Save a complete page so that I can read it later? Why would I need to do that?
After all, don’t we have those things called bookmarks? That unmanageable mess is within the reach of a click.
That’s fine as long as the web connection holds. Even a simple thing as a journey from Point A to Point B could take us away from our 24-hour plugged in lives. We have got so used to the web, that the information so readily available is taken almost for granted.
Then there are some web pages which have snippets of information that’s like gold dust. That important content could go down tomorrow with the website shutting down or just having a server catastrophe. We have seen how you can download a complete website for offline reading.
Call me paranoid, but when I come across a nugget of web information, there are times when I like to save the entire webpage in its exact glory. These few ways could help us keep our favorite webpages close by, to be read when we need to.
Save a Complete Webpage with “Save As”
I am probably wasting a few lines here but all browsers have the feature to save complete webpages. They have had it since the early days. It’s a simple single click job and here’s how it’s done in three of our popular browsers.
Note: The screenshots are from macOS Sierra.
The “Save As” Option in Mozilla Firefox
Click on the Menu button > Click Save Page. The Save As dialog window will open.
In the Save As dialog window, type in a name for the page you want to save and choose a location. From the Format drop-down, choose the type of file that you want to save the page as.
- Web page, complete
- Web page, HTML only
- Text files
- All files
Choose Web page, complete when you want to save the whole web page along with pictures. This keeps the visual look intact in most cases, but it may not keep the HTML link structure of the original page or any server side elements. Firefox creates a new directory where the page is saved to save pictures and other files necessary to show the whole web page.
You can also try the Save Page WE Firefox extension that can save a complete web page (or just its current state) as a single HTML enhanced file. It is compatible with Firefox version 57+.
The “Save As” Option in Google Chrome
Chrome also has a “Save As” option. You can access it from the Menu (the three vertical dots) > More Tools > Save Page As.
You can also load the webpage and right click anywhere on the page to get to the context menu and choose Save As. Or, do the quick keyboard thing with a press on CTRL+S (and Command + S in the Mac).
Google Chrome has a lineup of extensions that can give you the page for offline consumption. These two seem to work most of the time.
The Save Page WE extension isn’t any different from the browser’s default option. I like the Page Saver extension because it saves an entire webpage in a single file with all its dependencies.
The Reading List in Safari
Safari and its Reading List is one of the more user-friendly implementations for offline reading. Save a webpage to a reading list and read it anytime you want on any Apple device – even offline. You need two steps:
1. To add a page to the Reading List, click on the little + icon next to the Smart Search field. Alternatively, Shift-Click a link on a webpage or in your Shared Links list to quickly add it.
2. To read from the Reading List, click the Sidebar button and then the icon for the Reading List which resembles a pair of spectacles. To hide the list, click the Sidebar button again.
Safari uses iCloud to keep your Reading List the same on all your Mac computers and iOS devices that have Safari turned on in iCloud preferences. Thanks to iCloud, your Reading List and bookmarks are archived automatically, and you can restore them from an earlier version anytime.
What about Microsoft Edge? The fledgling browser does not have a default feature to save a webpage. Instead, you can print the page as a PDF or open it in Internet Explorer and use the Save As (Complete Web Page) command.
Take Advantage of Google Drive
You have a big free bucket in the cloud and it is called Google Drive. There are two official Google Drive productivity extensions that help to save webpages for later. The names are similar but the functions are different – so, let’s clear the air a bit.
Save to Google is a simple bookmarking tool that saves a webpage to the cloud. You can go to www.google.com/save/ and look through your saved links. But, it does not work offline.
Save to Google Drive is a transfer tool that allows you to send copies of entire web pages in a variety of formats (instead of just bookmarks) to your Google Drive. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can also choose a specific folder to save them to. And yes, as you know you can work with Google Drive offline.
Save Complete Webpages as PDF
If you want to save a precious webpage and keep it for posterity, take the PDF route. It sounds like you just took a few steps back. But consider the advantages – you can read them on any device and even annotate the page and send it to someone in a flash. It can be printed, shared or just kept in a folder for later viewing. Or just merge them all into one combined bundle.
There are enough PDF tools on the web to help you do anything with a PDF file.
Firefox, Safari, and Chrome both have Print and Save to PDF option that makes it a single second’s job. There are add-ons like Print Edit (for Firefox) and Print Friendly & PDF (for Chrome) that can help you clean the webpage and print a more clutter-free version.
You also might like to install a virtual printer driver like doPDF (Windows) that can handle PDF conversions across a wide variety of document formats like DOC, DOCX, DJVU, XLS, XLSX, XPS, PPT, PPTX, DOT, EML, VSD, PUB, PUBX, MPP, WPD, OpenOffice, DWG, HTML, TXT, PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF and many others.
Read It Later with Pocket and Instapaper
Several of the solutions we have explored so far are counterintuitive. After all, why clutter your hard drive with extra files that are a hyperlink away. Let’s say it is always better to have all the bases covered. Today, read-it-later services like Pocket and Instapaper have made it so easy to save a webpage and return to it when you have more time.
We have talked a lot about Pocket and its cross-platform utility. The offline access on any mobile device helps to chew up wasted time on flights and trips without WiFi access. Just make sure to download them first before you go offline. You can also save on data by loading your reading list before you hit a no-signal zone.
Pinterest helped turn Instapaper Premium into a free app last year. Once you sync the articles, you can read them online anytime. The Pocket rival has several interesting features that make it a must-have tool for voracious readers.
Do You Read Offline a Lot?
There are few more options we can talk about. A Kindle is a device I can think of to while away a few idle hours offline. Take full advantage of your Kindle by using the Send to Kindle Chrome extension for webpages and web snippets you want to read later.
I think we have enough tools for all our offline webpage reading needs now.
But, tell us if you have another alternative method? Do you save valuable Internet wisdom offline in some form?
Image Credit: M-SUR via Shutterstock.com