Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Only print specific sections of a web page and save the world

P*ss off advertisers the world over by only printing out the bits of a web page you want.
PrintWhatYouLike.com logo
The oxymoron that is
environmentally friendly printing

To be fair I’ve been doing this for years and single handedly saving the rainforests and defending pandas by copying any text from a site I want to read in a non digital format into Notepad and printing from there.

However you often want more than just the text (like pictures) and you've only a big red LED light where your laser printer should have a green LED light for presence of magenta ink and you know that printing all the adverts on a web page will push it over the edge.

So for you I present "PrintWhatYouLike.com, save the money, save the environment, print what you like". Really if I felt they were truly serious about saving the money and saving the environment they wouldn't be encouraging printing at all but I guess they're half way there and "save a bit of money, and a part of the environment" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Thanks to my colleague for forwarding me the link, it's really straightforward; the site lets you input the URL you wish to print then remove page elements before printing, such as MPUs, side bars, removing background. It also works the other way round - you can just select the bit of the page you want and isolate it. Internet Explorer did crash when I tried big manoeuvres when printing my own blog such as removing the background or isolating one blog post. Firefox on the other hand coped perfectly and quickly.

I rarely print stuff and when I do I just do my copy and paste to Notepad trick - plus a lot of sites have print style sheets these days which cut out clutter anyway but nevertheless it's a clever gadget with a good heart. Just remember to only use it in Firefox.


jonathan_pwyl said...

Hi Ed,
Awesome post! Just a few notes-

We don't encourage people to print, but in some situations paper printouts are still necessary. For instance many people use the site to print recipes, which probably works a lot better than trying to set up a computer in the kitchen. We are almost finished with an save to pdf option. So you will be able to choose between printing your edited document or going 100% eco-friendly and saving it as a pdf.

And yea, cpu intensive javascript + IE = trouble. We're working on it.

-Jonathan (jonathan@printwhatyoulike.com)

Ed S said...

Wow, appreciate the official response! Good blog monitoring. How few companies i've spoken to or worked for monitor blogs - there's a lesson in SEO and PR management.

My lambasting of your eco credentials was slightly tongue-in-cheek but appreciate the clarification. I also have to print as mentioned in the post and there's always recycling.

Save to PDF option - Fantastic idea and what Google Docs also do presumably for the same reason (to allow emailing). Although if I need to forward a site electronically I would just email a link to the site rather than print to pdf and attach! (realise sites change and this can provide a static snapshot though).