Printable stuff

People ask me, what's the best way to create something people can print out from my website? There are lots of ways! Here's what I recommend:

  1. Create your form or publication and save it as a PDF (Portable Document Format). The program I use is PDF Creator, a free download from SourceForge. Do choose "custom install" and be sure to tell it NOT to install the free yahoo toolbar that comes with it because that tends to slow down your internet browser.
  2. Upload to your site (see instructions for Document Management)
  3. Link from an article (see instructions for Linking)

Pages can be printed from the viewer's internet browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc) but sometimes the browser formatting creates way more pages than you would like.

In some cases, it seems to work well to include the entire text of the publication (say an event brochure) in an article, but help your viewer by placing a link to a PDF "printable version" near the top of the article.

The side benefits of doing it that way are:

  1. Search engines will find key words in the article text, helping to lead people to your site
  2. Viewers can easily skim through or search the text of the publication before deciding to print.
  3. Saves paper!

An alternative storage method for PDFs: Several sites provide PDF storage and viewing methods. Try Dropbox.com or GoogleDrive.