green on black background

You don’t need Adobe Reader to read PDF files if you have a Windows 8 computer. But you may want to download it anyway; it can make reading easier.

For example: We often get tired of reading black text on a bright white background. In fact, we get tired of it within a couple of hours. In Adobe Reader, free at  get.adobe.com/reader, you can change that.

Under the “edit” menu, there’s an accessibility option.  Click “Setup Assistant.” Then check the box that says “Use high contrast colors for document text.” From there you have a choice of green text on a black background, yellow on black, white on black or the usual black on white. We read our Samsung Galaxy manual in green text on black. It’s much easier on the eyes.

Green text on a black screen used to be the standard display for computer terminals 30 years ago. The early IBM PCs displayed either green on black or white text on blue. The convention of using black type on a pure white screen was started by Apple. Steve Jobs said it would be just like reading type on a piece of paper. Of course a piece of paper doesn’t actively shine light into your eyes. (Jobs probably didn’t read much.)

Another option is dimming the screen. Most monitors have brightness control; on laptops, just tap the brightness key. Joy tones the brightness of her all-in-one computer when she leaves her desk, to save on power and to prevent blinding Bob if he comes in to the room late at night and faces a blazingly bright gigantic screen. To do this in Windows 8, tap the Windows key and then the letter “i.” Then click “Brightness.”

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