How to use the Chrome reading list on a computer or mobile

Are you using the reading list in Chrome on your PC, Mac and phone? It is a useful tool for storing web articles you want to read later or remember. Here is a guide to using in on your computer and phone.

As you are browsing the web you will come across many articles that grab your attention. However, you may not have time to read them right now. You can add them as bookmarks in the browser and later you can click the bookmarks to revisit the pages.

It is useful to do this when you are researching something either for work or just out of interest. Search for something at Google, then visit pages that look interesting and bookmark them to read later.

Chrome reading list vs bookmark

Chrome reading list is a type of bookmark. It is a special type of bookmark. It is not quite identical and sometimes it is best to save a site as a bookmark and other times to the readling list.

When you come across an article online that you want to read later, it can be saved to the reading list. If you want to save a web page or site permanently, or if you want to organize the URLs you save, create a bookmark, because they can be organized into folders.

Think of the reading list as a temporary place to store interesting pages you find on the web and bookmarks as organized permanent storage.

Chrome reading list offline

There are a couple of advantages of using the reading list instead of a bookmark and one is that web pages on the reading list can be read offline. If you have no internet connection, tapping a bookmark just shows a message saying that you are not online. Tap a link in the reading list and the page is displayed. You can put your phone into flight mode and still read web articles saved to the reading list.

Another useful feature is that it is a simpler and easier place to store bookmarks. If you have hundreds or even thousands of bookmarks, a new one can can get lost among them. The reading list is a useful place to keep them. It is quick to access and find a recent URL you saved.

Use the Chrome reading list on PC/Mac

The reading list is a feature of Chrome and so it can be used wherever you use Chrome, like a PC, Mac, Linux or Chromebook.

Open the Chrome side panel

The side panel in Chrome showing the reading list.
Open the side panel in Chrome to see the reading list.

Look in the top right corner of the browser window and there is a rectangular icon. Click it to open the side panel on the right. It usually shows the reading list, but it can show other things too, so if you do not see it, select Reading list in the menu at the top of the panel.

Save pages to read later

Click the + Add current tab button to save whatever page you are currently looking at to the reading list.

Chrome reading list on a computer.
Items in the Chrome reading list panel

When you have added a few web articles, the reading list will look like this. Add as many web articles as you want. If you want to save a website’s home page, create a bookmark, but if you want to save an article for reading later, add it to the reading list. Remember that it is saved for offline reading too.

Manage the reading list

Click an item in the reading list to view the page. Move the mouse over an item in the reading list and two buttons appear. The tick enables you to mark the item as read and the cross enables you to remove the page from the list.

Mark reading list items as read.
Mark as read or delete Chrome reading list items

Right click (PC) or Ctrl+click (Mac) an item in the reading list to display a menu with various actions on it, like opening it in a new tab, window or incognito window.

Right click reading list items for actions.
Right click Chrome reading list items for actions

There does not appear to be a way to move an item in the reading list to bookmarks on the computer (it can be done on a phone), but you can click the item to go there then click the star at the right side of the address box to bookmark it. The reading list item can then be deleted.

Sync the Chrome reading list

The reading list syncs across all instances of Chrome browser, so it appears on other computers and operating systems, and even on your phone. If it is not syncing, check the settings.

Click the three dots in the top right corner of the Chrome browser and select Settings on the menu. Select You and Google in the sidebar and then Sync and Google services on the right. Click Manage what you sync and make sure the switch next to Reading list is turned on.

Use the Chrome reading list on mobile

Everything is available in Chrome on your phone and syncing is two way, so anything you create on a phone is synced to your computer and vice versa. Here I access the Chrome reading list on Android for these screenshots.

Browse with Chrome

Chrome browser on an Android phone.
Open the menu in Chrome for Android

Open Chrome on your phone and browse to a web article. Press the three dots in the top right corner to open the menu

Bookmark a website on Android

Bookmark a website in Chrome for Android.
Bookmark a web page

When the menu opens, there is a collection of icons at the top. Press the star icon to create a bookmark. We actually want to save this page to the reading list, but bear with me.

Edit the bookmark

Bookmark a site in Chrome for Android.
Edit the Chrome bookmark for Android

A small panel appears at the bottom of the screen and it tells you where the bookmark is saved to. In my case it is saved to Mobile bookmarks. Quickly press the Edit link before it disappears.

Edit a bookmark

Edit a bookmark in Chrome for Android.
Tap the Save location to change it

The bookmark details are displayed and the folder it is saved to is displayed. In my case, this is Mobile bookmarks. Press it.

Select a new bookmark location

Choose a new location for a bookmark.
Select the reading list for the bookmark

A list of bookmark folders is displayed and the current location is ticked. Among them is Reading list. We want to move the bookmark to it, so press it.

Finish bookmark editing

A bookmark moved to the reading list in Chrome for Android.
The bookmark is now in the reading list

The bookmark is now in the Reading list folder. We have finished editing the bookmark, so press the back arrow and return to browsing the web in Chrome on your phone.

Save to the reading list

New bookmarks are automatically saved to the reading list.
Save more bookmarks to Chrome’s reading list

Chrome appears to remember the last bookmarks folder used and any new bookmarks are saved to the same location. We just moved a bookmark to the reading list and so all new sites we bookmark are also saved to the reading list. This enables you to add a bunch of articles to the Chrome reading list without going through the process of editing them and moving them.

If you want to save bookmarks elsewhere, you will need to tap the Edit link and move it.

Access the reading list on mobile

You can read web articles stored in the reading list online or offline on your phone. Here are the Android screenshots.

Access bookmarks on Android

Access bookmarks in Chrome for Android.
Open the menu to access Chrome bookmarks

Open the Chrome browser on your phone and press the three dots in the top right corner to open the menu. Press Bookmarks on the menu.

Open the reading list

Select the type of bookmarks to view.
Choose a bookmarks category

There are different types of bookmarks and three categories are displayed here. Press Reading list to see what articles are saved to it.

Manage the reading list on Android

View and manage reading list bookmarks in Chrome for Android.
Manage reading list bookmarks

A list of articles saved to the reading list on your phone and your computer is displayed. Press an item to open the web page and read the article.

Press the three dots to the right of a reading list item to open a menu with actions like Mark as read, Select, Delete and so on. There is a Move to menu option and this enables you to move a reading list item to a regular bookmarks folder.

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