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"Save to PDF" creates PDF rendered as images

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  • 1 has this problem
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  • Last reply by Dave

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Just tried out "Save to PDF" feature under the Print function. It seems Firefox 86.0 is using cairo 1.9.5 to generate the PDF. The result is a much larger file that loses the ability to select texts in the document.

Even if the original document is a PDF file (e.g. Lorem_Ipsum.pdf), Chrome (and Edge) both use PDFium as the generator and create a 22.67KB PDF document. Firefox on the other hand, creates a 652.17KB PDF document with no text selection capability.

I don't know whether to pose this as question to see if anyone else experiences the same issue, or to report it as a bug/improvement request.

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Modified by Dave

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Hi Dave, I have't used Firefox's Save as PDF function much, but the pages I've tried have searchable text.

I don't think it makes sense to "Save as PDF" an existing PDF displayed in Firefox's built-in PDF viewer. PDFs displayed in Firefox have been rendered to an HTML canvas: each page is a large bitmap image. There is a layer of transparent text in front of the image to facilitate using Find, but that doesn't help with printing. Best to simply download the PDF in that situation.

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jscher2000 said

PDFs displayed in Firefox have been rendered to an HTML canvas: each page is a large bitmap image. There is a layer of transparent text in front of the image to facilitate using Find, but that doesn't help with printing

Thanks. If that's the case, it does explain the behavior. Though, it seems like a design/implementation limitation that should be corrected. Though problem would lie in the integration between PDF viewer and Print function.

There are a few use cases where I want to "re-print" a PDF as another PDF, though probably not common: 1) Remove metadata from original PDF 2) Rebuild PDF by selecting specific pages to "print"

Chrome (and Chromium-based browsers) seemed to have a more "intuitive" implementation of PDF generation that produce expected output.

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