It’s no surprise to most readers that I hate buying printer ink. I find the process wasteful and expensive even if I recycle empty ink cartridges. You can imagine my joy when I found a free utility that saves ink and paper. It does this by allowing me to select the items from a web page I wish to print. It even saves web pages as a PDF file.
Before I knew anything about inkjet cartridge yields and costs, I would just hit the Print button. Although I reuse paper, I was still wasting money on ink cartridges. This was because I had little control over what was printed. I could print using “draft mode”, but that wasn’t enough. And using the Print Selection on my DeskJet didn’t work well if I had discontinuous items.
I was little skeptical about Print What You Like as I had tried print management utilities such as HP Smart Web Printing. At first, that program worked well, but then it started giving me software driver problems and I uninstalled it.
Although the program is small, it’s packed with features such as:
- Ability to isolate items you want to print
- Increase or decrease font sizes
- Change from one font to another
- Remove images, ads, comments
- Combine items from different web pages
Print Friendly Alternative
You’ve probably seen websites that offer print-friendly pages. The webmaster has created a separate template that removes extraneous information such as ads. But not all sites offer this convenience.
As example, I used PrintWhatYouLike on my creating distribution lists in Gmail tutorial. The service has several ways to control the content. You could click the Auto Format (1) button and let the program decide what to print. Or, in my case, I used the radio button in the Page Properties section.
In an earlier test, I chose to remove the Twitter Fail Whale graphic. You can repeat this process with other page items or allow the program to “Do it For me”. This is where the software removes as much extraneous info as possible. If too much is removed, you can click Undo and the content reappears. The process works the same if you use the service from www.printwhatyoulike.com.
Saving a Web Page as PDF
Another great feature is you can save a web page as a PDF file. I have some friends that won’t look at a web page even if I send them an email link. However, they will look at an attached file. I could’ve used this service earlier this week when I needed to save a conference pass, but I wasn’t near a printer.
This process converts most web pages, but I did encounter some issues. I like to use a Firefox security add-on called NoScript which is incompatible with this feature. I also noticed that some pages, such as the Twitter guide above, the service can’t convert the web page to a PDF file. My guess is it’s too large a page. You’ll get an error message with a cute picture.
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Print What You Like
- Ease of Use
I’ve found this free ink-saving utility very worthwhile. The company provides a nice demo that highlights some of the features. It does take some experimenting to see which features work best on sites. If you make a mistake, it’s easy to recover using the Undo button. While I can’t quantify how much money and paper I’ve saved, I can see visible differences. And every bit counts.
- Website: www.PrintWhatYouLike.com
- Cost: Free
- Requirements: Run from website or browser bookmarklet