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Saving Web pages as PDF - add-ins do not work properly - can we please have a native option like Chrome |?

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  • Paskiausią atsakymą parašė eberger5

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Have tried a ton of add-ins to be able to save a web page with searchable text as a searchable PDF, complete with the images displayed on the page, and the links shown. So far I have not found a single add-in that creates searchable text from all the (searchable) text that is displayed on the web page, and all the images, and all the links. Some give a pdf output that includes all the text but not all of it is selectable or searchable. Some do give searchable text but do not display the images. I have even tried the option of using several different print to pdf virtual drivers, and all of them behave similarly, with one issue or the other.

This is a basic requirement, and it needs to work. So far, the only thing that works is a chrome=based brpwser using the native save to pdf function. (The pdf print drivers do not work with the chrome browser either - they produce the same problems as using Firefox.) I am flagging this so some kind person on the forum can step up to the mark - for finding or creating something that works. (FF latest). The solution needs to work without any third party servers - just the good ol' browser !

Thanks

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Hello Hello567, I can assure you that you aren't the first person to ask for this. However, here in the support forum, we aren't the developers. We can suggest settings and workarounds. I'll mention options for further feedback at the end of this reply.

Using "print to PDF," Firefox will generate a searchable PDF if the page uses locally installed fonts for most of the content. However, many sites now use downloadable webfonts, and Firefox will generates pages as images in that situation. Not a problem with a physical printer, but less helpful with a PDF capture "printer."

I have a function in my Printable extension that switches the fonts in the page to basic built-in fonts as a workaround. That does slightly change the appearance of the page, so you are gathering evidence for a court appearance, you wouldn't want to use it. But if it's just to have a record, you could give it a try. Its the third button on the drop-down when you click the toolbar button.

https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/printable-the-print-doctor/


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hello .........

go to the firefox menu ≡ > options > general panel and in the applications panel set the default action for portable document format (pdf) to preview in firefox.

restart your browser and computer .

Thank and Regards,

Arman

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Thank you but this does not work. Urgent fix is required.

Hi Arman ! I checked the setting, and portable document is (and was already) set to preview in Firefox. So that does not seem to be the issue.

@jscher2000 - feedback on your extension - it works partially. The text is now searchable, but the links in the page do not work. If, on your next coding effort, you are able to fix that, it would indeed be a workaround. But what puzzles me, is that this problem must have been known about and outstanding since Quantum launched. It has taken me a couple of days to get to the bottom of this, and I want to make sure that Firefox' communication game is upped so at the very least, if the development team will not fix something they must have known about for years, then the user community is going to be properly informed.

The reason there has not been a fullscale riot I can only put down to most people not actually testing the functionality of their pdf documents once they have been saved. So some people are going to get a shock when they look at all the pdf documents they have created and discover that many of them cannot be searched, and need a load of OCR processing (and that their previous searches based on the documents may well have missing search hits). Meantime, the odds are that most people are blissfully unaware that their pdfs are not properly searchable. Someone needs to put a note against every single "save to pdf" add-in that is affected by this issue that the addin will not work properly because there is a bug in the design of FF, and that until that bug is fixed, using the addin to save will not work properly and nor will printing to pdf. Please could you pass this comment on to the add-on website team.

Your attempt to compensate for this via your extension is appreciated, but it is not working properly yet. The non-native typefaces are also not ideal and definitely not a long term solution. However, your response and my trying the extension have confirmed that the issue we have both observed relates to the difference between the way certain fonts are rendered on the screen and how they are rendered in a download or printed page, within FF, i.e. its a bug or a design failure.

The ironic thing is that this happens with some of the pages on Adobe's Acrobat support website. Someone somewhere at Adobe might perhaps want to have have a word with someone on the FF development team, because at the end of the day, Adobe's name is also going to suffer if people are not able to make proper pdfs out of web pages on one of the world's main desktop browsers. I have been a FF user for ages, and would like to keep using it. I am forwarding this thread to the development team. If I spend time trying to investigate something, then at least others should be able to benefit from that time, in that there should be large warnings in all the appropriate places.

To the development team, please would you put this issue on the fix list as a high priority, and provide a delivery target time, so that we as users can decide whether that timing is sufficient to justify using FF until the fix is delivered. These comments are being made here on the support forum, because it is this forum that is likely to be the first port of call for users who suddenly discover that the pdf files of pages they assumed were saved correctly are in fact defective.

Once there is a response from the development team with a time to fix, then I am sure it will be noted here on the support forum as well. This is a most unsatisfactory situation and needs to be addressed immediately.

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Hello567 said

@jscher2000 - feedback on your extension - it works partially. The text is now searchable, but the links in the page do not work. If, on your next coding effort, you are able to fix that, it would indeed be a workaround.

Hi Hello567, any PDF generated through the Print function cannot have live links because what is generated is the appearance of the page, not its functionality. Your PDF reader may linkify URLs, but it cannot know the underlying URL of links displayed as anything other than the full URL. So a different approach ultimately will be needed.

It would be nice if there were a built-in, full-function PDF converter. Hopefully that will come someday through some means, whether through native development or a contribution of code from a third party. Until then, we all use the workarounds we need to use to get by.

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I agree. This is a big miss for FF. I just posted this in the Bugzilla forum.

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