows has a Magnifier, but that's not really useful for a child with dyslexia.

For example, I need something that follows the mouse pointer and dims (changes foreground color/transparency etc. of) the screen everywhere else, apart from a "narrow" horizontal band centered at the pointer.

Free or paid, either would do. I just haven't been able to find anything with this functionality after looking for weeks.

  • Thanks for the suggestion, I have tried the "Line Reader". It is only available for Windows and all it does is add a couple of lines below or above your mouse pointer (that you can customize by width, thickness and color etc). Not exactly the same as a "highlighting strip".
    – cvb0rg
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 17:01
  • Line Reader because I deleted my first comment. What OS do you need it for? You mentioned Windows in the question. Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


If you are reading pdfs on a Mac you could try Skim. It has a reading bar which by default focuses on one line. You can also change the colour in the menu item: Skim>Preferences>Display.

Skim reading bar

You can also "invert" the bar so that the rest of the text is hidden.

enter image description here

As far as I know you need to drag the bar from one line to the next with the mouse. There is a quick tutorial on tutsplus.

You can download the skim-app at sourceforge.net (link above). There is community of users who can help with using Skim and the documentation is good.

This page details tools for Chrome etc. web reading that might suit you. http://www.controlaltachieve.com/2016/10/special-needs-extensions.html

There is also a "reader mode" to reduce clutter and make reading easier, in Safari and Firefox, although on Firefox it is only available on pages where you see this clickable symbol in the url bar:

Firefox reader mode

And there is an iPad and iPhone app called RePaper for the web and pdfs. This webpage gives details on reader mode and RePaper: https://vsatrends.com/2016/01/04/digital-tools-for-readers-great-ways-to-save-online-content-for-reading-later/

Best of luck.


Try this digital reading strip: See-n-read.com/products/esee-n-read-2/

  • ESee-N-Read for PCs works for Windows applications Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 21:19
  • 1
    Welcome Sylvia. Would you mind expanding your answer to provide more details, and perhaps a screenshot? Thanks! Commented Nov 25, 2020 at 23:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.