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Webpages saved as PDFs are very large files compared to Safari

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Webpages saved as PDFs using FF are very large files compared to the same webpage saved as a PDF using Safari. FF will create a 2-3 page pdf that is over 3 MB of data, while Safari saves the same pdf as 325KB. I never noticed this to be the case in the distant past but as my available storage space started shrinking rapidly on my MacBook I realized this might be the culprit.

I don't know when these large pdfs files started with FF but as I reviewed some similar files from several years ago, the same type of 2-3 page pdf in FF was in the KB, not MB of data. Can anyone help me understand why this is happening? Is there a setting that should be changed so these pdfs are not so bloated in size?

I am still using FF 88.0.1 having not made the leap to the newer versions of FF because of all the bad reviews. That said, I have not seen any info which indicates that FF scaled down pdf file sizes in the newer versions of FF.

In FF's Preferences pane PDFs are set to open in FF. Would it help reduce the file sizes if I changed that so they open in Mac's default application which I assume is Preview? I don't know if that's what the default preference was years ago when FF pdfs were much smaller files, or if changing that would make no difference at all.

Also, for what it's worth, I previously disabled FF's new-ish Print Preview Interface in about:config because it was consistently overriding the preset positions I set for my headers and footers, resulting in them being cut off the printed pages, however, the bloated pdfs were a problem long before FF introduced the Print Preview Interface feature.

Any suggestions on how to reduce the size of pdfs that FF is creating? I don't have and don't want to get a 3rd party application like Adobe Acrobat to deal with this, when I can simply use Safari as my browser. Thank you.

Webpages saved as PDFs using FF are very large files compared to the same webpage saved as a PDF using Safari. FF will create a 2-3 page pdf that is over 3 MB of data, while Safari saves the same pdf as 325KB. I never noticed this to be the case in the distant past but as my available storage space started shrinking rapidly on my MacBook I realized this might be the culprit. I don't know when these large pdfs files started with FF but as I reviewed some similar files from several years ago, the same type of 2-3 page pdf in FF was in the KB, not MB of data. Can anyone help me understand why this is happening? Is there a setting that should be changed so these pdfs are not so bloated in size? I am still using FF 88.0.1 having not made the leap to the newer versions of FF because of all the bad reviews. That said, I have not seen any info which indicates that FF scaled down pdf file sizes in the newer versions of FF. In FF's Preferences pane PDFs are set to open in FF. Would it help reduce the file sizes if I changed that so they open in Mac's default application which I assume is Preview? I don't know if that's what the default preference was years ago when FF pdfs were much smaller files, or if changing that would make no difference at all. Also, for what it's worth, I previously disabled FF's new-ish Print Preview Interface in about:config because it was consistently overriding the preset positions I set for my headers and footers, resulting in them being cut off the printed pages, however, the bloated pdfs were a problem long before FF introduced the Print Preview Interface feature. Any suggestions on how to reduce the size of pdfs that FF is creating? I don't have and don't want to get a 3rd party application like Adobe Acrobat to deal with this, when I can simply use Safari as my browser. Thank you.

All Replies (5)

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Firefox's built-in PDF creator is integrated as a "Destination" in the newer print overlay. Since you are not using that, what method are you using to create a PDF?

Helpful?

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If you get a large PDF file then this usually means that you do not get a file with text, but get a file with images (i.e. the text is converted to an image).

Helpful?

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Greetings jscher2000. My pdfs are made the way they were before the FF print preview interface was rolled out. After clicking Command P, the Mac print window opens and from there I click the PDF button in the lower left corner and select Save as PDF from the drop-down options.

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Thank you cor-el, some additional questions for you:

a) Is that a change FF made at some point with updates to their browser? Because I never used to have such bloated pdfs when saving webpages with FF.

b) Why this does not occur when saving the same webpage with Safari? The pdfs made with Safari are identical in content to FF pdfs, and they both contain the exact same images.

c) Is the newest version of FF able to save webpages as smaller pdf files?

Helpful?

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youngjane said

After clicking Command P, the Mac print window opens and from there I click the PDF button in the lower left corner and select Save as PDF from the drop-down options.

In that case, most likely Firefox is sending printer output to the system dialog rather than using a built-in converter.

youngjane said

a) Is that a change FF made at some point with updates to their browser? Because I never used to have such bloated pdfs when saving webpages with FF.

When large parts of a page use a custom font, Firefox generates full page images. This has been going on for a very long time, but maybe more sites you are printing may be adopting custom fonts. You could compare on a page that uses standard fonts for printing such as my page here that falls back to your browser's default font for printing:

https://www.userchrome.org/how-create-userchrome-css.html

Small PDF?

b) Why this does not occur when saving the same webpage with Safari? The pdfs made with Safari are identical in content to FF pdfs, and they both contain the exact same images.

Is Safari generating the PDF as text + images rather than full page images? For example, with full-page images, you normally cannot make a text selection.

c) Is the newest version of FF able to save webpages as smaller pdf files?

Yes, using the "Save to PDF" destination in the current Print window generates PDFs as text + images:

Helpful?

Sual ver

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