We've had some requests here at TechTrax to apply more efficient ways of printing articles. If we charged you to access these articles or bombarded you with advertising to pay for our work, we would definitely work harder to enhance all the features in our Ezine. However, this is an all volunteer effort and we don't make a dime off the work we do here to provide you with some of the best tutorials on the web. So we hope you'll understand that we don't now have the time to convert each article into a more convenient printable version.
However, you can do it quite easily on your own. And this article will show you how to do it.
First of all, we do try to keep our articles within page limits for easy printing. However, we have a lot of authors creating a lot of different types of articles in a lot of different formats and time doesn't always permit for size modification of images that cause the page to expand the full width of a page, or more.
You should also be aware of a few quick fixes that might help if you have problems printing our articles.
MSIE Version 5.5
If you attempt to print an article and only the first page prints, know that that is due to a bug in Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) version 5.5. TechTrax is created using some sophisticated scripting that version 5.5 had problems reading. So you only get the first page printed. To find out what version you are using, click Help > About and you'll see a dialog box that provides you with details about the version of software you are using. You can download an updated version of MSIE, here.
Another issue you should consider is the fact that it is always important to keep your software updated to the newest version you can. And since MSIE is free, you should use the latest version. Newer versions have new protection coded into them to help protect you from the latest viruses and security issues floating around the Internet. See Greg's article on this subject for more information: As the Worm Turns...Your Computer into a Zombie.
Another solution that might be an easy fix for you when attempting to print pages from the web is to first make sure that you are using the widest margins for your printer. All browsers should provide you with a print dialog box to make adjustments. And they'll all have their own set of defaults. In MSIE, click File > Page Setup. As you can see from the image below, the defaults here are set for .75".
However, my printer can print up to .2". So there's a lot of extra space being wasted due to default margins that are set too short. Most all printers can print to a minimum of 1/2" (.5"). So if you don't know what your printer limits are, you can at least set it to .5" to get an extra 1/4" on both sides. That extra 1/2" per page width might be all you need to get the page text fully set on your printed page.
Of course, you can also just click Landscape to print the pages out using the wider horizontal orientation.
A Useful Trick
Note! A cool trick to figure out your minimal printer margins is to open a blank page in Word. Click File > Page Setup and set all four margins to zero. Then click OK. A warning will tell you that your margins are incorrect and will ask if you want them to be reset. Say Yes. The print driver will set them to the minimal settings allowed by the printer you currently have installed as your default printer for Word. Then open the Page Setup dialog box again and note the defaults that have been defined for you. These will be the minimal margins you can set for that printer. Great trick for getting the most out of your page.
Copying To Word
The final solution is also fairly easy...just copy the article to Word to print. However, you will probably need to make a couple quick adjustments. So we'll take a look at the process. This is the same process I use each month to quickly copy all the articles into the Word doc version for our subscribers who request that version. Although I also then remove all the image references, since that version is optimized for our blind readers.
To copy and convert an article to Word, follow these steps:
- Find the article you wish to save and/or print from Word.
- Double click to select the first word in the title. This is similar to clicking at the beginning of text you want to capture in a document. However, with an HTML page, you can't really click in the article, so you need to select the first word to get your cursor started so you can select the text within the article. After the first word is selected...grab the Scroll Bar to drag the view to the bottom of the article, as shown below.
- Once you see the bottom of the article, hold down the Shift key and click at the end of the text. This will select the entire article.
Note that, alternatively, you can just hit Ctrl + A to Select All of the content on the page. But then, that is exactly what you get...all of the content on the page, including the menus. This may be a lot more than what you want. So using the above method to select the start to end text will probably serve you better.
- Once you have all the text you want in the article highlighted, either click Edit > Copy or just hit the Ctrl + C shortcut key to copy the image to the clipboard of your computer.
- Open a blank page in Word and either click Edit > Paste or hit the Ctrl + V shortcut to paste the content of your clipboard into the new document. This may take a few seconds for the information to be inserted.
- However, there will be a slightly hidden table structure for all articles that hold the article in place while online. So in order to have Word reformat the content to properly fit on a page, you need to remove that table. First you need to select that outer table. To do this, you can either click within the page and click Table > Select > Table, or hover your mouse over the upper/left corner of the page until the cross-hair inside a square appears. That is the Word table selection marker. When you see it, click it and you will select the entire table.
