This study explores the preferred viewing distance and character size for an electronic paper display for three age groups. Proofreading speed and accuracy ratio were measured during Chinese proofreading tests using the preferred character size and minimum acceptable character size. Data analysis showed that the mean preferred viewing distance for young, middle-aged and older groups was 503, 455 and 444 mm, respectively. The mean preferred character size determined by young, middle-aged and older groups was 42.0, 50.0 and 55.2 min arc, respectively. The proofreading test results indicated that the older group proofread significantly more slowly (1.25 word/sec) than the young (1.76 word/sec) and middle-aged groups (1.74 word/sec). Further, the participants proofread more correctly with their preferred character size (73.3%) than with their minimum acceptable character size (65.4%). This study provides valuable information for the design of Chinese text presentations for various age groups. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: This study confirmed the preferred viewing distance and character size for E-paper display were influenced by age. The preferred Chinese character size for young, middle-aged and older people was 42, 50 and 55 min arc, respectively. Therefore, the age factor should be considered for E-paper displays design and video display terminal (VDT) guidelines.