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Why are the PDFs it makes (to print a page) often invalid?

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I frequently try to save pages as PDFs. When I print the page directly to a printer, no problem. When I save the PDF, it's usually munged and not a valid PDF file (very small or 0 bytes). Example: URL

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/science/bacteria-microbes-electricity.html

    makes an empty PDF while when I do Print and then Save as PDF. I'm on Apple OS 10.13, using Firefox 67.0.4.  This problem has been with us for a while (> 1 year I believe) and happens on all my machines.
I frequently try to save pages as PDFs. When I print the page directly to a printer, no problem. When I save the PDF, it's usually munged and not a valid PDF file (very small or 0 bytes). Example: URL https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/science/bacteria-microbes-electricity.html makes an empty PDF while when I do Print and then Save as PDF. I'm on Apple OS 10.13, using Firefox 67.0.4. This problem has been with us for a while (> 1 year I believe) and happens on all my machines.
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Additional System Details

Installed Plug-ins

  • Shockwave Flash 32.0 r0

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.13; rv:67.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/67.0

More Information

Shannon Kularathna 1 solutions 7 answers

Helpful Reply

Hi Mike,

There is no functionality built into Firefox's current build to save a page as a PDF document. See How to Save a Web Page for more information.

You can download an add-on from the Firefox add-ons store. See this article for information on installing add-ons. If you have a paid Adobe Acrobat product, you can install the Adobe Acrobat add-on for Firefox to create a PDF from a web page with one click.

Hi Mike, There is no functionality built into Firefox's current build to save a page as a PDF document. See [[How to save a web page|How to Save a Web Page]] for more information. You can download an add-on from the Firefox add-ons store. See [[Find and install add-ons to add features to Firefox|this article]] for information on installing add-ons. If you have a paid Adobe Acrobat product, you can install the Adobe Acrobat add-on for Firefox to create a PDF from a web page with one click.
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Question owner

> There is no functionality built into Firefox's current build to save a page as a PDF document.

   remarkable!  The Firefox menu on Apple OS certainly offers a "save as PDF" button on the print menu. Should this be disabled/removed?

I just added and activated the Acrobat add-on but it doesn't seem to do anything at all when pressed. Also tried it with "Print to PDF" add-on - same thing, it does nothing! What am I missing?

> There is no functionality built into Firefox's current build to save a page as a PDF document. remarkable! The Firefox menu on Apple OS certainly offers a "save as PDF" button on the print menu. Should this be disabled/removed? I just added and activated the Acrobat add-on but it doesn't seem to do anything at all when pressed. Also tried it with "Print to PDF" add-on - same thing, it does nothing! What am I missing?
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Shannon Kularathna 1 solutions 7 answers

Hi Mike,

I should have been clearer - the context menu option Save Page As... has no PDF support. You can print to PDF using the Print option on Firefox.

Can you confirm you aren't seeing the following menu when you click the Acrobat add-on?

Hi Mike, I should have been clearer - the context menu option Save Page As... has no PDF support. You can print to PDF using the Print option on Firefox. Can you confirm you aren't seeing the following menu when you click the Acrobat add-on?
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Question owner

Hi Shannon,

> You can print to PDF using the Print option on Firefox.

  Sorry, am confused. So the Print option "PDF" is supposed to work? That makes sense, because it sometimes does print- like for example this page here (the Community Support page) prints to a valid PDF, no problem. But many web pages generate invalid PDFs (but no error given).  On your end, if you tried to Print -> Save to PDF from this page:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/science/bacteria-microbes-electricity.html

   would it generate a valid PDF?

> Can you confirm you aren't seeing the following menu when you click the Acrobat add-on?

   correct, when I click on the little Acrobat red icon in the add-ons bar, absolutely nothing happens.
Hi Shannon, > You can print to PDF using the Print option on Firefox. Sorry, am confused. So the Print option "PDF" is supposed to work? That makes sense, because it sometimes does print- like for example this page here (the Community Support page) prints to a valid PDF, no problem. But many web pages generate invalid PDFs (but no error given). On your end, if you tried to Print -> Save to PDF from this page: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/science/bacteria-microbes-electricity.html would it generate a valid PDF? > Can you confirm you aren't seeing the following menu when you click the Acrobat add-on? correct, when I click on the little Acrobat red icon in the add-ons bar, absolutely nothing happens.
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Shannon Kularathna 1 solutions 7 answers

Hi Mike,

Disclaimer: I'm trying this on Windows 10.

