Creating a PDF of emailed TidBITS issues

For months I’ve been having a similar problem creating PDF files from emailed TidBITS issues. (Apologies if I should have started a new thread about this.)

For years I’ve been using Mail to create PDF files from emailed TidBITS issues. Most of my reasons for doing this are no longer relevant, but there’s one benefit that I still enjoy: I can import the PDF file into the iOS GoodReader app and have that app keep my place in an issue as I read it over several sessions.

This worked fine until I replaced my Mac some months ago with one that could run Ventura. With that Mac the resulting PDF file, whether created using the “Export” or “Print” menus, would have almost all graphics replaced with outlined rectangles. (Yes, I’m careful to invoke “Load Remote Content” first.)

For a while I could forward those emails to an older Mac running Big Sur and create the PDF file there. But a recent update has introduced the same problem to that version of macOS.

Can anyone suggest a way around this? Thanks.

If you’re happy forwarding the email to do the conversion, you could try

Thanks. This is obviously not sensitive content.

I tried it with the 9 Jan issue. It worked fine except for a glitch several pages in:

As something of an info hoarder, I like to keep electronic copies of the TidBITS issues on my Mac. I no longer have any of the old HyperCard issues but I still have text-based issues from #461 (Jan 4, 1999) to #1410 (Mar 26, 2019) and PDF format after that to present.

The trick has always been getting the issue into suitable PDF format. Creating PDFs from the mailed copies in Apple’s Mail client gave poor results. So I started using Safari to go to the TidBITS website, selecting the latest weekly issue, showing full articles, and then exporting as PDF. Then I would read the issue in Preview. This seemed to work well at first but later I had the problem of some images being missing. Scrolling through the entire issue in Safari before exporting helped initially but eventually I had to go back and open or otherwise “touch” the missing images and re-export to get a good copy.

A thread on this subject on the TidBITS website “Getting a (complete) web page into a PDF” discussed the issue. Among the various suggestions was to use “Print Friendly” which I installed in my bookmarks and have been using for a while. The resulting PDF is formatted differently than direct exports but it always gets all of the images without scrolling through the webpage first.

Then in issue #1650, Adam described the cause and claimed it was fixed. So I wanted to test it and compare the different methods for generating the PDF.

Exporting directly from Safari without scrolling to the bottom of the webpage still omits many of the images but if I scroll first and then export, all of the images are included. It appears as two very long pages and a very short third page with images sometimes split across page boundaries.

I recently had to abandon Apple’s Mail client for unrelated failings such as the inability to apply rules to the junk folder and messages downloading to my Yahoo! account with no content or parts of the content missing. I’ve converted to the Thunderbird mail client now so I tried exporting the issue from the received mail message. It split the issue into 25 separate pages which increased the chance of images being split over page boundaries. It also included headers and footers on each page; I haven’t checked to see if there is a way to turn those off.

The Print Friendly version split the issue into 27 pages but avoided splitting images by moving them to the next page when needed. I feel this gives the most pleasing result compared to the other methods.

1 Like

FWIW, if I print from Firefox (whether to paper or to a PDF), it includes the images without needing to scroll, and it breaks the content into multiple pages, but it does split images across page boundaries.