A nice little tool for printing blog posts

By Ken Perrott 10/08/2010

Sure, it can waste paper, but I often find it convenient to print off blog posts or web sites for later reading. Partly because it’s just impossible to read anything of length on a computer screen.

But very few blogs have a print facility. And even those web sites which do, such as most newspapers, are usually not convenient. For example they may not enable one to do a print pre-view. Or the print format may be horrible. Printing straight from the browser usually produces a cluttered result with often unreadable font sizes.

Imagine printing this page directly:

So, for a while now, I have been using this very simple tool – Readability. It enables print preview and produces good results. The post in the above image  is decluttered by readability to produce the image below.

It’s even possible to select different styles – The above style is Newspaper. It’s the one I use because it produces a clear and convenient page when printed. The font size is not too large – although that can be adjusted during setup.

Other styles can also be selected – and these may be useful for those wishing to produce a decluttered version for reading directly from the monitor. Below is the Novel style – there are others such as eBook. Athelas, and versions which place links at the end of the printed page.

A very recent update of Readibility is  McReadability or ’Multi-column Readability.’ This can be used to produce constant-height columns arranged side-by-side. It works best with lengthy texts. Not intended for printing it does make reading of longer posts easier without any need for scrolling.

Readibility is extremely easy to use. With Firefox and Safari just install a Readibility button (from the Readability site)  into their bookmark toolbar. With Internet explorer the button is added to the Favourites Bar Folder.  Then whenever you have a page you wish to print, click on the bookmark. Check the print preview before printing if you wish to select which pages to print.

The Bookish Pinoy has checked Readability on all browsers and reports that it works “seamlessly” (see Make the web look like a book or newspaper with Readability).

Give it a try.


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0 Responses to “A nice little tool for printing blog posts”

  • The latest versions of Safari also have a ‘Reader’ feature, which offers a one column view of longer texts within a web page. I mentioned it in my other web browsers article a little while back. If the browser detects an element with more than some length of text (I forget the details) it offers to present it as an article “stripped out” from the page it came from. A grey button with the word ‘Reader’ will appear to the right of the location or URL, as it currently is as I’m typing this 🙂 Clicking on this gives the de-cluttered view.

    Some sites give you an alternative “print” presentation of a page, using alternative style sheets, but not enough make the effort. In my opinion! (All they have to do is set the content in div tags and set the non-article div’s to display as ‘hidden’…)