There is a Light
We recently received a comment from a reader regarding the difficulty he had printing articles from the Rocket Yard blog. Well, it wasn’t difficult in the sense that hitting ⌘P was too much work. The problem was that there were all sorts of extraneous unwanted junky-things that would print right along with what he really wanted – the content.
Ads, menus, backgrounds, and footers are but a few of the offending items that get in the way of a good, clean read. Not only can they make for a messy read later on, but they are also ink-hogs. And nobody likes ink-hogs.
But there’s no need to give up hope, for there is a light that can shine on the darkness of your printing despair. It is an easy solution for capturing only the blog content and its associated images from a Rocket Yard article, as well as most other posts you find online. That light is called Safari Reader.
What is Safari Reader?
Safari Reader is not new to the Mac by any means. In fact, it was introduced with Safari 5 in 2010. Safari Reader allows you to read an article from any supported webpage, distraction-free. No ads, no navigation, just the content. But it isn’t just the online reading that is made more comfortable – it’s the printed version as well.
Note: Find out more about Safari Reader in the guide, “Ride the Waves: 8 Tricks for Better Safari Surfing.”
How to Enable Safari Reader View
To turn on Safari Reader View for an article, choose “View > Show Reader,” or hit ⇧⌘R. You can also click the Reader View icon in the Address Bar:
To disable Safari Reader View, hit ⇧⌘R again, choose “View > Hide Reader,” or click the Reader View icon in the Address Bar again:
Printing Safari Reader View
When it comes to printing the Reader View version of the webpage, it is as easy as you might think. Hit ⌘P or choose “Print…” from the File menu, and Safari will automatically know that you want to print the Reader View.
Notice the differences in the output when printing a Standard View version and a Reader View version from this Rocket Yard sample:
Of course, you can also use the same print function to save the Reader View version as a PDF. Simply select PDF in the bottom left corner of the print window, select “Save as PDF” and choose the location where you would like the document saved.
I will point out that one annoying thing about printing in Reader View is that the font size can’t be changed. At least I can’t figure out how to adjust it. Yes, I’m glad I can view the article without my reading glasses hanging off the end of my nose, but dang the text is ginormous. Being able to reduce the font size would be a bit more manageable and save a few trees in the process. If anyone has figured out how to reduce the text size in Reader View when printing, please let us know in the comment section below!
Note: You can adjust the font size when viewing, but not when printing. (⌘- and ⌘+ increments the size up and down.) Kind of strange if you ask me.
Font Size Workaround
If you feel the font size issue is casting a dark shadow on your new-found printing light, alas! There is hope. Here is one trick you can use to reduce the font size for an article you want to print or save as a PDF or plain text document.
- Select all of the text on the desired webpage when in Reader View (⌘A).
- Create a new document in a text editor like TextEdit.
- Paste the text without its corresponding formatting (⇧⌥⌘V). This is also called “Paste and Match Style” and will insert only the text, no other media or styles like lists, alignment, bold, italics, etc.
- Set the font size to whatever you’d like using your standard method. This will vary by application, though ⌘- and ⌘+ should work in most applications running on a Mac.
- Print the document as you usually would.
Done! It ain’t pretty, but it works.
Printing a Webpage Without Images
So, what if you find that removing all of the extraneous stuff just isn’t enough. Sometimes those Rocket Yard bloggers get a little image-heavy, right? Guilty as charged. 🤫 And perhaps you don’t need or want the visuals on your printed copy. (Just the facts, ma’am. #JoeFriday). Well, the good news is that there is a way to disable all of the images on the page to give you a pristine, text-only copy of the article your heart so desires.
It’s yet another clunky workaround, but it will deliver the desired result. You just need to become a developer temporarily! Sort of. Here’s how it works:
- Open Safari Preferences (“⌘,” or “Safari > Preferences…”)
- Navigate to the “Advanced” tab.
- Check the box at the bottom labeled “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”
Viola! You now have a new top-menu item called “Develop.” Select said menu, and a little more than halfway down, you will see an item named “Disable Images.” I am fairly certain you can guess what this does.
After selecting “Disable Images,” navigate back to the page you want to print and reload the content by hitting ⌘R, selecting “View > Reload Page,” or by clicking the reload icon to the right of the Address Bar:
The images on the page will magically disappear. Now when you print, all of your ink-hogs will be gone, and you will be happy:
At this point, I would highly recommend you unselect “Disable Images” from the Develop menu lest you forget and risk a panic attack the next time you visit Pinterest. No, you haven’t been hacked. You can also kill the Develop menu entirely by returning to your Safari Preferences and unchecking “Show Develop menu in menu bar” in the “Advanced” settings.
Automatically Use Safari Reader
Is there a particular site that you always want to view with Safari Reader enabled and not be bothered by continually turning it on and off? Don’t worry, Safari has you covered!
- Open Safari Preferences (“⌘,” or “Safari > Preferences…”)
- Navigate to the “Websites” tab.
- Select “Reader” in the “General” menu to the left.
To the right will be a list of every website you currently have open. For each site, you can toggle on or off the ones you would like to always default to the Safari Reader view. This can be helpful for sites you frequent and want quick access to the written content only.
There is also an option to enable or disable Safari Reader for every other site you visit.
See the Light
I’d be interested in knowing how many of you use Safari Reader, and how often. Also, do you use it for direct printing or saving PDFs? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below. I’m willing to bet there are a lot of people who grumble about ads slowing sites down and making articles challenging to read but fail to even realize the convenience and ease of using Safari Reader!
I’ll admit, I was one of those people until just a few years ago when I finally saw the light. The reading light, that is.