How to Enable or Disable Reading List in Google Chrome

Here's how to enable Reading List in Google Chrome. Reading List is Google's answer the to Collections feature available in Microsoft Edge. With Reading list, you can collect and organize links to various websites, and check them later. It works like an advanced bookmark manager.

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Reading List has been quickly created by Google.  It took only half a year for the company to bring it to the stable version of the browser. The Reading List feature was first spotted in July 2020, and went through rapid development cycle.

Google was initially using "Read later" for the feature name, and had a number of UI versions. Initially, it was looking like a folder in the bookmarks bar. Eventually Google renamed it to "Reading List", and closely integrated it with bookmarks. Now it is rolling out to the public with Chrome 89, so ensure that you are running the latest version of the browser.

The bookmark button in Chrome 89 (the star icon in the address bar) has got a new drop-down menu. When you click on that button, it shows a menu with two entries.  The one is Bookmark this tab, which is used to be the default button action. The other one says Add to Reading List, a new option that adds the open page to the Reading list menu.

Reading List is gradually rolling out to the public, so it may take some time before it lands in your Chrome browser.

Update: In recent versions of Google Chrome, you can disable the reading list with a few clicks. No flag configuration required. Simply right-click the toolbar, and uncheck the Reading list item in the menu. See the following screenshot.Chrome Disable Reading List From The Menu

However, if you want to get rid of it completely, you can use a disable-features command line argument, as described in the "Disable" chapter below. The flag for that no longer works.

This post will show you how to enable the Reading List in Google Chrome. Also, we will review how to disable it if you don't like this new feature.

Enable Reading List in Google Chrome

  1. Close all Chrome windows.
  2. Right-click the Chrome desktop shortcut; create one if you don't have it.
  3. Add --enable-features=ReadLater after the Chrome.exe path.Chrome Enable Reading List New Method
  4. Click OK and Apply to save the shortcut changes.
  5. Launch the Chrome with you modified shortcut.

That's how you enable the Reading List in Google Chrome.

Also, here's an alternative method which works in Chrome versions prior to 95. If you stick with an older release, you can use a flag, as described in the next chapter.

Using the read-later flag (legacy method)

Note: The flag has been removed from recent Chrome versions. Use it with the older browser releases only where it is available.

  1. Open the Chrome browser.
  2. Type chrome://flags/#read-later into the address bar and hit the Enter key.
  3. Select Enabled from the Reading List drop-down menu.Enable Reading List In Google Chrome
  4. Restart Google Chrome to apply the change.

Done! You have successfully enabled the Reading List feature. You will see a new Reading list button in the bookmarks bar.

Google Chrome Reading List Button

Let's see how to use it.

How to use Reading List

  1. Open a web page you want to read later.
  2. Click on the 'Bookmark this tab' star button in the address bar.
  3. Select 'Add to reading list' from the menu.How To Use Reading List
  4. Repeat the same for other pages you want to add to the Reading list.
  5. Click on the Reading List to open what you saved earlier.Open Reading List
  6. Click on the item to open it.
  7. Hover over an entry in the list to mark it as read or remove it from the list without reading. There are tiny buttons for that.Google Chrome Reading List Mark As Read Or Remove Item

Done!

If you find no use for this new feature, you can easily disable it by modifying the mentioned flag. However, keep in mind that Google may eventually remove this option, but at the moment of this writing it works like a charm.

To Disable Reading List in Chrome

  1. Close all Chrome windows.
  2. Right-click the Chrome desktop shortcut.
  3. Select Properties from the context menu.
  4. Add --disable-features=ReadLater after the chrome.exe portion. You will get the shortcut path like this: "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --disable-features=ReadLater.
  5. Click Apply and OK.Disable Reading List In Google Chrome With New Method

You are done! Simply launch the Chrome browser using the modified shortcut to have the Reading List disabled.

Using the flag (legacy method)

Note: The #read-later flag has been removed from recent Chrome versions. Use it with the older browser releases only where it is available.

  1. Enter chrome://flags/#read-later into the address bar and hit the Enter key.
  2. Select Disabled from the drop down list next to the Reading List option.Google Chrome Disable Reading List Button
  3. Restart the browser.
  4. The Reading List feature is now disabled.

You are done.

Finally, recent Chrome versions allow disabling or enabling the Reading List toolbar button right from the context menu of the bookmarks bar. This is currently available in the Canary version of Chrome, but soon it will come to the stable branch of Chrome.

Add or Remove the Reading List button from Bookmarks Bar

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Right-click on the bookmarks bar.
  3. From the menu, select the checkmark option Show reading list. Check it to add (used by default, or uncheck it to remove the button what you want.Chrome Disable Reading List From Bookmarks Bar
  4. The Reading List will change its presence instantly.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer from Russia who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

25 thoughts on “How to Enable or Disable Reading List in Google Chrome”

  1. THANK YOU…..

    I really wish theyd stop fiddling with items, but even more so would stop forcing stuff on us without the option to remove or hide them.

  2. Thanks much! I kept clicking on this new item when I meant to click on my bookmarks. I appreciate the easy and quick way to get rid of it.

  3. Thank you for this tutorial. I hate it when Google Chrome forces random extensions without our permission every time we shut down the computer.

  4. Thank you!
    Thought I’d hit a combo of keys that perhaps I was unaware of…was trying to get rid of it.
    Now I’ve read your info…sounds useful.
    Cheers!

  5. Thank you so much. I use the quick click bookmark function of the star so much that it baffles me why they’d add a drop-down to it for this stupid feature. So glad there is a way to disable it. If I want to read something later, I’ll just add it to my bookmarks, given this reading list seems to be no different in any way.

  6. how do i remove the reading list that has suddenly popped up on my screen in my favorites toolbar? I cannot seem to remove it.

  7. Excellent, Thank you. I disable most of chromes new features, just want an old fashioned browser with no clutter.

  8. unfortunately does not work for me. When I hit enter I just get a list of pages as in a google search to do with disabling the reading list. No drop down or other options anywhere to be seen.

  9. Nice feature, but I must say the the ability to categorize and make Collections of similar topics like Edge is a much better feature

        1. Found a solution here: https://www.blееpingcоmputеr.com/fоrums/t/760264/chrоmе-for-windоws-how-tо-disаblе-the-reading-list/?p=5266922

          Just have to enable “Temporarily unexpire M94 flags” (and restart) to get “Reading List” back (so you can disable it)

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