Print What You Like

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Promotional Video

PrintWhatYouLike was selected as a finalist for the Iowa Technology Association Prometheus Awards for the Environment Award of Excellence (Products and Services). We produced a promotional video for the award ceremony that will be played when PrintWhatYouLike is introduced as a finalist. Check out the video!

1 Comment February 16th, 2009 by Cassie

Life's too short to spend clicking "Next" – Introducing PageZipper

Are you ever frustrated by websites which force you to click “Next” over and over again to get the next page in an article or the next image in an image gallery?  Next links chop up the flow of what you reading, and constantly leave you staring at that hourglass cursor waiting for the next page to load. PageZipper is a bookmarklet which automatically adds all the “Next” pages to the page you are on, so you don’t have to click “Next” and you certainly don’t have to wait for any pages to load.

Try it out:

PageZipper automatically finds the Next link on a page- you don’t need to tell it anything. As you scroll to the bottom of a page, it will append the next page to the bottom of the page you’re on. You can also click Control-Down Arrow to skip directly to the top of the next page. On image galleries, Control-Down Arrow will skip you directly to the next image in the gallery.

The original idea for PageZipper came from the brilliant Mr. Paul Davis who is working on a project similar to PrintWhatYouLike at and has a super-cool blog here:

Eventually the code behind PageZipper will be integrated into PrintWhatYouLike.  Imagine printing Time’s list of the 50 best websites of 2008. You would have to individually print each one of the 50 web pages!! That would take hours, not to mention waste entire forests worth of paper.  But PrintWhatYouLike will soon have a solution- Instead imagine loading the first page of the list into PrintWhatYouLike.  Use the PrintWhatYouLike tools to remove all the ads and format the page to look just how you want.  Then click an “Extend Series” button. This button will use the PageZipper code to retrieve the other 49 webpages in the best websites list, apply your chages from the first page to each of those pages, and append those pages to your first page. The result will be one document which contains all 50 articles in the ‘best websites’ list, and looks exactly how you want. You could then print this as one print job or save it as one pdf. If you were using the plugin, you could close it and read the entire list all as one page.  That is where PrintWhatYouLike is headed.

4 Comments December 16th, 2008 by Jonathan

Edit private pages with the new bookmarklet

At long last PrintWhatYouLike has a real bookmarklet! Now you can include the PrintWhatYouLike editor in any page just by clicking the bookmarklet. Here’s how it works:

  1. Install the bookmarklet by going here
  2. When you come upon a page that needs some editing, click the PrintWhatYouLike button in your bookmarks toolbar
  3. The PrintWhatYouLike editor will appear around the page you’re on.  The editor works the same as if you had loaded the url into, but you will never leave the page you are on
  4. When you are finished making changes, click the PrintWhatYouLike button again, and the editor will disappear. Only your modified page will remain

The bookmarklet has a couple advantages over entering a url into

  • more convenient – you never leave the site you’re on
  • works on any page, including private/password protected pages like webmail!
  • does not disable javascript

The bookmarklet works on map sites like mapquest and google maps. It does not work on the default view of ajax-heavy email sites like Gmail (Gmail’s iframes wreak havoc on the editor), but it does work on the printer-friendly view.

Since you can now use the bookmarklet on private information, a quick note on privacy is in order: The bookmarklet does not record or distribute any information about you or the page you are viewing. With one exception: If you click “Save as Pdf,” the content of the site you are on is forwarded to a 3rd party service which converts it to a pdf. PrintWhatYouLike does not store any of this data, but I cannot make any guarantees about the 3rd party service. So if you are reading the CIA personnel list or the recipe for Coka-Cola, I would recommend against using ‘Save as Pdf’. Everything else is safe. You can easily verify this by using a tool like livehttpheaders, firebug or wireshark to spy on the bookmarklet.

As always, if you find something which doesn’t work or you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

4 Comments December 4th, 2008 by Jonathan

The Latest Updates

It has been a looooooong time since I’ve written anything here! Fortunately there is a good reason- I’ve been busy working on new features and fixing lots and lots of bugs. The biggest new feature is the option to save a page to pdf. This turned out to be a lot harder than I expected. After more than a week of teeth gnashing I finally came up with a ridiculously complicated Rube Goldberg method of saving the pdf that involved sending the data back and forth between the server and the browser. It worked, and it dodged all the browser bugs and incompatibilities that make ajax programming so adventurous, but it wasn’t pretty. Then a few days ago I learned a javascript trick using document.write, and in the space of an afternoon rewrote all the ‘save as pdf’ code into something that was simpler, faster, more reliable, and 1/3 as much code. Don’t you hate it when that happens!

Since going live, I’ve also made a lot of other changes, most of which aren’t as visible.

  • PrintWhatYouLike now handles sites with frames intelligently instead of just giving up and returning an error message.
  • The site also handles pages with international characters correctly. I’m not sure how I overlooked that while testing the app before it went live, but lots of people emailed to let me know about it 🙂
  • Pwyl can now handle any type of url, including urls with spaces in them
  • And tons of smaller bug fixes

Now I’m working on a browser plugin that will run the PrintWhatYouLike editor inside your browser. The advantage of this is that you can edit private/password-protected pages like your email (assuming you have webmail). So finally there will an easy way to print emails without those stupid three page legal disclaimers every corporation insists on putting at the bottom of every email!

6 Comments November 21st, 2008 by Jonathan

Holy Cow!!

Wow! The response to PrintWhatYouLike has been overwhelming!  Thanks to everyone who has tried out the site! Unfortunately, the response has literally been overwhelming for the server. Since this morning the site has been coughing up “exceeded quota” error messages. Some changes have been made to reduce the load on the server, I think the error messages have mostly gone away now.

To reduce the server load, I had to remove the save changes feature. With save changes, every time somebody makes a change on a page, an ajax request with the contents of the change is sent down to the server. The next time somebody goes to the same page, the site will offer to apply the previous changes to the page.

I’m working on revamping the save changes feature so there is a save button. You changes will only be saved when you click the button, as opposed to any tme you make a change.

19 Comments September 19th, 2008 by Jonathan

And we're live…

After being annoyed by how bad webpages look when printed for about 10 years now, I’ve finally decided to do something about it! is the result. The idea is that you should be able to manipulate pages to make them print as nice as an article printed in a journal.  No ads, no half the page taken up by empty space, and no info boxes sitting above the text you are trying to read. Just the stuff you wanted to print.

I coded this application to suit my own needs. So everything works perfectly, for me:) But since you are not like me, you are probably wondering why the heck doesn’t this thing support feature xyz. So if you have any ideas about how PrintWhatYouLike could be made better, please write them down in the comments section!  Here are some of the new features I’m working on:

  • The ability to save a set of changes.  So if I was a student majoring in city planning, and I print lots of articles from The Journal of Urban Design, I could go to an article on that site, apply all the changes needed to make the page print worthy, and then save that set of changes. The next time I need to print an article from that site, I can just apply my saved set of changes to the new article. Making any article on that site printer friendly is now just a matter of clicking the button to apply my saved changes. If later I also need to print articles from Urban Design International, I can just create a second template for that site.
  • The ability to resize page elements
  • If page includes both screen and print stylesheets, use the print stylesheet
  • An odometer type dial that tracks how much paper you have saved
  • Fix all the bugs!

If you have any other ideas, please let me know! Or if you have spotted any bugs, or used the site in an interesting way, or know of other ways to save paper, or have a friend in Nigeria who needs to transfer some money, please add it too the comments!

29 Comments September 12th, 2008 by Jonathan