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  1. #1
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    Solving vexing webpage-printing problems

    LANGALIST PLUS

    Solving vexing webpage-printing problems


    By Fred Langa

    Some workarounds can help when webpages won't print properly, either on paper or to a PDF file. Plus: Trouble with the Win10 Technical Preview, how to access older business-app files on newer PCs, and why Vista and Win7 gadgets should be uninstalled.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/solving-vexing-webpage-printing-problems/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Accessing older file types on newer PCs

    I was very interested to read the article Accessing older file types on newer PCs in today's Windows Secrets as I had just been through similar processes for two different file types. My eventual solutions were entirely successful, but somewhat convoluted.

    1. Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Works spreadsheets

    I upgraded from Office 2003 to Office 2013 (actually 365 Home Premium) more than a year ago but only recently realised that Office 2013 will not open Lotus 1-2-3 files. After spending much time searching for advice and/or utilities to help with this and finding nothing remotely satisfactory, I converted the files as follows:

    - installed Office 2003 (strictly core Excel and file converters only) on a PC (not my main one!) that already had Office 2013
    - applied UnblockExcel.reg (http://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/938810)
    - opened each file it turn and saved in Excel format (.xls)
    - ran a Repair Install of Office 2013 to reset registry entries, file associations, etc.

    2. WinFax files (.fxm, .fxs, .fxr, .fxd)

    The WinFax problem had been bugging me for a while - I had been a heavy user of WinFax and had many important faxes that I was no longer able to view once I had upgraded to Windows 7. (WinFax is obsolete and incompatible with Windows 7.) This became a serious issue for me once my old Windows XP PC had been pensioned off.

    wfxqview.exe (the Symantec WinFax MiniView installer) will not run at all on Windows 7 64-bit. However I found that it will install without problems on the 32-bit version of Windows 7, which I had on an old laptop with a Celeron processor unable to support the 64-bit version.

    I was therefore able to convert my old fax files to pdf (a format safe for now...) as follows:

    - merged all multi-file faxes into single files using SFaxTools WinFax Merger (this worked surprisingly robustly)
    - opened each file in turn in WinFax MiniView
    - printed to PDF using PDF Creator
    - merged using PaperPort the single page PDFs from multi-page faxes that WinFax-Merger had failed to merge (very few; I think only those where for some reason known only to WinFax the original files were not sequentially numbered)

    As with the 1-2-3 spreadsheets, this was a very long-winded process where it was not possible to identify which files were still wanted without actually opening them and looking, and in the end I converted the lot with a 100% success rate. Had I not been retired and happy to devote the time, would I have done it? Not sure!

    I used Attribute Changer to set the date-time modified on the converted files to the same day as the original files and so return them to their rightful place in folder listings.

    P.S. My first scanner (purchased in 1997) came with PaperPort, which I have upgraded with each Windows upgrade ever since. I had many scans in the PaperPort .max format, but PaperPort 14 has the facility to convert them to PDFs; I have done so.
    Last edited by jpl; 2015-04-09 at 07:10. Reason: I remembered a few more details

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    Fred,
    I appreciate your comments regarding Windows Gadgets, and will disable them now. But do you know of any alternative apps (for Win 7) for an on=screen clock and calendar? The weather gadget I can do without...
    Paul Allerton

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    Accessing older file types on newer PCs

    In the article, it was stated that “The PDF format is effectively a standard, accessible by many applications…”.

    In fact, PDF is an ISO standard, not effectively a standard. More specifically, Adobe donated PDF to ISO in 2008. ISO Technical Committee 170 published the ISO PDF standard as ISO 32000-1.

    There are also ISO PDF subset standards overseen by ISO TC170 and ISO TC130 (for PDF for printing) including PDF/A (archiving), PDF/E (engineering), PDF/UA (universal access), PDF/X (blind exchange for printing and publishing), and PDF/VT (variable data publishing).

    Current PDF “readers” are capable of opening, reading, printing, and otherwise manipulating PDF files that dated back to PDF 1.0 as created by Adobe Acrobat back in 1994.

