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Print web pages minus the ads and detritus. Don't end up like Odo.

Paul Craig
Paul Craig
4 min read
Print Friendly & PDF

Today's web isn't going away.

Today's web is no friend of the printed word.

I expect this will worsen as the years pass.

What's Wrong With Today's Web?


Or rather, certain forms of advertising.

Let's take something as simple as a recipe for an enticing entrée you wish to prepare.

You've endlessly scrolled through Google's search results or Instagram or Facebook or Pinterest or some other societal and soul-destroying information aggregator. Lo and behold, you have found the perfect dish that will, at least for a few moments, delay the aforementioned destruction of your soul.

You click on the link. After two or three pop-ups, you arrive at the introductory text of the post containing the instructions for preparing this gastronomic delight. You don't need to know how delicious it can be.

You also don't need to know the history of this dish. It is of no consequence to you that the author's great-great-great grandmother chiseled the recipe in microscopic text onto a flat tablet of granite enshrined in a glass case in an obscure museum in a small hamlet in Idaho.

(No offense to Idaho. Lovely place. Wonderful people. And the potatoes are proof of a benevolent being in charge of the universe.)

And so you scroll.

Because all you want to do is determine if you have the ingredients to make the damn dish. And, of course, you want the instructions.

And you scroll.

And you scroll.

As you scroll, you endure banner ads, pop-up ads, ads interrupting the text flow... and ads bouncing around the page causing the text to morph and rearrange itself like a science fiction shape-shifter.

This is you... trying to extract a simple recipe from the interweb. (Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

Most of these ads are irrelevant. In two plus decades of searching and reading on the web, I don't think I've ever clicked on an ad in a post.

I have ignored millions of them.

I will continue to do so.


It's a word I despise yet I'll never blame anyone for attempting to cash in on their website.

It's how they attempt to earn that is infuriating. It's the execution.

When an author attempts to generate revenue through ads that interfere with reader focus, the author generates something other than revenue.

They create annoyance. On particularly bad days, rage.

That should never be the goal... much less a byproduct... of visiting a site.

Bombarded with the aforementioned detritus, readers throw their hands in the air, click the back button in their browser and attempt to find some acceptable variation of the content just presented to them.

Creating an experience whereby the reader departs because of a monetization mechanism is a self-defeating strategy.

Self-defeating strategies are strong indicators of mental illness.

You, dear reader, can't control the author.

So, let's take matters into our own hands and use an available tool.

Print Friendly & PDF
Make a Printer Friendly & PDF version of any webpage.
Print Friendly & PDF. Happy trees?

Print Friendly & PDF is a browser extension available for Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari and other browsers. It converts a web page into a clean format by stripping away ads, navigation and other garbage.

Two Minute Tutorials with Tiffany provides concise installation instructions and an overview of Print Friendly & PDF's functionality.

How To Install Print Friendly & PDF
How To Use Print Friendly & PDF

The Power Features are the Secret Weapons

Power Feature #1: Secondary Cleansing

Print Friendly & PDF 's ability to clean the final document by deleting unwanted portions of the text is amazing.

Sometimes, stray portions of text make it through the cleansing process. Using the secondary cleansing functionality allows greater control over the final rendering.

Power Feature #2: PDF Output

The ability to preserve a web page is essential. Web pages come and go. Authors lose interest over time in their sites and end up deleting them. Vital information can disappear behind a paywall.

Bad things happen to perfectly good web pages. Converting and preserving in PDF format virtually guarantees long-term, local storage and preservation.


Print Friendly & PDF is free, available for all popular browsers, saves paper, saves ink or toner, reduces frustration and preserves the web.

If you find it useful and it delivers value to you, there's a tiny "Donate" button at the bottom of the About page. I'm sure any amount helps the ongoing development of this essential tool.


Paul Craig Twitter

Father. Husband. Practicing Stoic. 30+ years Printing and Substrate Technology. One step at a time.

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