Short cut to "Printer Friendly Format" on news sites?
May 9, 2005 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm really tired of all the advertising and dancing crap that clutters up most news/magazine web articles. I find myself constantly searching for a "Printer Friendly Format" link so that I can read the article in a column wider than 1 inch and not paginated in such a way as to maximize ad views. Is there any utility, web site, firefox extension, something, that can take me to the "PFF" right away?
posted by de void to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
adblock is a firefox extension that may work for you.
posted by iamcrispy at 10:24 AM on May 9, 2005

Thanks for the link to adblock. My guess is that just blocks the ads from displaying, but it's not going to solve the fact that the text is still crammed into a 1 inch column or that what should be a 2 page article is broken up into 10 seperate 1.5 paragraph pages.
posted by de void at 10:33 AM on May 9, 2005

You could look at Greasemonkey and see if there are scripts available to reformat sites you frequent (for Firefox). For example, there are NYTimes scripts that seem to do what you want.
posted by driveler at 10:52 AM on May 9, 2005

re: adblock, it does block ads (obviously) but it will also sometimes reformat the page after blocking the ad. It removes the 'I-frame' (image frame?) as well as the ad image.
posted by lyam at 11:08 AM on May 9, 2005

Adblock will actually stop the images and frames and whatnot from downloading. Faster loading times, whee!

Of course, you have to specify what you want blocked. This either means spending a lot of initial time blocking things and writing filters, or downloading a list of filters from a source that I unfortunately can't remember.

But man, when you get that thing going it's magic. The last time I saw a banner ad was a long, looong time ago.
posted by schroedinger at 11:33 AM on May 9, 2005

If you use a Mac, the PithHelmet add-on for Safari has the option to rewrite URLs transparently so you automatically get the "formatted for printer" version of articles at sites like the New York Times.
posted by kindall at 11:43 AM on May 9, 2005

I use a Javascript bookmarklet on this page (the printer friendly one). Add it to your bookmarks, give it a keyword such as 'pf'. Now all you need to do is hit Alt-D, type 'pf' , and it should find and display the printer friendly version.

It works on most sites, as long as there is a clearly named printer friendly link, and that the site isnt also selling printers:)

posted by Boobus Tuber at 12:03 PM on May 9, 2005

adblock filters

Just install the latest one: 2005-05-05a.txt
Instructions are there and it's pretty easy.

It's almost painful using IE with all the ads these days, if I'm at the library or something. I also use flashblock but depending on how much you use flash content it could be more disruptive than helpful.
posted by 6550 at 12:06 PM on May 9, 2005

Lynx sure does a great job of formatting articles and ignoring ads. It's not the right tool for everything on the web these days but it's very nearly the perfect tool for reading news articles and similar pages.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2005


posted by Wolfdog at 12:52 PM on May 9, 2005

Wolfdog, I find w3m much nicer than lynx.

You can also use w3m -dump url to get a nicely formatted text version of a page all at once.
posted by Araucaria at 1:29 PM on May 9, 2005

Yeah, but in Lynx you can mail copies of Web pages to yourself. Pages that use semantic HTML (headings and suchlike) look fantastic in this plain-text view. It is the way to archive articles online. Trust me on that.
posted by joeclark at 1:47 PM on May 9, 2005

I'm guessing that this will help - Aardvark Firefox Extension.
posted by TuxHeDoh at 2:58 PM on May 9, 2005

I always feel a little weird about using a bookmarklet/favelet called Remove Children, but it's incredibly useful. Hover the mouse over whatever irritating element you want to delete (it will turn gray), click, and it's gone! If you go too far with it -- like you accidentally zap all the text instead of the advertisements, just reload the page. Then it will be back to normal and you can start again. Just don't let all the power go to your head!
posted by oldtimey at 5:20 PM on May 9, 2005

If you're a Windows user you ought to be using Proxomitron for rewriting links to "print friendly" mode for your favorite sites. Pithhelmet's "machete" feature will do the same for Macintosh Safari users. Everybody else ought to have privoxy around the house. In all cases, you'll probably want some experience writing Perlish regular expressions to get what you want (rewriting links / redirecting based on a rule) done.
posted by majick at 6:05 PM on May 9, 2005

iFrame: inline frame ... much nicer (for frames) than the frames that have to cut all the way across the page.
posted by clgregor at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2005

You can also go directly to print format in Firefox using View --> Page Style --> (print stylesheet) if the page author was kind enough to provide one. AskMe for example has no print-formatted stylesheet, but some well-designed websites actually do.

From a design perspective it is a lot easier to simply provide a second stylesheet formatted for print than to maintain a static second set of pages full of print-formatted content, but we all know the web is not always designed the way it ought to be.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:16 AM on May 10, 2005

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