The problem of modern people (especially the ones who use the Internet) is not how to find information, but how to make sense of the vast ocean of results. Wise men say that there’s not enough time in one’s lifetime to read everything that’s contained on the web.
There’s just too much information out there that we have to be extremely selective in deciding which ones we should pick up. But even after the tight screening process, we still needs long hours to chew over everything.
Passion For Printing
And there lies another problem. Despite the ever growing consciousness of green living, humans have built the reading habit for centuries. It’s ingrained in their cells that reading equals extracting meanings from words printed on the dead tree. That’s why for many people, web page printing feels more natural than reading the content online.
If you’ve tried to print webpages, you’ll understand how ugly the results are. Not all sites provide easy web page printing. So most of the time we have to stick with pages of printout filled with ads, sidebars, and more ads, while the main content itself is scattered within long and narrow columns.
Modifying The Appearance
To get good looking and easy-to-read printouts from those printer unfriendly sites, you will need to modify the look of the pages before initiating web page printing.
There are several ways to to that, but we are going to look at the easiest. There are web services that provide their users with the ability to format any webpages into reader-friendlier versions. Two of them are “Readable” and “Readability”
Both have been mentioned before, so there’s no need to blab too long about them. But the basic use is like this:
- You go to one of their sites.
- Decide on the settings/style.
- Drag and drop their bookmarklet(s) to your browser’s toolbar.
- Press the bookmarklet everytime you want to have the easy-to-read version of a page.
If you are using Safari, then you can use shortcut keys to activate these bookmarklets. Safari assigns different numbers to bookmarks in order of their appearance. Go to the “Bookmarks > Bookmarks bar” menu to know what the shortcuts are.
Printing The Pages
After activating the bookmarklet, you will have the nicer looking page display. Printing it is a matter of clicking on the “Print” menu (or using Ctrl + P in Windows or Command + P in Mac).
Readibility has an extra print menu directly on the result page. You could also click on the icon to do the printing.
You could also choose to save the pages as a PDF document. It’s like having the ability to produce a nice looking e-book version of the page.
But Why Settle With Just One?
Nobody says that you should only use one style setting. Especially with so many options given by Readable. You could decide on one style, drag the bookmarklet, try another combination, and drag the bookmarklet again.
Having more than one style will give you more options on the result of the printing.
If you decide to take this path, you should take one more step in managing the bookmarks. At least give them different names like “Style 1, Style2, Style 3” or “Newspaper Style, Novel Style, eBook Style” etc.
This can be done easily by going to the bookmarks management menu. If you use Safari, it’s in “Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks” menu.
Firefox users should go to “Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks” menu.
To Choose Or Not To Choose
So which service should you choose? Which one is better?
After comparing the two, I found out that – at least for now, Readable is more tweakable than Readibility. Meanwhile, the print results I got vary depending on the combination of settings and browser. Sometimes Readable gives me better results than Readibility. Some other times it’s the opposite.
I guess you should find out for yourself which one gives you better results.
So do you print webpages? Do you know other easy methods to print easy-to-read webpages? If so, please share using the comments below.