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WYSIWYG Web Page printing in Mac OS X 10.8

4417 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 1, 2014 5:33 PM by lweisenthal RSS
bwulfe Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Feb 12, 2013 3:45 PM

Note: This issue actually goes as far back as I can recall in all prior versions of OS X:

 

Does anyone know why (or how to get around) the fact that when printing web pages on the Mac (I mainly use Safari; but have the same problems with FireFox & Chrome) I often do not get the page to print as displayed (often not even close).  I know about checking items such as whether or not "Print Background Items" and "Print Headers & Footers" options are selected; but I often get printouts with issues as small as some elements not printing to short pages (on the screen) getting elongated to very long - disjointed printouts (Frames most likely printing on different sheets & often with tiny icons replacing screen graphics.)

 

This is not related to a specific printer; since if I try to print to a PDF file, the PDF will have the exact same problems.  I don't even need to actually print in order to see the problem; since the print preview box in the print dialog shows me the distorted image that will result.  This can be especially frustrating when I am trying to print a Web Receipt for something purchased online.  Even sites that have embedded links to provide a printer-friendly page (often with a click-here to print link; which even opens up the OS X print dialog box) will fail to print as displayed & presumably intended by the web site.

 

This issue is not limited to any one Mac, OS X version or Web Browser.  I've dealt with this annoyance for years on several different Macs at Home, at my office, on a friend or relative's mac, etc.   I realize that there is most likely some issue between how the combination of HTML, Java, Flash & other elements combine to create a screen display & translating that to Postscript, PCL, PDF or whatever language is utilized by the output device.  It's just frustrating that with modern operating systems & web browsers (not to mention the occasional HTML encoded email) I can't get a printout to look like my screen display. (Short of taking a low-res screen capture or using a 3rd party safari plug-in that still doesn't always get things right & usually fails to print anything beyond the first page's worth of information, on web pages which are long enough to require lots of scrolling.)

 

While this support question is almost bordering on a "Rant"; I'd appreciate any input / advice available.  (BTW; before I get asked the inevitable questions ... I am practically anal when it comes to downloading & insalling updates for all software, plug-ins, drivers, OS-updates, etc.  So, I believe it is safe for anyone responding to assume that I am using the very latest software / drivers available.)

 

Thanks

Mac mini (Late 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), 2.6 Ghz i7 16GB RAM 1TB Fusion Driv
  • TheSmokeMonster Level 4 Level 4 (3,240 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 12, 2013 3:55 PM (in response to bwulfe)

    when in safari,

     

    file, print, hit the PDF button in the lower left. this should be what you are looking for.

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,845 points)
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    Feb 12, 2013 4:42 PM (in response to TheSmokeMonster)

    But he already said "if I try to print to a PDF file, the PDF will have the exact same problems."

  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (70,845 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 12, 2013 6:25 PM (in response to bwulfe)

    Could you provide the URL of a page that demonstrates the major problems you have described?

  • TheSmokeMonster Level 4 Level 4 (3,240 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 12, 2013 8:32 PM (in response to bwulfe)

    So what you see, is what you're getting then.

    I don't even need to actually print in order to see the problem; since the print preview box in the print dialog shows me the distorted image that will result. 

    Here in lies the problem.

     

    If you're saving a PDF from what you get from Print Preview, then you're saving the way it is showing you in print preview. printing this PDF is going to look no different then printing directly from the site.

     

    Some websites will have special CSS to handle how a page is rendered for print automatically.

     

    If print preview is not showing you what you thought you were printing, then it is still working, it would be the site and the way it was made that might give you trouble for instance if I'm not typing a response to you and just viewing the page, I get this when I hit print.

    Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 11.16.51 PM.png

     

    But if my cursor is blinking on a text field, like in this site, I get this.

     

    Screen Shot 2013-02-12 at 11.22.38 PM.png

     

    Which is just my reply.

     

    I'm guessing, since you said you're printing out reciepts, that this could be happening to you. your cursor, is blinking or selecting something that makes the printer think that you just want to print specific things.

     

    That is just a hunch as my second screen shot is not what I was expecting, however if I click off of the text box, I get the first screen shot with the reply box on the third page.

     

    Is this with all site or just some sites?

     

    An url would be nice, however this may have to do with the site, or your just a lucky guy and you've found a bug in the system!

     

    More information is needed.

  • TheSmokeMonster Level 4 Level 4 (3,240 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 12, 2013 10:23 PM (in response to bwulfe)

    in internet exploer 9 via virtual machine, I get this when I try to print that page.

     

    Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.13.44 AM.png

     

    Net standards for a printed page have changed.

     

    There are ways to ensure, with new standards in CSS that the printed page looks different then the website. They could also be doing this with Java Script.

     

    The fact that this page uses iFrames also makes it very possibly that it's hard for the site to distinguish the content of the site in the iframe, and the CSS gets negated when printing, which this is showing that the CSS files for this printed page is completely missing.

     

    Basically the CSS is not being seen when going to print or if it is, it's a modified version that has no styles associated with it.

     

    Other then that, I'm not sure why windows is able to print it just fine, as you've already stated.

  • ubucraig Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 17, 2013 7:58 AM (in response to bwulfe)

    This appears to be an industry-wide issue. I only searched for a short time, but there appears to be no solution - with very little acknowledgement that there is  a problem. "Solutions," as you have seen, tend to be from the coders perspective, talking about the problem from a CSS or HTML  - not plugins for the client side.

     

    An amusing link is to http://www.screengrab.org/, found via a Google search for wysiwyg +print +firefox +mac. The entire page has nothing on it except "It works!" Hardly.

     

    Good Luck

  • Tissueajit Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2014 3:06 AM (in response to ubucraig)

    I found Snagit has options to capture the whole window (even the portions that are not visible unless you scroll down/ right/ left) and then one can export that into PDF.

     

    http://www.techsmith.com/snagit-mac-whats-new.html

  • Softrack Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 12, 2014 9:24 AM (in response to bwulfe)

    This happens to me as well in all browsers: Safari 6, Chrome, Firefox. It's like something changed in recent versions of the OS or browsers, or something changed in how web pages are made, though I'm not an expert in that. All the browsers seem to strip out all of the formatting and most images to just very basic html when you try to print or create a PDF so that all you get is a bare bones page with text and maybe one picture. It's close to what you see when you click on the Reader button. And it's a real problem for me as I often want to refer to all of the page as it was designed.

  • lweisenthal Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 1, 2014 5:33 PM (in response to bwulfe)

    There is an iOS app called PDF Printer, from DAR Software, on the iOS app store.  It works brilliantly.  Exports perfectly to a PDF file, which may then be emailed from one's iOS device to one's OSX device.  Web pages formatted in perfect WYSIWYG, all pages (not simply the first page of a multi-page web page).

     

    I don't understand why it's possible to do this for iOS but not for OSX.

     

    - Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

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