How do you print articles in 2021?
November 16, 2021 2:00 PM   Subscribe

It used to be easy to print news articles from the web, and there was even a little printer button on many websites. Now it seems difficult to print anything. Even copying and pasting an article into a word processor does not always work. Are there any easy solutions to this?
posted by mortaddams to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Your browser does this now. In chrome on the far right there are three dots that bring up a menu and one of the options is Print. Control + P also loads Print on Windows.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:04 PM on November 16, 2021

Best answer: Do you mean just because there's so much crap now?

My go-to for printing from a website is to highlight the actual text, ctrl+P, then in the print settings check the box for "selection only" (which is sometimes hidden under additional settings).
posted by phunniemee at 2:15 PM on November 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

I think some websites literally put in some kind of code to block your doing anything and that's what the OP is referring to. You may have to resort to taking a bunch of tedious screenshots on the computer (or worse, camera phone) if you REALLY want to print, or just straight up retype/transcribe from what you read.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:17 PM on November 16, 2021

If you want to print just the text of article by itself, Chrome has a "Reader Mode" that eliminates extraneous material from the page, leaving just the text which you can then print. This article describes how to enable and use Reader Mode.
posted by davcoo at 2:19 PM on November 16, 2021 [9 favorites]

I know it's from three years ago, but there was a similar-sounding question from 2018 that may or may not provide some more insight into your question.

Personally, when I read that question I hadn't realized that CSS had gotten sophisticated enough such that hitting Ctrl/Command+P to print automatically prepared a cleaner, more print-friendly layout on a lot of news sites -- on these kinds of sites there's no more need for a little printer icon, because the website itself is sophisticated enough to automatically provide a print-friendly (or print-friendlier I guess) layout when printing.

But I'm not sure if that's what the OP is getting at?
posted by andrewesque at 2:20 PM on November 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've used Immersive Reader in Edge to do this occasionally. Press F9 to start Immersive Reader. Its seems smart enough to figure out what the content is and just displays it. Then Control P to print. I'm not sure if it gets blocked by the same kinds of things you are talking about, but it might be something to try.
posted by rsclark at 2:27 PM on November 16, 2021

I think many websites have removed the printer icon thingies because it's a waste of screen real-estate; printing is a browser function, after all, not a page one. They should never have been there in the first place. That's not to say you can't print them, though. Hitting Command-P (or Ctrl-P on Windows?) should do the job most of the time, and well-designed websites will have an alternative CSS just for printing with white background, usually black text, etc.

For the occasional stubborn page that doesn't render well when I hit Print in the browser, my go-to solution is to use Evernote Clipper (a browser extension that pairs with the Evernote cloud note-taking service) and select the "Simplified Article" option. This strips out much of the page's native CSS and replaces it with a simplified one provided by Evernote. (It may or may not also remove ads; I'm a little unclear there, because I always have a separate ad-blocking extension enabled.) I then print from Evernote.

Chrome and Safari's "Reader View" options do essentially the same thing, although I've never tried to print from either. TBH, I wasn't aware that Chrome even had a Reader View—I always use Safari for this purpose, so that's good to know!
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:42 PM on November 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

There are various solutions.

Many browsers now have a "reader mode".

Evernote's Web Clipper has an "article view" which filters out most fluff leaving just the text and pictures. Once it's clipped into Evernote it can be printed.

Or you can use a free web capture program like Awesome Screenshot and Recorder, which will even scroll the page to make sure you get everything so you don't have to scroll.

And some NICE websites offers a print view.
posted by kschang at 2:44 PM on November 16, 2021

Some previous answers may be better than mine, haven't tested them - but if you save to Evernote using their web clipper you can chose "simplified article". Then print from Evernote. So two steps. But pretty easy. *

*Bonus: using simplified article bypasses some paywalls FYI

**I do not work for Evernote. lol
posted by cda at 2:46 PM on November 16, 2021

In Firefox, using Cmd/Cntrl P works great. It will give you a preview so you can see how many pages you're going to use. Using the browser's print dialog box gives you an option to see "More settings". Within that, you can change the Format from "original" to simplified. On one news site, this gave me a nice text page with no images. On another site, it didn't change much. YMMV.
posted by hydra77 at 3:28 PM on November 16, 2021

Personally what I do may not be relevant to your purposes, but most times I either:
- in Firefox I use F9 to toggle to/from Reader Mode, and then use Firefox Print... option with PDFill and PDFImageWriter destination (adjusting portrait/landscape/margins/etc) and file the PDF in Dropbox
- I carefully block select the text I'm interested in (yes, not always easy) and then paste it into this Web site which automagically converts it to markdown, which I then paste into Joplin.
posted by forthright at 3:41 PM on November 16, 2021

Oh, even better, for Firefox, I tried forthright's F9 tip for reader mode, but that didn't work on my computer. But there's a little icon at the far right side of the address bar that looks like a piece of paper with lines on it. Clicking that will turn a page into reader mode. Then hitting Control P will give you a super-clean print version of the text, scaling as desired.
posted by hydra77 at 3:52 PM on November 16, 2021

It would be helpful to know what is “difficult” and what exactly “does not always work”.

You use your browser to Print the page and nothing happens?
You do get a printout but it doesn’t look like what you expect? In what way?
posted by fabius at 6:08 AM on November 17, 2021

Best answer: What I am taking away from the answers above is that there is no quick-and-easy way to print articles in 2021, as web design has devolved into a dysfunctional mess. There are various ways to extract articles from websites, often using browser extensions or third-party services.

Responding to requests for more context about my problems: I usually print from the browser, and the problems that I most frequently encounter seem to be related to how the browser translates the page for printing. I usually use Chrome on a Mac. When Chrome is behaving particularly badly I use Safari or Firefox. None of these browsers perform well consistently. Examples:

* They sometimes eliminate the images from an article, which is a problem because often the images are the essential part of the article.
* Other times they cut off the text, truncating the right side of the article or the bottom.
* Still other times the article will be badly formatted, with screen-junk filling the printed page, and only a small amount of space for the article.
* Sometimes the size of the text is presented in a wonky way, becoming so small or so large that it is unrealistic to print and read.
posted by mortaddams at 6:15 AM on November 18, 2021

What I am taking away from the answers above is that there is no quick-and-easy way to print articles in 2021, as web design has devolved into a dysfunctional mess. There are various ways to extract articles from websites, often using browser extensions or third-party services.

You... you don't need to use an extension or a 3rd party service. You literally just need to push CTRL and P.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm surprised that no one has mentioned options like

Very useful for reformatting the useful parts of web pages into printable formats. Gets plenty of use in this house for printing recipes without the stories, pictures etc.
posted by snoboy at 7:31 PM on November 19, 2021

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