I tried Ctrl + P > Adobe PDF and it created a valid PDF for the link. This may be an OS thing.

The Adobe add-on will not respond on the Community Support page. Have you tried using it on the NYTimes article?

Thank you for your patience!

Hi Mike, Disclaimer: I'm trying this on Windows 10. I tried Ctrl + P > Adobe PDF and it created a valid PDF for the link. This may be an OS thing. The Adobe add-on will not respond on the Community Support page. Have you tried using it on the NYTimes article? Thank you for your patience!
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Question owner

The PDF add-ons don't work on any page that I've tried :-(

The PDF add-ons don't work on any page that I've tried :-(
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Shannon Kularathna 1 solutions 7 answers

Hi Mike,

At this point I'd personally reinstall Firefox for a fresh start to see if that fixes the issue. I'll post an update if I can find another solution for you!

Hi Mike, At this point I'd personally reinstall Firefox for a fresh start to see if that fixes the issue. I'll post an update if I can find another solution for you!
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Question owner

Thank you Shannon. I'm seeing the same behavior on 4 different computers, so I doubt it's a reinstall issue...

Thank you Shannon. I'm seeing the same behavior on 4 different computers, so I doubt it's a reinstall issue...
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WestEnd
  • Top 25 Contributor
60 solutions 5376 answers

I will say this I have found sites where it actively works against Acrobat from making pdf and if so sometimes it fails and or make a page but there is nothing on it. This is more or less site security doing this. So it's not a Adobe or firefox issue. Printing a page isn't the same as converting to pdf doing that - there will be missing parts in the article or site when converting. This as I mentioned seems more like site security to converting to a pdf file as opposed to just printing which isn't converting the site or page but just printing. That's why printing isn't a issue until you try to convert the page to a pdf then format issues come into play as well. Or you can always make a request for the page to be sent to your email so you can read or print it.

I will say this I have found sites where it actively works against Acrobat from making pdf and if so sometimes it fails and or make a page but there is nothing on it. This is more or less site security doing this. So it's not a Adobe or firefox issue. Printing a page isn't the same as converting to pdf doing that - there will be missing parts in the article or site when converting. This as I mentioned seems more like site security to converting to a pdf file as opposed to just printing which isn't converting the site or page but just printing. That's why printing isn't a issue until you try to convert the page to a pdf then format issues come into play as well. Or you can always make a request for the page to be sent to your email so you can read or print it.

Modified by WestEnd

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Question owner

I don't expect it to work perfectly for all web pages, but the Acrobat plug in button doesn't do *anything* on any page that I've tried, on 3 different machines - it doesn't even try to print, nothing.

I don't expect it to work perfectly for all web pages, but the Acrobat plug in button doesn't do *anything* on any page that I've tried, on 3 different machines - it doesn't even try to print, nothing.
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WestEnd
  • Top 25 Contributor
60 solutions 5376 answers

So which version of Acrobat are you using? I'll have to check on mine but I don't think the plugin prints.

So which version of Acrobat are you using? I'll have to check on mine but I don't think the plugin prints.
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Question owner

The extension reports itself to be SavePDF 2.0.1

The extension reports itself to be SavePDF 2.0.1
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8639 solutions 70667 answers

The SavePDF 2.0.1 extension uses the built-in browser.tabs.saveAsPDF() method. This only works on Windows and Linux, not Mac, perhaps because Mac has its own print-to-PDF feature. Sorry the author didn't mention that! You can Remove that particular extension.

There are some other extensions that use a website to generate the PDF. That raises privacy concerns, of course, if you are trying to capture a page where you are logged in.

The Adobe Acrobat extension comes with the paid version of Adobe Acrobat. I don't think you can install the extension separately.

