DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - DEC 2019

USING FIREFOX'S EASY-TO-SET WEBPAGE PRINT FEATURE


Don's Freeware Corner articles are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG) Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page https://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html where there may be corrections and updates.

USING FIREFOX'S EASY-TO-SET WEBPAGE PRINT FEATURE

2020 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2020-02-08

PRINTING WEBPAGES

Printing a webpage can be done is several ways. Some are easier and more flexible to use than others. That is, on some it is easy to change the font size, margins, page numbers, etc. For handout notes for my family history classes I update the online notes on my website a few days before the class and then print hard copies for people to have in hand to take notes on or mark things to follow up on later. That way, they can concentrate on the presentation and not have to take detailed notes as we go along. I find that class notes need updating just before teaching the class, since about 1/4 of all websites change every year, and new things are constantly being produced.

To make printed notes for my classes, after I update the online notes, I print it to pdf and, from that, print one hard copy on paper to take to the UPS store to print the copies for the class. That is much cheaper than printing them all on my own printer. With the pdf saved on my computer I can easily print more copies exactly like the handouts, if I need them.

WEBPAGE BROWSERS

My default browser is CHROME, but CHROME's print menu doesn't allow easy adjustment, so for many years, to make my handouts for classes I have updated my online class notes and then used FIREFOX to print the pdf copy. It has much better print options than CHROME. But the latest versions of FIREFOX have bugs and don't read webpages correctly, and hence, don't print them correctly. I have tried several other browsers to see if they have an easy-to-use print set-up menu and haven't found any that do. So, what to do? Read on.

THE FIREFOX BROWSER

FIREFOX is a good browser and free, as are most browsers, but the last few versions won't read webpages correctly. To illustrate, here is the link to the notes for a class I taught recently: http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-googlemaps.html . Open this website with CHROME and see how the paragraphs are numbered. Now open it in FIREFOX (70.1 64-bit) and look at the numbers. This has been the case with the last several versions of FIREFOX and I don't know why. Before noticing this numbering problem, I had passed out class notes based on recent versions of FIREFOX and class members said that the numbering was different than what I was showing on the screen in the class. It took me several weeks to find where the problem was coming from and it was in the FIREFOX browser. I tried printing the pdf using other browsers and they had the numbering correct,; they not  the flexibility that FIREFOX has. Recently, it occurred to me that maybe older versions of FIREFOX were still available and could be used and not have the bug. After searching, I was able to find and download the installation program for FIREFOX, version 49.0, and the numbering is correct! Hallelujah! [But see the note I added later below.]

FIREFOX VERSION 49.0

The current versions of FIREFOX are about versions 70. An old version that still installs on WINDOWS 10 (64-bit), and that works to show webpages correctly, is version 49.0 available from https://www.filepuma.com/download/mozilla_firefox_32bit_49.0.1-12842/download/ . This is from a website that I use regularly and have never got a bug from. I uninstalled my current version of FIREFOX and downloaded and installed version 49.0 and it worked fine. The print menu is the same in the current versions of FIREFOX, but they don't show the webpages correctly.

[ADDED NOTE SEVERAL MONTHS LATER:  I haven't been able to use the earlier version of FIFRFOX very easily since it continually tries to update itself, so I'm still trying to find a better solution.  I'll keep you posted.]

THE PRINT FEATURE OF FIREFOX

To print a webpage using FIREFOX, open it in FIREFOX and click on the "hamburger" icon, the 3 horizontal bars in the upper right corner. On this menu is the Print Menu and when you click on Print, you see the webpage in print mode. Here is a picture of what it looks like.

https://uvtagg.org

Across the top are the words, Print, Page Setup, Page No. 1 of xx, Scale, Portrait, Landscape, and Close. Print takes you directly to your default printer and I always set my default printer to be Microsoft Print to PDF, so I don't inadvertently print to hard copy. Page Setup has the options of orientation (Portrait or Landscape), Margins, and Headers & Footers. Here is a screenshot of Page Setup with the Margins and Header/Footer options open.

https://uvtagg.org

You can set all four margins here and the numbers .5 and .3 are in inches. For Headers and Footers you have Left, Center, and Right, at both top and bottom  The options for each are: Blank, Title, URL, Date/Time, Page #, Page # of #, and Custom. Custom allows you to enter anything you want for any of the 6 positions. On the Scale menu are numbers 30% up to 200%, Shrink to Fit, and Custom. I usually see how it looks at 100% and see how many pages it will take. Then, depending on the size of the handout, I change the percent to take 2 to 4 pages, if the font size is not too small.  Setting this percent automatically shrinks or stretches the font size. If a setting leads to only a few lines on the last page, I click on Custom and set the percent slightly smaller, so the last page is filled, but it doesn't go over onto another page. As soon as you set the percent, you see the text in that size and the number of pages it will take at the top. This is what is so easy to use and get it the way you want it. This works well for printing text, but not as good for printing images. It does work for images, but it's not as easy to see what you will get. The class notes I print are mostly text, so this is easy to use and gives good results.

CONCLUSIONS

The print feature in FIREFOX is easier to use than in any other browser that I have found, but to get it to work correctly, I have had to go back a couple of years and use an older version. I haven't tried to determine which version was the last one that displayed webpages correctly, but version 49.0 from about 2017 does. I uninstalled the current FIREFOX version (about 70.0) from my computer and replaced it with the older version. But, as I mentioned in the added note above, it continually wants to update itself and this now causes problems.  Anyway, FIREFOX works well for printing most webpages and I hope they get the bug fixed soon so the new versions work the way the old versions did.
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