PDFs viewable but blank on print

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Texas_Toast, May 25, 2019.

  1. Texas_Toast macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I started using a feature built into Chrome called "Full Page Screen Capture".

    This plug-in allows you to take any webpage, and pretty much turn it into a WYSIWYG PDF file. And this is great, because the "Print as PDF" feature built into macOS pretty much sucks.

    So now I have an excellent way to get a snapshot of what I was reading online, including the same layout, graphics, photos, etc, but unfortunately I just discovered a catch...

    When I open up the PDFs created by the above Chrom plug-in, the PDF files look excellent on my Mac. However, I just went to FedEx Kinkos and tried to print out an artcile to give to someone I know, and when I printed out the PDF I got all blank pages. WTF?!

    I am thinking this might be related to a problem I saw in the past when doing my taxes. if you download tax forms from the IRS and complete the fields, you can see all of your data in the electronic PDF, but all of the fields come up as blank when you go to print things out.

    For that issue, someone told me to open up the PDF with completed form data using Adobe Acrobat and save it from there, and then as I recall when you print out the PDF form all of your data is visible.

    At any rate, why are my lovely full page screen captures coming up blank when I go to print things out? :(:(:(

    One of the main reasons I like this plug in is it allows me to share articles with people and still retain all of the formatting and images that are needed to communicate things.

    Hope there is an easy fix, otherwise my heart will be broken...
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
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    Delaware
    #2
    Hmm...
    If you print one of those screen-capture .pdf from YOUR Mac, do you still get blank pages, or is it only at Kinko's where you get a printing "fail"?
     
  3. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
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    #3
    Unfortunately, I don't own a printer, so I cannot say. (Probably should buy one of those, even though I am away from home for work.)

    In the paste, whenever I have used Mac's built in "Print to PDF" feature, the resulting PDFs seemed to print okay - although they suffered from formatting issues as mentioend earlier.

    Today when this happened, I drove back to my place, put the suspect PDF on a thumbdrive, copied them over to my ancient Mac which happens to have Adobe Acrobat Reader on it, opened up the docs, saved them in Acrobat Reader, and then went back to FedEx Kinkos and the same issue.
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #4
    And, now you have two different PDFs (well, same files, just prepared differently), and you only can verify that the same printer ignored the graphics on both files.
    Any chance those articles have pictures of US currency? Commercial printer/copiers often won't print pictures of actual currency.
    (Just sayin')

    Is Kinko's your ONLY possible choice for printing?
     
  5. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #5
    No currency involved. Just two interesting articles on cybersecurity.

    Can't print them out at work since everything is locked down. Maybe there is another copy shop around, but I don't know.

    What do you think the issue could be?

    Does the plug-in for Chrome that I fell in love with have a fatal flaw in that you can view pixel-perfect captures but cannot print them, or do you think this is more a FedEx Kinkos issue?

    Did you see what I said above about my taxes and PDFs?
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2019 ---
    https://www.macworld.com/article/2027181/solving-the-mystery-of-the-empty-pdf-form.html
     
  6. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #6
    Well, I think there can be a difference between printing a pdf with graphics, and printing a pdf that includes data entered manually to fill in blanks on a form. In my experience, I can usually screw up a fill-in-the-blanks online form. But, that's easy enough to solve. Just print out the unfilled form, write your entries by hand, and make copies of that filled-in form.

    I haven't been around a Kinko's for maybe 20 years. Do they have anyone working there, who might know something about solving printing problems, enough to suggest a solution for you?

    I don't know much about Chrome, seldom use it, so I can't answer your question about the quality of plug-ins for Chrome.
     
  7. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
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    #7
    Sadly, I'm pretty sure *THIS* is the issue...

    https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2243204


    I called a couple of FedEx locations including out of state, and the general consensus is that FedEx will NOT print out any copyrighted material without a release from the copyright holder.

    Does anyone realize how F***ED UP that is?

    The people at FedEd should learn what "Fair Use" law says...
     