The SavePDF 2.0.1 extension uses the built-in '''browser.tabs.saveAsPDF()''' method. This only works on Windows and Linux, not Mac, perhaps because Mac has its own print-to-PDF feature. Sorry the author didn't mention that! You can Remove that particular extension. There are some other extensions that use a website to generate the PDF. That raises privacy concerns, of course, if you are trying to capture a page where you are logged in. The Adobe Acrobat extension comes with the paid version of Adobe Acrobat. I don't think you can install the extension separately.
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Question owner

I have a paid version of Acrobat, how do I use it to install a working print extension for Firefox?

Big picture, I don't understand: how can this be such a problem - all the other browsers can print fine, why can't Firefox do it without using external websites etc.? And, Firefox Print to PDF doesn't refuse to print - it always generates a PDF, it's just that sometimes it's not a valid PDF. So I think Firefox has a PDF rendering module, it's just buggy in that it sometimes makes a bad PDF. What am I missing?

I have a paid version of Acrobat, how do I use it to install a working print extension for Firefox? Big picture, I don't understand: how can this be such a problem - all the other browsers can print fine, why can't Firefox do it without using external websites etc.? And, Firefox Print to PDF doesn't refuse to print - it always generates a PDF, it's just that sometimes it's not a valid PDF. So I think Firefox has a PDF rendering module, it's just buggy in that it sometimes makes a bad PDF. What am I missing?
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8639 solutions 70667 answers

Hi Mike_levin, I don't have a Mac anymore so I can't help with the PDF feature that is integrated into the Print dialog on Mac.

Acrobat DC or 2017 (possibly also Acrobat XI) should automatically install a compatible Adobe Acrobat extension, and Firefox should discover it. To check whether it is available to enable on the Add-ons page:

  • Command+Shift+a (Windows: Ctrl+Shift+a)
  • "3-bar" menu button (or Tools menu) > Add-ons
  • type or paste about:addons in the address bar and press Enter/Return

In the left column of the Add-ons page, click Extensions.

Then scan down the right side. Enabled extensions are listed first (A-Z), then the disabled extensions. Can you find and enable Acrobat? If it is already enabled but you don't see its button on the toolbar, you could check the Customize tab to see whether it is among the available buttons there. See: Customize Firefox controls, buttons and toolbars.

Hi Mike_levin, I don't have a Mac anymore so I can't help with the PDF feature that is integrated into the Print dialog on Mac. Acrobat DC or 2017 (possibly also Acrobat XI) should automatically install a compatible Adobe Acrobat extension, and Firefox should discover it. To check whether it is available to enable on the Add-ons page: * Command+Shift+a (Windows: Ctrl+Shift+a) * "3-bar" menu button (or Tools menu) > Add-ons * type or paste '''about:addons''' in the address bar and press Enter/Return In the left column of the Add-ons page, click Extensions. Then scan down the right side. Enabled extensions are listed first (A-Z), then the disabled extensions. Can you find and enable Acrobat? If it is already enabled but you don't see its button on the toolbar, you could check the Customize tab to see whether it is among the available buttons there. See: [[Customize Firefox controls, buttons and toolbars]].
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Question owner

I have Acrobat 9. When I look at the Extensions list, Acrobat is no longer there - I deleted it when someone on this thread said it won't print on Mac anyway.

I have Acrobat 9. When I look at the Extensions list, Acrobat is no longer there - I deleted it when someone on this thread said it won't print on Mac anyway.
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jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
8639 solutions 70667 answers

Helpful Reply

Mike_levin said

I have Acrobat 9.

Acrobat X and earlier came with an older extension that can't run in Firefox 57 or later.

On Mac, does Acrobat create an "Adobe PDF" or "Distiller" printer? On Windows, the print dialog has a printer selector that allows you to use one of those to send the print job to Acrobat for capture.

''Mike_levin [[#answer-1235673|said]]'' <blockquote> I have Acrobat 9. </blockquote> Acrobat X and earlier came with an older extension that can't run in Firefox 57 or later. On Mac, does Acrobat create an "Adobe PDF" or "Distiller" printer? On Windows, the print dialog has a printer selector that allows you to use one of those to send the print job to Acrobat for capture.
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Question owner

No, it doesn't make any printer, even though it sometimes correctly prints PDFs.

No, it doesn't make any printer, even though it sometimes correctly prints PDFs.
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