Have you ever came across some piece of content on a website that you wanted to print out for use later? This could be anything like a worksheet for Maths practice, a map to a local national park, technical manual or some recipe for delicious food.
Giving your users the ability to print these pages in an optimum manner will make your website much more user-friendly.
In this tutorial, I will tell you about some the best free printing plugins for WordPress.
Benefits of Using a Printing Plugin
You can easily get the option to print a webpage by simply pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + P on windows or Cmd + P on Mac. So, it is natural to wonder why do you need to install a printing plugin at all.
A printing plugin serves a lot of useful purposes:
- Screen and print are two entirely different media for consumption of information. This means that what looks good on screen might not necessarily look good when printed. A good printing plugin will make sure that your content looks good and is easier to read once printed.
- A webpage usually contains a lot of UI elements such as the navigation menu or a notification badge that will serve no purpose in printed format. Therefore, it makes sense to use printing plugins to automatically remove elements from the page you want to print.
- Remove some unnecessary backgrounds and images from the webpage can also save both ink and paper. This will make your website both cost- and environmentally-friendly.
- Some printing plugins also offer the option to add your own branding such as the website name in the print version of a webpage. This can help you get recognition both online as well as offline.
Now that we are clear about the benefits of using a printing plugin on your website, let’s see some of the best printing plugins that WordPress has to offer.
Print-O-Matic is a highly rated printing plugin that allows you to print any post or page of your website.
You can also target specific page elements to get printed. For example, someone might be reading an article about population change and only want to print a table that lists the population rise across multiple cities in a country through the decades. You can use Print-O-Matic to specifically target the printing of that particular piece of content.
This plugin uses the
[print-me] shortcode to display the print button or logo on a webpage. You can use different attributes with the shortcode to customize the look and functionality of a particular printing button.
You can set the value of
target attribute to any HTML tag, class name or ID to specify the element you want to print. It is also possible to use placeholders to specify the printing targets dynamically.
There are also two attributes called
html_bottom to specify the custom HTML that you want to place at the top or bottom of the webpage.
Sometimes, it can take a while for everything on the print page to load property. You can use the
pause_before_print attribute in this case to specify a delay before the print dialog box appears.
The plugin has many other useful shortcode attributes mentioned in the documentation. Don’t forget to check out some examples of the plugin in action to see all its capabilities.
Print My Blog
The Print My Blog plugin is another feature rich printing plugin that you can easily integrate in your website.
There are three primary features of this plugin:
It lets you print thousands of your blog posts with a few clicks. You can pass a bunch of options to Quick Print like printing comments, resizing or remove images, removing hyperlinks or including post excerpts.
It lets users print a specific post or page on your website. You can tell the plugin to skip headers, sidebar and footers etc. while printing. You can use a shortcode to display the printing button anywhere you like. The button uses the CSS from your theme for seamless integration.
This feature allows you to create PDF, ePub or MOBI files as a portable backup. It is also possible to copy your entire blog and then quickly paste it into programs like MS Word and Google Docs. Some Pro Print features are free while others such as adding page references or footnotes require the paid Pro PDF service.
This plugin is a really fantastic choice if you want to print or distribute multiple posts as eBooks.
The WP Print plugin is a simple lightweight solution for people who do not want or need something fancy.
The configuration options are pretty basic and allow you to specify the text to show on posts or pages for your print command. You can also optionally opt out of printing comments, links, images or videos. It is also possible to add a disclaimer that will get printed on each page.
You can prevent some portion of your post’s content from getting printed by placing it inside
[donotprint][/donotprint]. The content will still be visible on the actual page, it will just be hidden in the print version.
You can use your own custom template with this plugin as it will try to first load the printing related CSS and PHP files from your theme’s directory first. If no such files exist, it will load the default version of the files that comes with the plugin. This means that you can easily upgrade the plugin without worrying about your customizations being overwritten.
The only downside of this plugin is that it requires you to have at least a little bit technical knowledge to take full advantage of its capabilities.
Print, PDF, Email by PrintFriendly
The Print, PDF, Email by PrintFriendly plugin is a great choice for people who want a printing solution that comes with a stylish and polished user-friendly UI.
The plugin offers decent customization options which include the ability to turn enable or disable the options to generate PDFs or send the page as email. You can add custom headers and footers that will be included with each page in both print and PDF format.
The print button is available in a variety of preset styles. However, you can also use a custom image and custom text for the print button if you like.
It is also possible to include a copyright notice in the print and PDF versions of the website. You can apply your own CSS rules for full control over the content that gets printed.
The printable content selection relies on use of a WordPress template by default. However, you can also use your own custom selectors or let the content algorithm to do its magic and figure out what should be printed.
It is also worth keeping in mind that the free version of the plugin is ad supported. However, the ads are only shown on the print/PDF/email confirmation window and nowhere else.
PDF and Print
The PDF and Print plugin does a great job of creating PDF files and print-friendly pages for you quickly and easily.
You can add the PDF or printing buttons on different sections of the website such as posts, pages, archives or even search results. You can place the buttons in any of the four corners of your webpage content. It is also possible to add these buttons to the widget area. The button can also be displayed via a shortcode.
The button type can be pure text, pure image, or image and text. The PDF button can also be configured to either download or open the PDF in a new window. The plugin is also RTL ready.
One interesting feature of the plugin is that you can control who sees the PDF and print buttons on the webpage based on user roles.
The pro version of the plugin allows you to add custom headers and footer templates to your printed pages. The templates can include images, text, page number, post date, etc.
Which Plugin is Right For You?
This article gave you a brief overview of some of the best free printing plugins for WordPress. We also learned why having a printing plugin is important and how it can improve user experience for people who want to print your webpages for offline consumption.
The right plugin for you will depend on your needs.
Print-O-Matic works best for those who want to control exactly what content from your webpage gets printed.
Print My Blog is ideal for those who want a quick solution for printing multiple pages or even the entire website.
WP Print plugin is suitable for people who are looking for a lightweight solution with complete customization capabilities.