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Show the Time to Read Your Markdown in VS Code

john_papa profile image John Papa Originally published at johnpapa.net ・3 min read

Read Time

Recently I posted How I Write Online Articles. Since then I have been working on a few ideas for making this easier. Today I'm announcing a preview version of a new VS Code extension called Read Time

You can get Read Time here from the VS Code Marketplace

Read Time is a Visual Studio Code extension that is ideal for writers who want an estimate how for long it may take to read your markdown.

When writing markdown you will see a book icon and a number in your VS Code status bar. The number will update as you add or remove text in your markdown file. When you are not in a markdown file, it will disappear. It's that simple.


Future Ideas

This extension is new, and I have some ideas on how to make it even more useful. If you have ideas, by all means, please share your feedback here or in GitHub.

One new feature I would like to add is the ability to adjust the assumed words-per-minute that a person reads. By default in many calculations, this is 200 words/minute. The API is open for this, and I have made a PR into the library to adjust for it. It is only a matter of time before I add this feature.

Another is to allow adjusting the types of files that it will read. Currently, it only reads markdown files. But this could be opened for extending to other files, too. Making this a user configured feature could be nice.

Why Isn't the Icon is Appearing in the Status Bar?

There is only so much room in the status bar and the Read Time status bar icon may become a casualty and have disappeared from your status bar. You can test this by zooming out of your vs code a few times. Zooming out will also zoom out the status bar. If the status bar icon were a casualty, then it would reappear when you zoom out.

The Read Time icon is very slim (just an icon and a number). However, if it is not appearing, you can try to change your settings for other items in the status bar to make them disappear. In other words, clean up your status bar by hiding things you do not want to see. Here is one example where I hid a few things that were in my status bar.

  "workbench.statusBar.feedback.visible": false,
  "debug.showInStatusBar": "never",
  "azure.showSignedInEmail": false,
  "liveshare.showInStatusBar": "whileCollaborating",
  "spellright.statusBarIndicator": false

VS Code Extensions for Writing

In case you are curious, here are the VS Code extensions I use:

What Do You Think?

I'd love to hear your feedback. What do you like about it? What else would be useful to you in writing?

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John Papa


Husband, father, & Catholic enjoying life with my family. Working @ Microsoft. Disney fanatic, web and mobile developer

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Editor guide

This is awesome John! Personally, I have a feature on my blog that calculates the read time. But also getting that information on VS Code while writing is helpful. Quick question why does it say 0 min for an article with few lines that take about 30 seconds to go through. is it possible to either display the count in seconds or round it up to 1min?