- Now you need to convert this table into regular text. When the wrapping article table is selected, as shown above, click Table > Convert > Table to Text. A conversion dialog box will appear to allow you to decipher how you want the table converted. You can use the default settings, except...be sure to uncheck the option to Convert Nested Tables. If you were to leave this checked as per its default, that would also convert any tables that might be within the article. Although this may not cause a big problem, it will most likely mess up some articles and make it harder for you to read the info if it contains any tabled data that would be reformatted into paragraphs.
- As you can see in the image below, now the document will reformat to fit within the margins of your blank page. You can now print the document or save a copy for future reference. HOWEVER! Note that there may be one more issue you may have to handle...images! (See further below for that info.)
A Paste/Format Macro
Obviously, having to copy, paste and reformat all the articles in TechTrax each month in order to put out the doc version can be time consuming. But I save a ton of time with a macro that does the job for me in seconds. This allows me to assemble all the articles, each month, in just a few minutes. Below is a macro that contains the steps above recorded into a macro. You can use this to quickly save articles for yourself.
Note! If you don't know how to use the code below within your own computer, see this article for detailed instructions about using provided macro code: Sharing Macros.
'PURPOSE: After copying the text of an article in TechTrax
'run this code to paste and remove outer table, as well
'as set article to single spacing, then moves after the article
'and enters a return so you can paste another
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdLine, Count:=1
Selection.Rows.ConvertToText Separator:=wdSeparateByParagraphs, _
'remove the next 3 lines of code if you don't want the
'article to become single spaced
.LineSpacingRule = wdLineSpaceSingle
Selection.MoveDown Unit:=wdLine, Count:=1
Images Copied from the Web
When you copy/paste images from a web page into a Word doc, you're not really getting the image itself. It will display properly assuming you're connected to the Internet because it will pull the images from it's original source (which may also just be cached on your hard drive for the time being). However, if you click on an image and hit Shift + F9, which will convert the image to any underlying field, you'll see that the image is really just a linked field.
Now if you just want to print the document, there's no problem as it should print okay. But if you want to save the article for future reference, you will want to first embed the images into the document so they will remain with the document and not disappear when you disconnect from the web.
Windows will allow you to take a snapshot of whatever is on your screen. However, if you have a screen capture program such as SnagIt, it will allow you to narrow down the screen shot to just the image you want. After you capture the image to the clipboard, you then have to swap it with the image that you think you have displayed there now. So click to select that image and hit delete. That will delete the field linking you to the web. Now hit Ctrl + V if you copied the screen shot to your clipboard. If you saved it from the web, then you'll have to click Insert > Image to insert the correct picture.
Once inserted, you may want to minimize it a bit to save yourself some paper and ink. Word does a great job of allowing you to easily adjust picture sizes while keeping the original resolution. So just click on a corner until you see your cursor turn into a double arrow. Then click and drag to the size you want.
Note that you'll want to be sure to use a corner handle to adjust the size. If you use one along the horizontal or vertical sides of a picture, it will cause the picture to warp. To keep the correct constraints to make sure the picture resizes equally both horizontally and vertically, either use a corner or hold down the Shift key as you make any adjustments. That key will keep the size constraint to avoid warping.
Once you've embedded all the images, you can save your version of the article to print and read/refer to at your leisure.
Just remember! All articles in TechTrax are copyrighted to the original author and TechTrax Ezine and they are all protected by Federal Copyright Laws. This means that you are breaking Federal laws if you copy one of our articles to use as your own! If you want to use one of our articles, contact the author or Dian Chapman and request permission to use the article. We generally permit use of our articles as long as all proper permissions are granted and copyrights are included. But if you use these articles without written permission, you are breaking the law! Don't do that!
Note however, that you do not need permission to provide a direct link to any of our articles from your web site. You can freely link any TechTrax articles as reference for the convenience of your web site visitors. (Well, unless you charge people to view the links like Expert Exchange. In that case we'll verbally bash you and tell everyone what slime you are!<vbeg>)