  8. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

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    #8
    I run into copyright issues quite often, being involved with a couple of different music groups.
    We need music for additional musicians.
    We have to purchase more copies.
    "fair use" for our group means we can make copies to use while we are waiting for real (purcha$ed) copies. When those are received we are required to destroy our "free" copies.

    I'm guessing that Fedex wants to avoid those kinds of issues, if they can. :cool:

    Seems your solution is to print on a non-public printer...
    or... What happens on your printer, only your printer knows.
     
  9. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
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    #9
    Someone needs to sue the hell out of FedEx for not following Fair Use laws. What they are doing in effect is discriminating against me.


    Can you recommend any good printers thatw ork well with a Mac and that are on the smaller side?

    Right now I am away from home and in a hotel, so I'd hate to have to buy a printer for here just to print out things like this article. Plus then I'd have to lug it home. Unless you know of some modern super small laser printer?
     
  10. mikzn macrumors 65816

    mikzn

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver
    #10
    I have used the same kind of feature using Firefox - except that it captures it as a .png file.

    It is great for capturing web pages that extend past the screen :)

    example . . .

    texas-Toast-post2019-05-25.png
     
  11. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
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    #11
    Thanks for the tip. I have been using that for some time, but grew frustrated with this Firefox addon, because it often doesn't capture complex webpages as they appear for real, and the lobger the webpage the more likely it is to chop the end off.

    That is why I was so excietd to discover this Chrome add-on, even though I despise Google!

    I can't imagine that I could go to FedEx Kinko and print out one of the .png files exported by the Firefox add-on, right?
     
  12. DeltaMac macrumors G3

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
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    #12
    Does your hotel have a business/office center? Not sure if you would have better luck, as it may have the same restrictions.

    Why would the .png file be any solution, when it would include the same copyrighted material?
    Wouldn't the same issue remain?
     
  13. mikzn macrumors 65816

    mikzn

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    #13
    I have to print some files at FedEX / Staples - maybe I'll take the .PNG file and see if there is a copyright restriction on the above file.

    I guess I could convert to PDF and try both .png and .pdf versions

    Might be a day or 2
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2019 ---
    good point - maybe it was the content ?
     
  14. nicho macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #14
    We use an app for sending messages out to parents, and the other day I had to upload a PDF with chinese text in it. The preview in the app simply ended up leaving all the text blank. Opening it fully has no such issues. The english fonts were untouched in both. A weakness of PDFs?

    I got around it by using Preview to export the PDF as a high quality PNG file. This turned text within the file into a single image. I then re-exported the PNG file as a PDF.
     
  15. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #15
    No printer here.


    I am thinking that *maybe* FedEx Kinkos copier/printers are smart enough to grab metadata from teh PDF and see it was from the New York Times, or maybe they just block all PDFs - I dunno.

    IF you could print a PNG, that would solve the issue since no software knows what the PNg is about, but I cannot imagine you can print a PNG, and if you could that it would be legible.

    One workaround would be to copy and paste just the text from the online article into a Word doc and then PDF that and print it out using self-service.

    I'm just going to remember the key points and tell the person, since all of this is too much of a PITA 9and just plain stupid)!!

    Maybe I'll pick up a smaller laser printer sicne I'll be here for a while - who knows?!
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2019 ---
    Let me clarify...

    The self-service copier/printers appear to know my PDF was a news article.

    These machines wouldn't have a clue what a PNg was about.

    But I suspect that printing out an image file would look like crap.

    If you tell anybody working at FedEx that you are printing out a news article, you are screwed (because of their STUPID corproate policies).

    If you can get a PNG file from Firefox to look good at 8 1/2 X 11 and if the machine will even print a PNG, then I guess it could work.

    I'm thinking it's too much hassle.
     
  16. nicho macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #16
    Have you tried printing a PDF of a non-news article by the same method? I don't see any mention of that, and it's a huge leap from "the PDFs are broken" to "Fedex is out to get me" without ruling out the more likely scenarios.
     
  17. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #17
    I will try that out.

