Printing a Web Page

May 28, 2009

Have you ever tried to print a page off of a web site only to get something other than what you expected? It’s difficult to explain why that happens without boring you with a lot of techo mumbo-jumbo. Suffice it to say, the code behind the web page you are looking at is complicated. Printing something that complicated is difficult. Plus, when you add in all of the banner advertisements, menus, and other junk around the actual content of the web page, the resulting printout may not be very useful.

But there are things you can do to make this better. Instead of printing, do a print preview first. To do that in Internet Explorer, instead of clicking on the printer icon, click on the little down arrow next to it and choose “Print Preview” from the pop-up menu. It will show you what the printout should look like when it prints. You can change the orientation of the printout from portrait to landscape here. You can also tell it to shrink to fit, which is helpful for printing web pages. Once you see how it’s going to print, you can print it right from the print preview window by clicking the printer icon.

Web designers often build special printing abilities into certain parts of their websites. For example, if  you read your e-mail on a website, don’t click the print button in internet explorer. Instead, look for a print link or icon on the web page. It will take your e-mail and format in a way that makes it print nicely, without any advertisements and such. It will usually be an a seperate pop-up window. You may have to hit the print button in that window once it comes up.

If you purchase something at an online store, they often provide a special link for printing your receipt. This is just like the e-mail printing I just mentioned. It’s specially formatted for printing. Look for these special links and icons on websites when you want to print. If you don’t’ find it, use print preview to make sure.

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