"Grr!! Printing Web Pages!!"

I can't tell you how many reams of paper I have watched someone recycle because so few web pages are actually set up to print. I won't even mention how much time I have seen folks spend struggling to get web pages printed.

Complicating this of course is the different web browsers, like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc., and how the print dialogs work (and change with the frequent version updates).

If you aren't set up to do so, I highly recommend setting up a PDF printer like CutePDF or something like it. Being able to print electronically to a document type which is more printing-foolproof can allow you to test without wasting ink/toner/paper.

This article is meant to give you the tools you need to save a few trees, regardless of page or browser!

First of all, see if the web page you are looking at has a Print button or link. Many web pages will include a PDF or a specially-formatted page that is easy on your ink/toner and paper.

Next, use your Print Preview. Get a good look at what is going to come out of the printer before you print it. This will save you a lot of grief right off the bat.

When you are looking at this print preview you might notice that it is dramatically different than what the page looked like. Perhaps you only see the first few lines on the first page, a blank second page and the rest of the content splattered over the next 5-7.

These disjointed regions are typically due to the way web page content fits into frames, and they don't always print as shown. Here are a few tricks to getting what you want from them:

1. Try right clicking directly on the text you want to print, and choose Print Preview. That SHOULD print just what's in that frame. I say "SHOULD" but depending on the web browser and the way the page is coded, it might not turn out that way. Again, Print Preview is your friend!

2. Use your mouse to select (left click and drag) the text and images you want to print. Start from the upper left and move to the lower right. Right click in the selection and use Control-P (the universal Print command; Mac is Command-P). In the dialog box choose the option for Print Selected. This should only print what you have highlighted, provided your selection didn't include a separate frame. This is a little tricky and might take a little experimentation. Save some trees and print to PDF!!

3. Last, and almost worst option, use your mouse to select (left click and drag) the text and images you want to print. Start from the upper left and move to the lower right. Right click in the selection and choose Copy. Open Microsoft Word (or other editor which will work with text and images) and click Edit>Paste. Edit your document and print.

4. Absolutely the worst option: if you can get everything you want to print on the screen at once, do a screen capture (PC's can just hit Alt-Prt Scrn, but Macs have to use the Grab application), and paste it into Word or some other application you can paste pictures into. Resize the picture or change the document layout to get the picture as big as you can and go to town.

I hope these tips save you a little frustration, and if you have some tools/tips that have helped you in the past, please share them in the comments.