By removing ads and other distractions, Safari 5’s Reader makes online articles more printer- and reader-friendly. But it doesn’t work on every page – just those that it recognises as articles. If Safari doesn’t think a page is an article, it won’t show the Reader button in the address field. But there is a way to clean up pages that Reader won’t.

First, go to the Advanced settings tab in Safari’s preferences and select Show Develop Menu In Menu Bar. Navigate to the page you want to clean up. Control-click on an element you want to remove and select Inspect Element. The Inspector window will then open. The element you clicked on will be highlighted in the upper browser window and the corresponding HTML will be highlighted below that in the Inspector pane.

If you hover over other HTML code in that lower pane, the corresponding page elements will be highlighted up above. (The HTML for different page elements may be nested in the Inspector window. In those cases, you may have to drill down through the nested elements by clicking on disclosure triangles until you get to the item you want).

If Safari’s Reader button isn’t available, you can still trim HTML elements you don’t want to see by selecting and deleting them in the Inspector window

Once you‘ve found the page element that you want to remove, you can either Control-click on its HTML in the Inspector pane and select Delete Node or, more simply, select it and press Delete.

This process is actually easier than it seems; you can use the down-arrow key to quickly go through the HTML while keeping an eye on the upper browser window. When an element you want to get rid of is highlighted up there, press Delete and the corresponding HTML will be gone. It may not render a page as cleanly as Safari’s Reader, but it is a relatively quick way to get rid of extra junk.