Using the Print Friendly extension in your browser of choice, you can cut out content that doesn’t need to be included when you print or make a PDF. I had forgotten entirely about this superb utility until recently, so I’m happy I rediscovered it and now want to share it with you.
What is Print Friendly?
Printer Friendly is a website that first launched in 2008. People could paste in a URL/internet address and customize how the page would look when printed. This could be formatting issues such as text, color, or even removing unwanted areas of a page.
The people behind the site stand behind the idea that using the Print Friendly service is better for the environment because it reduces the amount of paper needed to print information off websites. Whether this was their original intention or not when making the site remains to be site, but it’s a great benefit as well as being able to customize how you want to print a page.
What’s the Print Friendly extension?
Similar to the website, the Print Friendly extension is for most major web browsers such as Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. Instead of having to manually go to the PF site and paste in a URL, you can just click the icon in the extension bar, and the page you’re on will instantly be converted to a printer-friendly format.
The Print Friendly extension in action
I’ve installed it in my browser and went to a random article on a news website.
Here is a screenshot of how the page looks by default in my browser (with an ad blocker).
We have the title, author, some social network icons, and a horrible autoplaying video in the corner of the browser window. I can’t imagine what this must look like without an ad blocker, can you?
Default Print (Without the Print Friendly extension)
When going choosing print in Edge, this is the formatting I can expect to see when I print.
It’s actually not that bad, and that’s the result of someone at USAToday making their content printer-friendly in the first place. However, not all sites will look this decent at the print screen.
Printing with the Print Friendly Extension
Now let’s see what happens when we click the Print Friendly extension icon in the browser on this page.
Before we look at the article itself, notice that there a few options in the toolbar across the top of Print Friendly’s window. You can print, create a PDF, or send an email. Everyone has different use cases, so having both physical and digital options are appreciated.
You can also adjust the size of the text in the article as well as how big the images appear. More on that in a bit.
I really like what happened with the article as it became converted. The title has been sized to fit appropriately at the top with a clean separating line with the URL underneath. Very clean and readable at a glance.
Removing items with Print Friendly Extension
It’s straightforward to remove things. You can usually hover your mouse over elements, and with a single click, remove them. Even your parents or grandparents should be able to figure this out.
Changing image sizes
Here’s an article with an image of Jeff Bezos that’s just too big and takes up a lot of room on the page. Also, too much Bezos makes me uncomfortable. Using the built-in image resizing option in the toolbar, I can adjust things and shrink all the images in the document/article.
Support for other browsers
Even if there is not an extension available for Safari or other browsers, the Print Friendly website shows you how to make a bookmark that will roughly do the same thing as the extension. So pretty much every browser out there is covered with this method.
Final Thoughts on the Print Friendly extension
This is such an excellent tool for those that are printing articles or wanting to share PDFs of something they want to send to others. Once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you lived without it. Oh, and I guess it’s also good for the environment too. Win-win.