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Convert Web Page to PDF or Word Document

Posted on January 14, 2009 by Bo

Convert Web Page to PDFWe’ve all found a web page that we wanted to print out for reading away from the computer or just to have a physical copy for easy reference. However, simply clicking on the Printer icon doesn’t always give you the best results. You could easily end up printing a page with unwanted advertisements or images.

Here I will outline a better way to have a copy of this content for easy printing. It just takes a little bit of patience and time, but you end up with your favorite website’s content in a flexible format that can either be printed or transferred to a handheld device for easy reading.

Please note that this should only be used for personal use and not for illegal offline distribution of any kind. Please protect the rights of the authors of online content.

1. Copy Content from Web Page
We’ll start by copying the desired content of a web page and pasting it into Word. Typically, you’ll want to position your cursor to the immediate left of the article title/heading and click and drag straight down the page while still holding down your mouse button. Keep dragging downward until you get to the last word in the article (or the location where you want to stop copying).

Depending on the layout of the page you’re copying, it may be tricky to copy the content while avoiding any unwanted advertisements or stray icons/photos. If there are numerous ads or other obstacles within the article that you do not wish to copy, you may find it easier to copy portions at a time instead of all the content at once.

Once you have either the segment or the entire article selected, copy the content (cmd/ctrl+c) and go to your Word document. Simply paste (cmd/ctrl+v) the content within your Word document. You should see all the content, including both text and images, that you intended to copy.

2. Arrange Layout
Depending on what all was copied from the web page, it may be necessary to rearrange the layout or add and delete certain elements or content. You may want to spend a few moments just quickly browsing through the article to make sure that everything is in order.

Repeat the above steps for each article you wish to copy. Continue pasting the articles one after another into your Word document.

3. Change Article Titles to Headings
In order for our Table of Contents to work, we’ll need to insure the title/heading of the article is correctly formatted as a Heading within Word. Make sure the Formatting toolbar is visible (View > Toolbars > Formatting).

Select the title/heading of the article. Make sure that only the text of the title is selected and no extraneous spaces or lines are selected. From the Style drop down menu in the Formatting toolbar (the drop down menu to the immediate left of the Font drop down), choose Heading 1.

If there are sub-titles in the articles you are copying, choose Heading 2 for them.

4. Create Table of Contents
Go back to the very beginning of your document and press Return a few times to add a few lines of spacing before your first article. We’re creating room for where your Table of Contents will be placed.

Go to Insert > Reference > Index and Tables and choose the Table of Contents tab. You have a few display options for how your Table of Contents, mostly regarding whether or not to show the page numbers, how to align them, and if they will be active links within the document. To get the most out of your Table of Contents, I would recommend using hyperlinks as this adds easy navigation within the Word document and the PDF version.

At this point, you can save your document and have a working copy of your favorite website complete with a Table of Contents. However, we can take this a step further and convert it to PDF.

5. Convert to PDF
The easiest way to do this is by simply using the tools provided with Adobe Acrobat. Just use the Convert to Adobe PDF command in the Adobe PDF toolbar within Word.

If you don’t have access to Acrobat, you can use free tools (doPDF) to create a virtual PDF printer for your computer. Simply install the software, go to File > Print like you normally would, and choose the virtual PDF printer from the printer drop down menu.


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