Tofu: Eye Friendly Text Reader

LogoFor most people, reading large amounts of text on a computer screen is unpleasant, while reading books and newspapers is not. Tofu, from developer Amar Sagoo, attempts to address this conundrum.

The idea behind Tofu is that vertically anchored narrow columns are easier to read than strolling through a single wide column of text. The application is basically a text viewer with a twist: Tofu automatically formats text into easy to read columns set against an eye-pleasing off-white backdrop. The application can open plain and rich-text files (.txt and .rtf respectively), or alternatively text can be imported into Tofu simply via copy-paste.


Tofu has a plethora of configuration options in it's preferences. You can change everything from the default font style and colors, to the line height and margin widths of the window. A nice feature not turned on by default, but worth mentioning, is the ‚ÄúRemember stroll position within documents¬Ě feature, which saves the position data into the resource fork of text files, great for multi-session readings of long documents.


Tofu can also work with images. When documents containing images are opened with Tofu, the images are automatically resized and positioned accordingly.


Other nice features of Tofu include a find-as-you-type search feature which immediately begins searching for a word or phrase as you type it, as well as a system-wide services menu tool which allows you to quickly import text into Tofu with a global keyboard shortcut. There's also a useful, albeit limited, full-screen mode. Tofu could also be improved with support for more file formats for example Word, Pages, and PDF.

Tofu is free and can be found at the developers website.


17 Responses to “Tofu: Eye Friendly Text Reader”

  1. rmaspero on April 14th, 2008 6:39 am

    Sounds interesting but not that special

  2. Phil on April 14th, 2008 7:12 am

    I’ve been using this for a while now. I was skeptical at first as to whether it would really make a difference but I can tell you now, it does. It is so much easier to read on screen now.

    It also adds an item in the Services menu, with a quick keyboard command, so it’s never too far away.

  3. Silla on April 14th, 2008 8:08 am

    I’ve been using Tofu since I got my Mac, and it really does make reading easier – especially when I’m tired or am having trouble concentrating.

    @Phil: It doesn’t add an item in my services menu. Do you have version 1.3, or 2.0a2?

  4. Mark Milian on April 14th, 2008 10:04 am

    The biggest complaint about reading on a screen as opposed to on paper is refresh rate. That’s what really tires out your eyes. Portable readers like the Amazon Kindle have zero refresh rate so it’s essentially like reading something on paper. I’m not even sure if this is possible, but it would be nice to see an app that freezes the screen’s refresh rate when you’re reading until you press a key.

  5. Van on April 14th, 2008 3:56 pm

    A note:

    There is an alpha version of Tofu 2.0 available on the developer's site with PDF support and beter full-screen:

  6. Phil on April 14th, 2008 6:55 pm

    @Silla I’m using 2.0a2. But I did think that there was a services menu back in 1.3. I believe it used to be there as “View in columns”. It’s been changed since to “View in Tofu”

  7. Agua on April 15th, 2008 2:31 am

    Downloaded the 2.0a2 version, and still no service option. No right click option, no option under view, no option in window, there’s no option that I see via Safari.

    Almost all of my reading is online, if this doesn’t give me a direct capability, then its easier to stick with the summarize feature. Unless I’m missing something?

  8. Silla on April 15th, 2008 2:39 am

    Thanks Phil! I'm also using 2.0a2 – but I was looking for it in the service menu under T ^_^;

    @Agua: Select the text you want to view in Tofu, then go Safari > Services > View in Tofu

    An option in the right-click menu or a keyboard shortcut would be easier though :/

  9. Agua on April 15th, 2008 3:30 am

    Nvd….. all I had to do was restart my mac. It seems to work by right clicking now. I just might like this, I haven’t used it yet, I’ll wait and see.

  10. Agua on April 15th, 2008 3:31 am

    EDIT: I didn’t mean right click, I meant what Silla mentioned, my bad.

  11. Phil on April 15th, 2008 4:37 am

    I do have a keyboard command against ‘View in Tofu’.

    If it’s not default, I must have set it using Service Scrubber – this allows you to set keyboard shortcuts for any item in the service menu (as well as removing the ones you don’t want to make the menu cleaner).

  12. Van on April 16th, 2008 2:18 am

    Some of you aren’t seeing the shortcut because by default it is command-shift-t, which is unfortunate because the command conflicts with many applications (For example, in Safari that command is to hide/show the tab bar).

  13. Silla on April 16th, 2008 3:53 am

    I tried using Service Scrubber to set a shortcut, but couldn’t get it to work. However I was able to set a keyboard shortcut using the following method instead:

    System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts

    Now scroll down and click on the arrow next to “Application Keyboard Shortcuts” to expand it, click on “All Applications” and click the “+” button. Leave “All Applications” as the application, type exactly “View In Tofu” (without quotation marks) for the Menu Title, and then click in the Keyboard shortcut text box and just press the keys you want to use as the shortcut (I chose Option-Command-O). Then click Add, and you’re done! :)

  14. Tofu: Eye Friendly Text Reader « want a bite? on April 20th, 2008 9:30 am

    [...] Eye Friendly Text Reader Tofu: Eye Friendly Text Reader: [...]

  15. Naim on November 1st, 2008 10:42 am

    Hi all, does anyone here know the equivalent Tofu software for windows?

  16. film remaja on May 14th, 2014 11:40 am

    Please let me know if you’re looking for
    a writer for your blog. You have some really good articles and I
    think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the
    load off, I’d really like to write some material for your
    blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested.
    Thank you!

    my homepage; film remaja

  17. Federico Bobbitt on December 16th, 2014 6:39 pm

    It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!