One of the frustrating things about some websites, including many blogs, concerns printing.
Let’s say you’re on a site reading an article or post and you want to print out a hard copy. It’s common to get a result that runs into pages, more than you actually need, and not formatted for the purpose. Worse, especially if a website uses frames, you may get lots of blank pages before (or after) you get that one page you want.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your hard copy in a format that’s designed for print, doesn’t waste half a rainforest of paper and is easy on the eye to read?
I recently discovered a great way to do this on this blog, with a plugin for WordPress from Hewlett-Packard.
Called HP Blog Printing, once you’ve installed and activated it, you get a little widget to position wherever you want to in your blog. That widget gives you a button called ‘print posts’ – you can see it on every page here at the top left of your screen.
When you’re reading a post and click on the button, you get a popup window like this:
The page you’re on is selected; clicking the print button in the window starts the printing.
Here’s where the plugin really is good.
Rather than just print out a hard copy, it creates a PDF file of your page which downloads onto your computer. You can then print that out, or not as you wish.
This is what the example highlighted in the window above looks like:
The one thing to watch out for is if you click on the ‘print posts’ button on a blog’s home page. The popup will appear with every single post highlighted, which may not be what you want or were expecting.
My take: Overall, very nice indeed. Also take a look as what Richard Gatarski says about HP Blog Printing – he’s elaborated a bit on installation and usage, and points out a couple of niggles he had with installation (I had no problems with that).
Still, a nice job from HP’s Tabblo developer community. And it’s free. In addition to the version for WordPress, there’s also one for Movable Type.
Finally a good plugin that gives the possibility of creating a PDF file…nice!
Thanks for the post!
It is a useful plugin, Andrea. Glad you think so too!
Thanks for writing about this. I tried the printout on your site, without reading your post completely. I was baffled until I realized that it’s downloading a .pdf (which I realized once I completed reading your post…blush). Now to try it on my blog.
Cool application! Thanks again.
It baffled me too, Brad, when I first used it. Not clear re PDF first and there’s no way I can add any explanation to the widget.
Still, it’s pretty good though!
Hi Neville, when I saw this plugin I thought great I will use it. I am on WP 2.3.2 and when I activate the plugin nothing appears on either the sidebar or main column. Is this a compatibility problem?
It should work, John. I’m also on WP 2.3.2 and the ‘print it’ button appears at top-left of each page as it did before I upgraded to this latest WP version. Posts do create and download PDFs and print.
So I don’t think it’s a compatibility issue with the plugin and WordPress.
Couple of things to check:
1. The latest version of the plugin is 1.1.8. Make sure you have that one.
2. Check that your theme supports WP widgets. I see you have the Cutline 1.1. theme, which I think does support widgets, so it doesn’t look like that’s a problem. But there is also Cutline 2.0 which definitely supports widgets.
3. An obvious one, but you did drag the ‘print it’ widget to your sidebar, right, in Dashboard -> Presentation -> Widgets?
After upgrading to WP 2.5 I still contend that HP Blog Printing is only half way good. To begin with, I can’t get it to work with 2.5 (and I guess the same goes for your blog here, because the widget is gone as far as I can see). Furthermore, trying to find any help on HP:s Tabblo site is fruitless. Confusing and non-common web 2.0 structure makes it impossible for me at least to find any advice. Too bad, because the basic function of their print plug-in is promising.
I agree, Richard – HP Blog Printing just doesn’t work on this blog. I don’t think it’s a WP 2.5 issue, though, as it’s working just fine on my Next tech blog which is running 2.5.
Haven’t had time to dig into it to troubleshoot so I’ve just disabled it for the time being.