There are a number of applications in consumer and industrial product environments in which there is a need to display a message in a restricted space. Two general display methods were compared in the present research using an eight-character horizontal display. Text appeared either as a sequence of small right-to-left jumps (‘leading’), or as a sequence of whole or part-word patterns (rapid serial visual presentations, RSVP). Upper-case versus lower-case letters and slow (171 words per minute, wpm) versus fast (260 wpm) presentation rates were compared. In all conditions, sentences were read more accurately in the RSVP format than in the leading format. Recommendations for future displays of verbal messages are discussed.