    - Dov Isaacs (Principal Scientist, Adobe Systems Incorporated)

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    Re: Solving vexing webpage-printing problems

    The answer to opening old file types was wonderful, but you missed the boat in trying to answer, "Solving vexing webpage-printing problems". In my experience with computer support, fewer than 5% of users know the best solution, which you also did not mention:

    Examine (or search) the entire Web page for the word "Print" (as a link) or an icon of a printer.
    (Sometimes, you can find the printer icon next to the Email, Facebook, etc. icons.)
    Choose that link or icon, and you should get a page with static content that you can print.

    Of the Web sites I visit, of the ones that do not print as they are, more than 80% of them offer this solution. It's worth learning this trick! Sande

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    When this solution doesn't work, there's another one to try that takes almost no time to discover whether or not it will work. Simply click and drag to select the text, Ctrl-C to copy, open your favorite word processor, Ctrl-V to paste, and then do what you want with the resulting document.

    There are, of course, times when this won't work. Sometimes it captures all the garbage you don't care about (the ads), and sometimes a site won't scroll during the click-and-drag. But I ended up doing this just yesterday on a site, so I know it still works! (I did look for the "printer-friendly" option first, but if there was one it was well hidden.)

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    Fred,

    First, HUGE thanks! I've been reading your work since time immemorial and couldn't possibly count the ways you've helped me with Windows and computer issues.

    For printing Web pages, I'm a big fan of PrintFriendly.com. Its Chrome extension (or bookmarklet) grabs a Web page's content and reformats it in a, um, print-friendly way. It's remarkably good at stripping out navigation, most ads and peripheral content. In the preview, you can remove images, adjust text size and even delete selected content with just a few clicks (with undo). Then you can send it to your printer, email it or -- as I do most often -- save the file as a PDF. It's not foolproof, but handles the vast majority of pages I want to save. And it's free!

    Giving credit where it's due, here's the PrintFriendly About page.

    Again, thanks for everything you do.
    Dave Rogers
    Last edited by derogers31; 2015-04-09 at 17:18.

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    I was going to test it to see if it was better than prinliminator which use. I was not able to drag and drop the button, I just got a couple of little triangle s where I dropped it. I see that it uses the same principle as printliminator : a js script that interacts w/ the home website. It would be nice to have that functionality on my computer and not a website.
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  10. #9
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    Save As of web pages is a possible solution but it creates subfolders of images, etc. Its easy for those to get broken if you rename or move the file. Much more effective in my experience is Save As Web Archive. You can use the MHT or MAFF formats. They open fine in all major browsers and keep the page as a single zip file.

    In Firefox you can add this support with the Mozilla Archive Format Plugin.
    IE has MHT by default.

    And Sande is right. Many web sites have introduced a Print Stylesheet that reformats the page for printing.
    Copy/Paste is another mentioned possibility but I find that rather labor-intensive

    I can also note the Print Edit plugin for Firefox if you'd like to tidy the view before printing to a file. It allows you delete sections.

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  12. #10
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    Display trouble with Win10 Technical Preview

    One possible way round Paul's problem is to make sure that remote desktop is enabled in the VM settings for the Win 10 virtual PC. Then log in to the Win 10 preview using remote desktop connection on either the same PC that is hosting the virtual PC or a different one.

    Using this method the virtual PC fills the screen and from my Surface Pro I cannot see any difference in resolution (1920x 1080) between the remote display of the win 10 preview and the native Windows 8.1 of the Surface Pro.

    David

  13. #11
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Print Edit plugin for Firefox
    This seems like a very powerful and useful tool, thanks for the heads up

    BTW what are the implications of an "author not verified " notice when the install button is clicked?? Is this a new thing with Mozilla??
    Last edited by wavy; 2015-04-12 at 11:08. Reason: BTW added
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

  14. #12
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    I'm with snisson0 on using the page's own Print commands, they usually work very well.

    A very common function that they offer is to print the web page without the advertising. That's a feature I appreciate a great deal.

    Many articles allow commenting and the web print functions usually strip out the user comments as well. That's a feature I'm less fond of--article commentary, and responses by the author, can add signficant value to the article. However if the reader comments are not interesting, then the Print Range function, coupled with a Preview (you need to know where to stop printing) can chop off most of the uninteresting commentary.

    One thing that's a bit random is the font size rendering. I've encountered many web pages that print uncomfortably small. This you need to experiment with in order to get font rendering at a suitable size.

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