How to make PDF file from web site?

infantrytrophy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 27, 2013
230
61
I frequently read web sites - blogs, how-to tutorials, etc. - and would like to convert the content to a PDF file so that I can read it later. Safari's reading list is not enough - I would like to organize the PDF files by topic and save the files in Dropbox, Google Drive or another cloud-storage-with-sync service.

How can I do this in iOS on my iPad? It's easy with Safari on the iMac - just "export as PDF" or "print" then "save as pdf". How can I duplicate that function in the iOS web browser?
 

blackNBUK

macrumors 6502a
Feb 19, 2010
569
0
UK
I don't think there is anyway of doing this directly from Safari but if you use Chrome you can print to PDFs in Google Drive directly. A search for 'PDF Printer' in the store also brings up a whole load of apps. I've never used them so I can't speak on how well they work but some of them do include embedded web browsers that you can print to PDF from.
 

Alonso Quijano

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2013
292
174
Not so sure if you can do that in native iOS safari, but URL2PDF is an app that I think works pretty well at doing that you're looking for

Attached here is a link to a PDF that I just made of the macrumors forum directory with the app
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
47,982
16,263
Yeah you would basically want to get a web to PDF type of app (there are a few of them available) to do that kind of thing.
 

infantrytrophy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 27, 2013
230
61
Not so sure if you can do that in native iOS safari, but URL2PDF is an app that I think works pretty well at doing that you're looking for

Attached here is a link to a PDF that I just made of the macrumors forum directory with the app
Thanks for the tip and the link. Your returned file obvious worked, but one test that I tried did not. It should be a decent work-around, but the pdf file returned was basically a blank page. I see that the Mail app allows saving the pdf file in various apps - iBooks, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Google Drive, Documents (by Readle), GoodNotes, etc. Why does Safari not allow this? Grrr...

This really makes me wonder why Apple designed iOS that prohibits direct access to the file structure, mandating that documents and data files be linked to each app. In Apple's zeal to make things simple, they have made life harder and have limited the usefulness of the devices, particularly the iPad. I really like my iPad, but it can be frustrating. Unnecessarily so, in my opinion.

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I don't think there is anyway of doing this directly from Safari but if you use Chrome you can print to PDFs in Google Drive directly. A search for 'PDF Printer' in the store also brings up a whole load of apps. I've never used them so I can't speak on how well they work but some of them do include embedded web browsers that you can print to PDF from.
Thanks, I'll try a couple of the "PDF printer" apps.

Using Chrome is a good thought, but I have had good results using Safari with my iiPad and iMac. I use bookmarks extensively and like it that the bookmarks are seamlessly synced between the iPad and iMac.

One other feature in Safari that I use extensively is the "print to PDF" function. This allows you to see a thumbnail of the document before saving or printing it and allows you to specify only certain pages. Very useful. Does Chrome do that?
 

blackNBUK

macrumors 6502a
Feb 19, 2010
569
0
UK
Thanks, I'll try a couple of the "PDF printer" apps.

Using Chrome is a good thought, but I have had good results using Safari with my iiPad and iMac. I use bookmarks extensively and like it that the bookmarks are seamlessly synced between the iPad and iMac.

One other feature in Safari that I use extensively is the "print to PDF" function. This allows you to see a thumbnail of the document before saving or printing it and allows you to specify only certain pages. Very useful. Does Chrome do that?
To be honest I don't know as I haven't had a need to use it yet.

It does feel a little odd that 'Print to PDF' isn't a standard feature of iOS. We already have a printing service, it doesn't seem like a massive stretch to add a PDF Printer to it.
 

infantrytrophy

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 27, 2013
230
61
Thanks, and yes I have tried this. It works well, within the Evernote environment. This may end up being a good long-term cross-platform solution. This may be picking a minor nit but I'm having trouble getting used to the interface on the phone and tablet. Hard to explain, but the "notes" seem to overwhelm. Big icons or thumbnails taking up a lot of screen space instead of just a simple folder/subfolder-type list. What I would like to see is something like a Dropbox, Box, Google Drive type of list of files, organized by topics that I choose.

That said, Evernote's web clipper is nice, since you have some choice in what to choose from a particular web site. I'll play around with it some more to give it a fair shake. It certainly qualifies as a cross-platform solution that's here to stay, at least for a while.

Another point - simple PDF files in Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc., would be a good choice for long-term storage and quick access. If any of these companies or services looks "iffy", it would be easy to port the files over to another backup service or archive medium. I suspect the Evernote "notes" are part of a proprietary database, and i would have to deconstruct this or export these later on to change platforms if Evernote were not supported. Evernote is powerful, but only within its environment.

I'm not criticizing Evernote, just looking to avoid future issues. I was burned in the past by saving a LARGE number of files using PaperPort, a document manager for Windows. At first the files were stored in a proprietary format (".max" files). Later on PDF files were allowed, but I never got around to converting all of the files. After switching to a Mac several years ago, I now have thousands of .max files stored away with no convenient access to them - old receipts, expense records, etc. I've looked in vain for a file converter that runs in OSX. (Yeah, I know - I could buy a copy of Windows and PaperPort to run on the Mac. Not likely ...). I suspect that PaperPort was never ported to OSX because the Mac OS natively supported many features offered by Paperport - native PDF support, robust file access, search and indexing, etc. The lesson learned was that there is a lot of value in storing files in a simple, open format that will survive changes in OS platforms and storage media.