Printing Customized Text

Some people with low vision, dyslexia, and other conditions and situations that impact reading need to be able to change the way text is displayed (e.g., make the text larger) in order to read it. To learn more, see Text Customization for Readability.

It is difficult for some people to read text on the computer; they need to be able to print electronic text on paper in order to read it. For example:

Support for printing customized text:

Below are perspectives on the importance of being able to print text after it is customized to be easier to read.

User Research Survey Data

The following is from the User Research Survey on Changing Text Display for Easier Reading. The chart and table in each section repeat the same data (for people who process information differently). Comments are filtered for relevance and roughly grouped; they are not edited. There is no meaning to the numbering of the comments; they are numbered only to make it easier to refer to a specific comment.

For others

Question: How important do you think is it for other people — including people with low vision, people with dyslexia, people reading in low light when they're tired, older people, etc. — to be able to print text after they have customized it to make it easier to read?
Answers: 196

Importance for others to print:
Answer Options Response
Very important 60%
Important 26%
Slightly important 8%
Not at all important 2%
I don't know 5%


  1. I'll go this one better - Extremely Important, especially as people age.
  2. Especially for long documents -many users just can't stare at a screen for long enough to read lots of text. In my experience, this is especially true for older people.
  3. Reading on screen is not the same as reading on paper. I know the younger generation rarely prints anything any more, but there are a lot of us who still find it much easier and more comfortable to read paper documents (especially long ones) off line. Thus, I think this capability is still important.
  4. Sometimes it is uncomfortable for people to sit and read at a VTD. Having a printed copy it can be taken to a more comfortable location or referred to later when time is available.
  5. It is important to realise that people may prefer to read from a page - it might help them to focus and take in what they are reading
  6. Some dyslexic people find it much easie to read printed text
  7. Not everyone has access to specialized reading hardware, such as CCTV or dedicated magnifier.
  8. It's important to provide the same access AND the same usability to all users
  9. This is down to personal choice we must give people flexibility
  10. They should have the same printing options that they have for reading on a computer screen. If they need a larger font on the screen why would they not need a larger font when they print it out?
  11. A lot of people (including myself) do this.
  12. I do it, all the time, if I have the time, but not during work-hours.
  13. This is difficult to answer because some people still enjoy reading printed text while others prefer an electronic version because of the various display options discussed in this survey. For those who prefer light text on a dark background hard copy print is not a viable option.
  14. have not run across this problem. Typically modify computer for maximum read w/o printing.
  15. Printing is expensive. Perhaps it's better to transform text directly on the display or PC monitor.
  16. Printing offers two benefits over reading on computers/laptops - mobility and improved reading posture. Both can be offered by mobile devices like tablets. So whether printing is a good idea in today's world, remains to be investigated
  17. Most of our consumers "read" on-screen, audio or from Braillers, so conventional printouts, as it appears you are considering, are not the biggest priority. Those who do use printouts, like them for professors' notes and syllabi, online research articles, recipes, conference agendas and such.
  18. "I'm only ranking this ""important"" and not ""very important"", because I feel that most digital documents are intended for consumption on screen, not in print. Print is often not optimized for any user.
  19. In the relatively few cases where a document gives the expectation that it should be printable for reading or reference, then my answer would become ""very important"". Some examples of documents that give the expectation of printability: Ecommerce confirmation pages; maps; some PDFs.
  20. In the majority of cases, we should be providing great readability online, and education about those capabilities. If users are printing, pasting into Word docs, etc. as a workaround, then that is more likely a breakdown of accessibility and education."
  21. Most of my clients want a print-out for re-reading and record-keeping.
  22. only for certain types of content, the vast majority of web content is not consumed in a way that lends itself to printing. Printing however means lack of glare (useful for conditions such as glaucoma) and easy compatibility with simple assistive tech such as irlen syndrome colour filters.
  23. I think this could be significant enough, in terms of the user re-reading content in other contexts, that preserving stylesheet settings for printing is a good idea.
  24. If you need to enlarge or customize text on the screen that means you aren't going to be able to read standard text. It would be helpful if it printed the way I see it on the screen. It also makes record keeping easier. I now have to somehow save a web page link because I can't print it the way my monitor sees it. The same with pdf. I can enlarge it but when it prints it prints at its default value rather than at what I set it.
  25. I had students who needed the paper in front of them, down flat so they could block out everything else. Some need the larger print. It is often easier to make corrections on a printed sheet and then go back to the PDF and made the corrections there.. I have just been fighting that with an article a friend wrote, and we were trying to edit and correct. It was ONLY on the computer, and we could not get the changes like we wanted, and it was more difficult to go in and edit it on the program being used.
  26. I hadn't really thought about the ability to do this before. It means that people who modify text can choose whether they want to use a paper copy of the text or use the computer to read from. Great for children who want to be the same as their peers and don't always want to be stuck at a computer to access their school work

For You

Question: How important is it for you to be able to print text after you have customized it to make it easier to read?
Answers: 206

Importance for you to print:
Answer Options Response
Very important 37%
Important 26%
Slightly important 19%
Not at all important 13%
I don't know 5%

Note: People who need very large text or need light text on dark background, usually do not want to print text because it would take too much paper or ink. As evident from the comments below, this is a reason some survey respondents said it is not as important for them to be able to print customized text. Additionally, some respondents use screen readers to read text to them.


