How to print off the web
June 22, 2015 6:02 AM   Subscribe

I am often stymied by trying to print interesting articles off the web when the pages don't have a printer friendly version. The printed version often takes many more pages than I would have guessed. Moreover several of the pages may have only a few lines on them or just ads. Is there some way to tell approximately how many pages an article will print before printing if there is not a printer-friendly version? Maybe there is some utility I can download? Thanks
posted by jtexman1 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Most browsers have a print preview option that will do exactly that. What browser/operating system are you using?
posted by neilbert at 6:05 AM on June 22, 2015

Use print preview and/or "print selection".
posted by gorcha at 6:06 AM on June 22, 2015

Sorry to threadsit but I should have stated: Win 7. I use either explorer or chrome. What happens is when I hit control P the utility doesn't show any guess as to the number of pages.
posted by jtexman1 at 6:09 AM on June 22, 2015

You can copy and paste into a word processor and tweak what's there. It's a bit cumbersome but definitely helps avoid printing all the excess stuff.
posted by leslies at 6:10 AM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Print to PDF. Open PDF. Look. Print or not. (Via CTRL P, just change your printer in the options).
posted by b33j at 6:11 AM on June 22, 2015 [7 favorites]

Add a plug in for chrome called "fireshot" or "snapshot" (they both work very similarly as far as I can tell. Click on the plug in and select "Capture entire screen". On the next page it gives you the option to save to PDF, select that. Open the PDF and you can see how many pages, where the page teams are, etc.
posted by like_neon at 6:18 AM on June 22, 2015

CTRL+SHIFT+P will bring up print preview in Chrome on Windows. Look at every page and use the page selection box to exclude the pages you don't want to print.
posted by carsonb at 6:19 AM on June 22, 2015

I often cut and paste the main article into Word as leslies mentions. You can often do a bit of tweaking like just reducing the font size or deleting intrusive graphics. Another option is something like Instapaper which will usually give you a "clean" version of a page you can print.
posted by crocomancer at 6:20 AM on June 22, 2015

The print preview for IE is under the little tool icon that looks like a cog. Just hover your mouse over where it says print for more options and one is print preview.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:20 AM on June 22, 2015

I get a 'Print Preview...' option when right-clicking whitespace in IE11.

I spent a few minutes too long looking for print preview in Chrome (29) - until I realised the preview was right in front of me in the print dialog. What version of Chrome do you have?
posted by quinndexter at 6:22 AM on June 22, 2015

After choosing "Print" select your printer and choose "Properties". Have a check to see if there is a "print preview" option - and, if so, select it and choose the additional option "always use these settings". If your printer driver does not provide these options then check with your manufacturer to see if they have a more up to date version which does.

Adding an adblock plugin to your browser should help remove crap from both printed and online versions of what you are looking at.
posted by rongorongo at 6:23 AM on June 22, 2015

Chrome has print preview built-in, use the menu or try the shortcut that carsonb gave.
posted by gorcha at 6:35 AM on June 22, 2015

If you only care about the text, getting an Instapaper account and learning to use it is very much worth it.
posted by Ampersand692 at 6:47 AM on June 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

I've been using Print What You Like lately to do webpages. It can be a bit tricky to get all the ish off whatever page it is that you want to print, but you can delete ads and comment sections with it. And export it to PDF.
posted by sperose at 6:48 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

If there is one thing that I would pay such good money for, it would be a replacement for JoliPrint, which produced masterful, gorgeous PDFs from articles, but sadly they went away a few years ago.

I use the Print Friendly Chrome Extension, it's nice in that it allows you to delete certain elements from the article (ads, photos, sidebars, etc) before printing.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 7:01 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

The above suggestions are good. I just wanted to add that sometimes I paste web pages into Notepad or some other plain-text editor to remove everything except the text - it's the easiest way to take out all of the weird formatting and images. I suggest selecting just the article and copying just that text since you'll get a lot of garbage if you select the whole page.

Not as elegant as some of the above solutions, but if all you want is a quick way to get text only and print that, pasting into a plain text editor might be a time saver. You can also do this is Word by going to Paste > Keep Text Only. Most word processors have a similar feature that will paste text only.
posted by Tehhund at 9:08 AM on June 22, 2015

Readability also works pretty well for producing printer-friendly pages.
posted by neckro23 at 10:29 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chrome has print preview built-in, use the menu or try the shortcut that carsonb gave.

I just realized, having tried the key combo I suggested above, that there must be a setting in Chrome that toggles which Print dialog is used by Chrome. Right now on my (Linux Mint, Chrome 43) home computer pressing 'CTRL+P' brings up the dialog that shows a print preview of the document. Pressing 'CTRL+SHIFT+P' brings up a more Windows-style pop-up that doesn't have a preview of the page. So CTRL+P does the default Print dialog and CTRL+SHIFT+P does the alternate Print dialog. There is very likely a difficult-to-locate Setting to toggle which dialog is the default.
posted by carsonb at 11:24 AM on June 22, 2015

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