What if you find a reliable online review material, but it is in web page form, and you need to reprint it? If you are not careful, you may end up printing a hundred pages of ads, text with various formatting, and lots of empty spaces. Well, don’t worry. In this post, I’m going to show you step-by-step instructions on how to print a web page in plain text and fully optimize it to use the least amount of paper.

1. Activate Reading Mode.

Did you know that Google Chrome has a built-in feature that allows you to read a web page in plain text? It’s called “Reader Mode.” It makes reading easier by simplifying web pages.

1.1. Update your Google Chrome.

Make sure that your Google Chrome is the latest version. Click the three-dot menu button in the upper right, then click “Help,” and then click “About Google Chrome.”

How to print a web page in plain text: Go to About Google Chrome.
Go to About Google Chrome.
How to print a web page in plain text: Relaunch Google Chrome after the update.
Relaunch Google Chrome after the update.

1.2. Enable Reading Mode.

Open a new tab and paste chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode in the address bar. Click the dropdown and select Enabled. Relaunch Google Chrome.

How to print a web page in plain text: Enable Reading Mode then relaunch Google Chrome.
Enable Reading Mode then relaunch Google Chrome.

2. Distill the web page.

Now, go to the web page you want to view in Reader Mode. Then click the three-dot menu in the upper right, then click the Distill page. Done. No more ads, no more sidebars, no more clutter.

How to print a web page in plain text: Visit the web page to view in Reading Mode, and click Distill page.
Visit the web page to view in Reading Mode, and click Distill page.

By this time, you can now print the simplified web page. But, as you can see, there are too many spaces on both sides. If you are going to reprint it now, it will eat a lot of space. It’s not economical, especially when you are a student trying to save money in bond papers.

How to print a web page in plain text: A distilled version of Criminal Law Book 1 Articles 1 to 10. Simpler but still have lots of spaces on both sides.
A distilled version of Criminal Law Book 1 Article 1 to 10. Simpler but still have lots of spaces on both sides.

3. Tweak page to utilize 100% of the space.

This is going to be tricky. But bear with me. It’s where the magic happens. And you will thank yourself that you will do this.

So, right-click anywhere on the upper left of the web page, then select Inspect. Search for the <div id=”mainContent”>. Click on it. On the right side, look for the #mainContent and uncheck width: 75%. Close the Developer Tools panel. Done!

How to print a web page in plain text: Right-click anywhere on the upper left of the web page, then select Inspect.
Right-click anywhere on the upper left of the web page, then select Inspect.
How to print a web page in plain text: Search for the <div id="mainContent">. Click on it. On the right side, look for the #mainContent and uncheck width: 75%.
Search for the <div id=”mainContent”>. Click on it. On the right side, look for the #mainContent and uncheck width: 75%.

Easy, ey?! Now, you are ready to print! Oh, yeah! 🤟

4. Print efficiently using Collate and Reverse options. Save as PDF for a backup copy.

Here’s a final tip: make sure you to use your printer’s Collate and Reverse options so that you don’t have to rearrange the papers after printing. Let the printer do the hard work for you.

How to print a web page in plain text: Utilize printer's options like Collate and Reverse Order. You can use Grayscale for faster printing.
Utilize printer’s options like Collate and Reverse Order. You can use Grayscale for faster printing.

Also, you can do the same steps and, instead of printing, just Save as PDF so that you’ll have a soft copy of the online material.

How to print a web page in plain text: You can Save as PDF the distilled page for a backup copy.
You can Save as PDF the distilled page for a backup copy.

So there you have it. I hope this guide will help you. Don’t forget to subscribe.

Note: post originally appeared on my personal blog: How To Print A Web Page In Plain Text Using Google Chrome.

Published by Lynnell Neri

Lynnell Neri is a web developer. His heart is in helping people and organizations achieve their goals by guiding them with the right technologies.

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