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Save Me from the Web

In response to our FAQtoid on how to save a Web page for later printing or viewing (see NetBITS-009), we got a pile of responses recommending techniques and software. Although we strive to cover all Internet platforms in NetBITS, most of the responses we received suggested Macintosh-specific solutions. We’re happy to publish tips and pointers to utilities for other platforms as well and will mention any we receive in a future issue.


With the Greatest of Ease — Several readers mentioned using Adobe Acrobat as a way to read and print Web pages offline. Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) is a platform- and page-independent proprietary way to shunt an output stream to a file that retains the look and feel of the original document. The upshot is that if you’ve installed PDFWriter, an Acrobat component, you can choose it from the Chooser on the Mac, or in the printer pop-up menu wherever you print on a Windows machine. PDFWriter simulates a printer in function, but takes the output and makes PDFs that you can store, print, or give to others. The Acrobat Reader software that can display them is free. For more about this, consult the Acrobat section of the Adobe Systems Web site. We’ll write more about Acrobat and the Web in a future issue of NetBITS.


Shareware Solutions — Many readers contributed their favorite shareware approaches to offline reading, such as the Mac programs WebDevil and Netscape History.

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Gordon R. Meyer <[email protected]> wrote to tell us about his favorite Macintosh Chooser extension.

A great Macintosh solution for offline reading is Print2Pict – a shareware Chooser extension. It does an excellent job of printing Web pages to disk files for later reading. (I use the PICT format, but there are many choices.) Everyone I’ve demonstrated it to has immediately adopted it.

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A similar approach is eDoc, according to Dan Ringrose <[email protected]>:

In the Mac world, the slickest way I’ve found to save or print Web pages (graphics and all) is a shareware program called eDoc. The version I evaluated (2.0) uses a Chooser printer driver to create a self-reading document. The files include graphics and can be printed. The program is small, elegant, and even has indexing capabilities.

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One more piece of shareware, says Josh Goetz <[email protected]>, lives up to its name.

I use a handy shareware print utility on my Mac at work called Net-Print. Often, a document or Web page contains only some material that I want to print out, not the whole document or full Web page. With Net-Print, all I do is highlight my selection, pull down the Net-Print menu, select Print Selection, and it does so.


Do It Yourself — If you only want to print the text on a Web page or don’t mind putting in a little extra work capturing graphics, you can get good results for free. Andrew Pavey <[email protected]> points out a browser feature that’s existed for a long time.

The major Web browsers enable you to save the HTML source for a Web page (which you can view or print later by opening the files within a Web browser). If you need graphics, you can save individual pictures separately via commands in pop-up menus that appear on the Mac by clicking an image and holding the mouse button down, or in Windows by right-clicking on the image. You might need to edit the HTML to fix the links to the images, but that’s not all that hard.

Good Dog — James Jennings <[email protected]> reveals a feature of Cyberdog, Apple’s neglected OpenDoc-based Web browser.

By default, Cyberdog can save the entire document, pictures and all, as a single self-contained OpenDoc document that can be read offline. Choose Save As from the File menu and click the Save button. There is nothing easier. In fact, saving just the HTML source requires an extra step -choosing Generic Document from the pop-up menu in the Save As dialog.

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