    In addition, I discovered something peculiar...

    Just for sh*ts and giggles, I made a copy of my PDF in Finder, and renamed it as .ODT and then tried to open it up in LibreOffice. To my surprise, it open up in Writer and looked pretty good.

    When doing a Save As, it only gave me an option for ODF Drawing so Writer must see this PDF rename .ODT as an image embedded inside a Write file.

    Seeing this, I chose "Export as PDF" and it created a decent looking PDF.

    I will try this tomorrow and see what happens, along with trying a normal webpage - maybe macRumors - PDFed using the Chrome extension.

    (I am thinking by opening the Chrome ODF up in Writer and re-PDFing it, that will trick the FedEx machines, but we will see?!)
     
  18. nicho macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #18
    I posted an almost identical method - without the extension renaming, and using the native "preview" app - 2 hours ago ;)

    It should work to fix your issue - whether it's a font problem OR a "we're going to trawl through this text and not let you print copyrighted items" problem.
     
  19. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #19
    I saw what you said, but it didn't really click. (Didn't know you could PDF from Preview.) I guess I also thought that pening the PDF up in LO Writer might have converted the PDF back to text before it was re-PDFed, thus making it better than your way of PDFing from a PNG.

    In the end, yeah, I probably didn't discover anything new...

    I tried your way and added a sample to my thumbdrive to try out tomorrow also.


    Will report back tomorrow when I find out!
     
  20. mikzn macrumors 65816

    mikzn

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver
    #20
    If you’re trying the printing tomorrow - and are interested in testing the .png version as well - go back to post number 10 and drag the screen grab that I posted above to your desktop I think it’s a 2.2m file size and looks exactly like the Macrumor webpage and contains more than one page worth - several screens.

    Might be interesting to see if the .png file is treated differently than the PDF file?
     
  21. mpainesyd macrumors 6502a

    mpainesyd

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #21
    If you are able to eliminate the above suggestions of the cause it might be that the PDFs created by the Chrome add-on have a printing block activated. This is enabled for documents such as ISO standards. I can't think why a Chrome add-on would do this, other than it is Google!
     
  22. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #22
    Any idea how to turn off that flag, or how to hack the final document to make it printable?
     
  23. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #23
    Spend $100-120 and buy a Brother laser printer that copies and scans, too.

    They last forever and the print quality is as good as you'd get "from the storefront places".
     
  24. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Texas_Toast

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    #24
    Let me start off by saying that nothing feels better than SCREWING a large corporation back at their own game... :mad:

    Just got back from FedEx and here is what I discovered...

    1.) My trick using LibreOffice solved the problem beautifully! I was able to trick FedEx's copyright restriction on the self-service machine, and using Chrome's "Full Page Screen Capture" add-on is way better than Firefox's "Take a Screenshot" feature for reasons mentioned earlier.

    2.) When I used Chrome's "Full Page Screen Capture" add-on to capture and PDF a generic Wikipedia page, I ran into the same issue at FedEx - all blank pages. This tells me that some metadata or some flag is getting set - either on purpose or by accident - from Chrome's add-on, so that is one downside of using it.

    3.) When I used Firefox's "Take a Screenshot", I was able to print news articles, BUT since that add-on create an image file - either .jpg or .png - the entire image tries to fit on one page. So, if you are capturing a super short webpage that is one page or less, it might work. But in my case, the news articles I captured were 7-8 pages, and so when I printed things out it was all reduced down to one page with text that was maybe 1-point font at best. So that isn't an option.

    4.) When I used Firefox's "Take a Screenshot" to create an image file, and then I took Nico's advice to create a PDF, I was able to print news articles, BUT same problem as described in #3 above, so that is not a solution.

    So there you have it... Looks like I have found a way to get around FedEx's dumbass copyright protection rules.

    It's a shame I have to go to so much effort to be able to print out an article that is protected by Fair Use, but we all know how stupid Corporate America has become.

    Hope that helps someone else!! :)
     
  25. nicho macrumors 68020

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