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if I use FireFox or Chrome to "print" to pdf - chunks of text are missing. It's hit or miss. Using IE (I mean MS made it right?), I still get the same result. I saved the entire page - IE won't load it. Seems very random.
FireFox or Chrome print to PDF -- I have had good luck with it.
However, I have a guess as to what is happening. Print To PDF issue
If the page you are attempting to print to PDF is :
1. generated by some process on the web site - where the site adds divs, or table rows, etc, then those items may only be in the in-memory DOM and then when you print to PDF those items are missing. This is actually a problem with the web site itself.
On IE Issue
On the other one where you are saying "saved the entire page" again I think you are doing a Save Page As... which will download the page from the web site, but if there are generated sections of the HTML (DOM) then the web site itself may not generate those upon Save As...
I've found printing web pages is generally a good experience these days - much better than in the past. Print to PDF works well most of the time. You can also try Foxit Reader print driver; free, full-functioned and also works well.
MS Edge fairs better than Firefox and IE combined; on Windows 10. But the whole idea of "print" when it comes to webpages is hit or miss especially when targeting the spooler. I won't ask the obvious question, being the judge and all, but does anybody know where one can ask a question about peripheral printing and squeezing sheets of paper through a system of rollers past hot stuff ... here on CP.
I never "print" to the spooler. Always print to one of a few .pdf engendering applications dedicated to making life simple ... ER.
I was going to be a smartass and point out that PrintScreen has never introduced any formatting error for me, but obviously that's only good for a page that fits entirely on a single screen. This looks like a smarter solution if it can do the whole page even when it requires scrolling.
OTOH, you still end up with an image and lose all context.
Chrome's built-in dev tools can do some decent things that do keep the DOM elements - they really should leverage that to help customize printing. Of course it'd have to be called expert mode printing or some-such...
but obviously that's only good for a page that fits entirely on a single screen
As if you couldn't open a word file, do the margins to the minimum, paste the picture and go for the next screenshot... repeat until web page is ready to get printed as a whole
If something has a solution... Why do we have to worry about?. If it has no solution... For what reason do we have to worry about?
Help me to understand what I'm saying, and I'll explain it better to you
Rating helpful answers is nice, but saying thanks can be even nicer.
I used to get this often in firefox, until I found out a best kept secret.
Firefox has 2 built in print systems.
If you press ctrl+p like everyone does you get the standard, rubbish text truncation print system.
If however, you click on the hamburger menu top right, and find the print option, you get the second print provider that allows you access to all sorts of formatting options, and which does a better job too, esp when printing to a virtual off printer.
I have been fighting to get decent printouts for years - and given up. Today, I rather save the complete web page, as an html file, with an associated subdirectory for images and style sheets and whatever. Most browsers provide this as a menu or control char command and takes care of everything.
A small disadvantage is, if you save hundreds of these pages, is that you end up with hundreds of copies of the same icons, images, common script snippets etc, one per saved page. But disk is cheap nowadays; it is no really big issue.
My experience is that this works a lot better than making PDF files for printing.
10-15 years ago, there was a whole crowd of "web harvesters" that allowed you to download an entire web site. They would keep the URL structure as a directory, so that e.g. icons and images were stored only once, for a much cleaner structure, if you want offline access to an entire website, or a major part. Fifteen years ago, there were still a few webpages here and there with more or less static, plain text/graphics info, so it used to work quite well. Nowadays, when 99% of the web pages are built on-the-spot for each request, and much of the information presented is retrieved from a remote database as you move around in the page, the harvesters (crawlers, scrapers, ... lots of names are in use) are not as useful as they used to be. Googling for e.g. "web harvesting" gives you enough links to keep you busy until the pandemic is over
Thanks for raising this issue. I have the same concern.
You asked why this is so hard, so I will attempt to answer this question first: It is so hard because most web system designers do not consider this feature important. In their mind, it is not a requirement, so they do not implement this feature or test it. There may also be some web system designers that do not want you to be able to capture the web page, and actually go out of their way to make this difficult or impossible.
You also ask for suggestions. I believe the reason that printing does not work is that Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allow the web system designer to change the layout of the web page for different devices (so that the presentation on a small smart phone can have a completely different appearance from that of a large monitor). What is needed is the ability to OVERRIDE the default or provided style sheet for printing to instead use a style sheet suitable for the selected printer. Perhaps this could be implemented in a browser plug in. This is certainly something I would be interested in.
I very often print to PDF for documentation. What I often resort to in cases like this is selecting the important text (i.e. the actual article, the actual important information to save, but not the left or right sidebars etc.) and then choose "Only selection" when printing (using Ctrl+P in Chrome, choosing the printer "Save As PDF"). For some reason, when I do that, it's often much better formatted. Furthermore, the PDF will be smaller, as it will only contain the important part and not irrelevant text and images relating to other articles etc.
I have found the Chrome extension from PrintWhatYouLike.com works well, allows you to remove all the junk you don't want and then save to PDF. Does a decent job in Chrome. Unfortunatley it does not work well in FireFox, which only supports a bookmarklet.
They also have an extension/bookmarklet that can combine pages where you need to keep clicking "next" to see more content, into one single page. But I have not used that one.