  1. I find it easier to read from a sheet of paper than on the screen as I can use something to block out the next line
  2. Critical for all of the above reasons.
  3. If I need to print something and it prints in a font size that is hard to read it doesn't do any good.
  4. If I customized text and made it easier for me to read, then if I needed a printed copy I would also want it in the same format. Having it print normally would mean dragging out a magnifier each time I wanted t refer to the printed page.
  5. Frequently, I turn certain paragraphs into key points, or bullets for improved visual clarity. Do this all the time for things I want to file electronically, to increase my ability to retain info & read for facts more quickly. You've made me realize how passionate I am about this topic through the detailed questions you are asking in this survey! How could I work with you? Possible? At all?
  6. I usually prefer to work with print, so this is important.
  7. "I try to minimize printing - 'save a tree'! :)
  8. However, when I DO print something, it's very important that I can read the printed page."
  9. If I can't change it to what I need there is no point printing because I won't be able to read it once its printed.
  10. Sometimes, reformatting text into black and white and printing it can be easier to read.
  11. Especially for instructions, recipes, things like that.
  12. I do this all the time with lyric sheets
  13. I rarely print out this stuff
  14. Rarely ever print out
  15. I can't read printed text anyway (it would have to be way too big to be practical).
  16. I almost never print text (the way I need it would waste so much paper). If I need to print something I print it with "normal" text and use a CCTV to change the size/contrast
  17. I dont tend to print anything and read it. I would much prefer to use my text to speech to read it so i dont have to
  18. I usually prefer on-screen. For longer articles, and book length manuscripts, I prefer Open Book, Window Eyes, or other screenreader access.
  19. It's generally easier for me to read on a computer screen, so I don't print very much.
  20. Only important if it is a very important document. Otherwise I don't print since I could only read the printed page if it were very large text and that would use a lot of paper.
  21. Really not that necessary with the measures described in the previous question with Apple computers. The real problem for me is on the iPhone, where text to speech is not so easily accessed and screen magnification is much more difficult than on a computer. I did have Windows computers till 6 years ago but converted to Apple once I found how much easier life was because of their accessibility features.
  22. I have never done that before... I do not think I ever will since I would prefer black paper and white ink. Ha. If I could do that, I would find this important because then it would mean I could take my reading where ever I wanted to go, like the park, a study lounge without a plugin, or someone's house.
  23. Never really considered this as I usually print pre-formatted materials like science papers in pdf form.
  24. I usually have to copy to word then do the changes myself and then read at my own pace.
  25. Often needed because the screen layout simply does not fit the paper and is confusing when printed.
  26. I have yet to be albe to get my print to do this. I see one thing on my monitor but it always prints what it is in the background inless I make the background the same such as what you can do in MS Word by chaning the font and size.
  27. I don't think I have ever tried this, but I think I would find it helpful, as I often do this with Word docs
  28. Why bother customizing it if you can't print it out? It's very important. I know of no websites that provide this.
  29. I don't generally print things to make them easier to read, however I do print things just for the convenience of it (eg I printed a document on how to adjust my spin bike recently so I could have it in front of me in the gym, and I have a little display book at work of ready to access information such as phone numbers of others in the building and my class lists and so on.
  30. I do genealogy, and also writing. I also edit work for people and I need to be able to see what I have customized and have it in hand to work on away from the computer. If I am editing or helping someone with a research paper, I really need it printed out so I can sit and have it in front of us, where I can mark things, and show them errors, etc..without having to haul up a computer screen and try to make corrections..especially if I don't have a computer available.
  31. This would depend on if I needed a hard copy of the text I was working with.
  32. I always read the printed copy for editing and then i will redo if necessary
  33. if i am presenting and i need my notes they have to be 18 font at least. otherwise i have to change glasses each time i look up at the audience - not good!
  34. Often I need to take materials to meetings or presentations and it would be halpful to print them out.
  35. If article requires further study, it is important to be able to print it.
  36. Yes, this is great where you need to take the information somewhere. If you can only print it in the format they have I sometimes paste things into a word document and make my own format so i can use the information
  37. If long
  38. Would be very helpful if I knew better how to do it!
  39. I wish I knew how to do that.

Other Research

See Also

[back to top of page ^ ]