Printing to PDF (with images)

Frequently, when I find a long Web article that I would like to keep (like on TidBits), I turn on Safari Reader and then Print to a PDF file. That used to be reliable and work most of the time. Now, however, if I have an article with a lot of images imbedded, when I open it in Safari Reader, I see the images. But when I try to print the article to a PDF, most (or all) of the images are missing (in the preview) - the resulting PDF just has big blank spaces where the images were present. I can’t get around this issue. I wonder if anyone has noticed this and has a work-around? It is very irritating. It seems like this problem started with the macOS update last fall.

David

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I used to find Google Chrome handled PDF saves of web pages fairly well, although the recent Firefox Save to PDF improvements have been a welcome addition to the Mozilla toolbox.

If you want more customization, I sometimes turn to Print Edit WE (by DW-dev) which is available on both Firefox and Google Chrome:

Yes, there are many other options out there, but they often require installation in the system or rely on cloud services. Also, I am not claiming that this add-on is for everyone.

(Read on for more info. If you want to know about “Customizing Firefox Headers and Footers” scroll to the end. Please stop here if neither of these topics interest you.)

Print Edit WE takes a little getting used to and can be finicky or downright incompatible with some web pages. But once you get the hang of it, you can often select just the parts you want and click “Delete Except” to wipe out most other bits.

Tricks I have learned:

  • On pages that use progressive loading (ie. content or images do not load until you scroll to that section), be sure to slowly scroll through the content you want until you see the images loaded. Then scroll back to the top and open Print Edit WE.
  • On pages that have HTML5 “window shade” features (ie. those panels that slide up and temporarily obscure content like a window shade), you can sometimes select the retracted window shade bar at the bottom and remove it before saving the PDF. Otherwise you may lose the bottom portion of each page. (NOTE: This does not allow you to side-step pay locked subscription sites such as NY Times).
  • Don’t forget to try the “Fix Page Breaks” feature under the Tools button (right side). This feature will not fix all issues that cause subsequent pages from showing content (ie. content shows only on first, or first few pages, then you just get blanks).
  • Print Edit WE may take a little trial-and-error in editing, Previewing and repeating the cycle (including sometimes saving a PDF to do a final check) before you get the result you desire, or something close to it.

Remember, that as a browser extension you can toggle Print Edit WE on or off at any time with out restarting (Chrome: More Tools > Extensions. Firefox: Add-ons > Extensions).

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I’m still on Big Sur 11.6.5 and Safari 15.4. When I switch on Safari Reader then either ‘Print as PDF’ or ‘Export as PDF’ the images appear as blank spaces. Without switching to Reader view, both of these actions record the web page as a PDF complete with images from the article but also with the other images on the sidebar of the page.
It seems that from this basic approach you have a choice, all or nothing!

I installed Google Chrome and it seems to able to print to pdf with images included! On the occasion that I need this function, I will just open the web page in Chrome.

Thanks for the suggestions.

David

Yep. That’s why I use tools like Print Edit WE.

Question: Have you tried a different browser and had the same results? If you are concerned about security, at least Firefox mostly does not scan everything and share with marketers (mostly) and you can remove it easily vs. Google Chrome which sometimes behaves like malware on your system.

If a different browser has the same PDF printing results, perhaps you might want to try resetting the macOS print system in case there is a corrupted setting. This will remove any configured print devices and you will need to re-add them, but the underlying software drivers will remain.

I have been somewhat anti-Safari for a while, but that is mainly due to: 1) Apple quickly dropping support for Safari unless you run the most current version of everything, and 2) Safari being so integrated with macOS that you have inherent security issues at the system level (not too dissimilar from Windows and Internet Explorer).

This is just my perspective, of course.

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I have the same problem with a number of websites. I have found the file/export as PDF. . . option of help sometimes when in Safari. I also use Brave Browser with print set to Save as PDF as the primary way to print. That seems to behave a bit better though not always. It is very frustrating.

I was using Brave for a while but didn’t like it - and couldn’t figure out how to print to pdf. I really dislike FireFox. I understand the issues with Google Chrome - I only use it for special purposes. Otherwise it is Safari.

David

At least on Sierra with Safari, I usually get good results by selecting the entire page (full page or reader view), then dragging it into Bean (free rtfd based text processor), which lives in my dock. It’s easy to adjust for font size and strip out cruft. One of the things I like best is it uses the font size I’ve set for the browser page; pdfs from the browser don’t–they use whatever nasty print css is shoved from the site. If you really want a pdf, you can print to pdf from bean, but I prefer the rtfd anyway unless it’s something like an invoice, and those usually print to pdf from safari adequately.

Software such as Eaglefiler and Devonthink have ways to send a page into them with a hotkey, but I never really tried them since bean works well for me. I could probably automate it with keyboard maestro or automator but never get around to it. It’s probably worth trying it with other word processors such as Pages, too.

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I’ve noticed that too. It started for me in February