Should Web Pages be Printed?

Do You Print Web Pages?

My hobbies and profession involve publishing web pages. So spreading knowledge electronically is my better alternative to publishing printed works.

But I have to account for the needs of my audience. So I need to answer an important question from a reader about printing my web pages.

Printing Web Pages Purpose

My purpose in writing this article is to start a collaborative learning project about printing web pages. Because I know several ways of printing web pages. To the extent that I have professional experience in most aspects of publishing printed works. But I don’t know how you want to print web pages. Or how to make it easy for you to organize your notes. So this supports the purpose of this website “to encourage and support dialog between confused people and their professional advisors”.

Is Printing Web Pages Necessary?

Personally, I hate printing web pages. Because it takes time and money. Also, as I have a very wide range of interests, it would need a lot of effort to organize printed pages so that I could find the information I need.

So I have a range of tools and techniques for organizing my research notes in electronic format. Also, because I save those notes in The Cloud, I can access my research projects wherever I can get Internet access.

But that is beyond the scope of this article. So I will look at ways that you can print web content today.

Printing Techniques for Web Pages

Some websites provide their information in a printable format. That is similar to the same content as the normal screen format shown in your browser. But the layout is adjusted to suit the printed page. So the common ways to do this are to provide a PDF file. Or to include a print layout that modern browsers understand.

However, each of these methods has a time cost. So the question becomes “Who will pay for that time?” But there are 2 techniques that anyone can use to print any web page.

Printing Web Pages Directly

For this example, I will refer to the page that prompted my reader to ask for a printed format. Now I have no idea why this information is important to my reader. But he is clearly concerned about diets to help kidney disease. So I test printed that page using the usual method of Ctrl-P in my browser. Then I altered the default setting of printing all pages. Because the header and footer are not fully relevant to saving research notes.

Obviously, I can’t show you an actual printout here. But this is what the resulting 4 pages looked like…

Personally, I think that is adequate. But I’m not yet sure what my readers want. So I hope you’ll give me feedback below.

Copy & Paste Web Page Content

A much more useful way of keeping notes is to copy those parts of the page that are most relevant to you. Then paste that information into a word processing file. Or some other program for organizing the printed word.

The reason I describe this as “much more useful” is that you can focus on those parts of my content that are most meaningful to you.

Do You Print Web Pages?

Printing Your Web Pages

Now because this is the start of a collaborative learning project, I need your help.

Firstly, I need to assess how many people need to print web pages. Because I’ve explained that there are some disadvantages to printing. So maybe this project should focus on teaching people how to save knowledge electronically.

But if there is a genuine need for printed information then what is the best format? Because I can see options for:

  1. Incorporating a print layout in my web page design.
  2. Providing a PDF alternative.

So if you really need printed information, which is the best format for you? Or do you have a different option for printing web pages? Please send me your answer using the Feedback Form below.

Printing Web Pages Feedback

Joe told me…

Printing web pages saves me time.

I like to print out medical articles important to me. For easy quick reference any time I want. So not have to mess with the time it takes to get that article up on my PC and reading off my monitor. Also never having to deal with failure to be able to connect to the Internet.

Later, Joe added:

Actually when I want to print something from a site and it doesn’t automatically give me an easy way to do it, I simply press my print screen button on my keyboard and then paste it onto a blank Microsoft Word sheet or other similar formats which I have.

This takes it a bit longer. But while a web site which is trying to discourage a print, making information available for a person to read outside of the PC is still possible following the procedure I have described.

Shrewdies Response

It’s rare but very pleasing when somebody replies to their own Feedback. So I love Joe’s suggestion which goes further than my Copy & Paste Web Page Content comments above.

I’m sorry that my lack of a bespoke print feature might be interpreted as discouraging printing. Though I do feel that copy-paste methods give the reader more flexibility. Anyway, for now, I want to collect as much feedback as possible. Then I hope to be able to develop a web page printing solution that satisfies most needs. Without costing a fortune to build and test such a solution.

So if you like to print web pages, please add your questions, experiences, and opinions in the Feedback Form below. Or do you know of a ready-made page print solution that is easy to add to WordPress websites?

Printing Web Pages Page Status

See the status page for history and optional work in progress notes. You can help to improve this page. Either click that Status Page link. Or use the Feedback Form below.