How to print a web page as a PDF with links that work

The solution lies in a Safari or Chrome extension.

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My friend Swoozy got in touch: She needed to print some articles she’d written for the web as PDFs, but wanted to keep the links intact, so that those receiving them could follow them. It’s an easy proposition with a few options.

Web browsers render the text on a page as rich text in different ways—you can see this when you copy text from a web page and paste into a Word, Pages, or TextEdit document. Safari seems to handle using the built-in print to PDF function in OS X perfectly well, preserving a reasonable amount of formatting, as well as keeping hyperlinks marked and active.

mac911 print dialog

Safari can use a standard Print dialog and preserve links in a PDF it creates.

  1. Visit a web page in Safari.
  2. Select File > Print.
  3. In the lower-lefthand corner, select either Open PDF in Preview or Save as PDF.
mac911 save as pdf

The PDF menu in OS X allows many choices.

In my testing of Firefox and Chrome, just as I recall from previous attempts, the rendered rich text doesn’t pass through Apple’s PDF engine with links intact. However, there’s a third-party extension you can use in Firefox and Chrome to help with that: Print Friendly. (It’s also available for Safari.)

While it’s designed to reduce waste when printing web pages, it’s also a very nice way to produce cleanly formatted PDFs that retain hyperlinks. The only thing I’ve noticed is on pages that use pop-ups and footnotes to avoid cluttering a page, those items are stripped out along with other formatting.

mac911 print friendly

The Print Friendly extension cleans up formatting and also keeps links alive.

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