How to: Archive Web Pages as PDF, View Offline Later

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Phil S. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I often view web pages online the Internet that I want to archive into PDF (portable document format), so that I can view them later. I am using Windows 10, and normally I use Firefox as my browser. However, when I save the the web pages for archiving, they always open up in Edge. If I transfer the pages to thumb drive for viewing on a different computer (not using Edge), then the web pages won't load properly. Is there a way to get the computer to save offline web pages without using Edge? My preference of course would be to view the offline, archived web pages in Firefox. Copying the web pages and pasting them into MS Word often loses much of the format. Can you help? "

My response:

You can save the offline web page as a PDF (portable document format) and that should keep the formatting the same across all computers. Then you can use the PDF on any computer, because by definition, PDFs are portable documents which means the formatting should be relatively the same, regardless of which computer you're viewing them on.

To get to that point, however, there are a few things you need to make sure of:

  1. First, you need to make sure that the default program to open .PDF files is Firefox (or Foxit Reader, for example). To do so, locate a .PDF file on your computer, then right click it, and select Open With from the dialogue menu. Next, choose the default program to open PDF files with. This will guarantee that the PDF file will open up on that computer using your specified default program. If you intend to have PDFs open up the same way on other computers, then you will have to do this step again on each computer you use.
  2. Second, you need to ensure that you're saving the archived web pages as PDF files and not HTML format, for example. To do so: install Foxit PDF Reader (free); once installed, launch your web browser and go to any web page, then click the option to print the page (such as File -> Print). When the Print Page window opens, select from the list of printers "Foxit Reader PDF Printer", then click the Print button. This will actually save the file as a PDF document using Foxit's PDF Printer -- though technically, it's not really printing; it's redirecting the virtual printer to file output. When it's finished it's virtual printing, it will ask you to save the file as a PDF file.
  3. Once you have the PDF file saved, you can then save it and share it with other computers, using your favorite PDF viewer, whether it's Foxit Reader or a web browser. Note that Foxit Reader does not preserve embedded HTML links when you print. For that, you will need to use another PDF Printer that offers this feature.

If anyone reading this article knows of a freeware PDF printer that preserves HTML links, feel free to chime in below in the comments.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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lee_2160's picture

Use Print Friendly to save a web page as a PDF file with embedded working HTML links from the page. This can be found at There are instructions on how to add a link to the bookmark bar so that it is easy to use. For Chrome users, there is an extension to install. Another solution for Firefox is the Mozilla Archive Format add-on ( that creates web page archives similar to Internet explorer.

dan_2160's picture

I added the Print Friendly bookmarklet to my Firefox and was impressed with how quickly it worked. I was less impressed with the ads that sometimes pop up and that, using the NoScript add-on in Firefox, it requires an "unsafe reload." But the feature that lets you delete items from a page before you print or save it as a PDF is helpful. And the printing to PDF is incredibly fast.

I have been using the Read Now bookmarklet coupled with Print Preview to generate PDFs to archive web pages and Firefox's own built in feature that instantly generates an ad-free printable page (which you can print to PDF). In the tiny URL window, there is often an icon at the right hand end that looks like an open book. Click on it and the webpage turns into a very readable document you can print or save to PDF.

But thanks for the tip. It does look promising.

Pattyducker's picture

I have and like the printpdf add on for Firefox.

VJ's picture

This need is one of the reasons I use Google Chrome as my browser. Click on Chrome's Control button [Triple-horizontal bar button (upper right] and choose Print. The Print dialog window appears. On the left check or change the "destination" to PDF file. Choose the other options desired and click Save. Then name and save the file as you would any file. The formatting is retained fairly well...however, the right-hand frame on Dennis' web-page (that with his picture and links below) is transferred to the bottom of the PDF file.

AN EVEN BETTER solution -- what I like to do is -- highlight a selection of the page which you want to print. Then do the same as above; except under 'Options' -- choose "selection".

In both cases, all hyperlinks are active in the saved PDF file. Saved PDF file can be read with Adobe reader, major browsers, etc. Sometimes I convert the PDF to a Word file (using PDF Converter Assistant) if I want to manipulate the text, i.e., edit/reformat/summarize/remove, etc.

dcj2680_6295's picture

I use a program called CleanPrint which cleans up the web page of the advertising and then can save as a PDF file

pctyson's picture

Windows 10 has the option in the print dialog to select "Microsoft print to pdf". I have found that it works well. I have not had the need to install any of the other PDF printer drivers as I have in my Windows 7 machine.