If you’re running a new site, publishing mouth-watering recipes, or writing technical pieces then there’s always a chance that someone will want a print version of your article. And it’s not just that. Having a printer-friendly website improves its usability and makes it more accessible.
The only problem is that not all WordPress themes are print-ready right out of the box.
Thankfully, there are a number of free plugins out there that can help make your website content optimally printable. With this in mind, in this post, we’ll run the rule over four of the best plugins to make your WordPress posts and pages printer-friendly. Before we begin, let’s quickly take a look at why it’s a good idea to have a printer-friendly website in the first place.
What Printer-Friendly Websites Are and Why You Need One
Having a fully responsive website doesn’t just mean that it should look good on all devices. It also means that your site should adapt to different media—such as print.
Printer-friendly design is all about stripping your web page of elements that are unnecessary to the reader once they’ve taken a print. Take a look at this tutorial and see if you can identify the web elements that would serve no purpose once the page is printed: (Hint: There’s at least five!)
There are a number of web elements that are important (nay, essential) to have on your website for good user experience. The thing is that they’re useful on the web, not print. To name a few:
- Navigation menus
- Social share buttons and icons
- Contact forms
- Site search
And then there are some elements that you might want to keep intact such as branding elements, copyright statements, and a URL to your site.
But that’s just half the story. Designing for the web and designing for print are two vastly different things. For instance, the typography you’ve picked out for your web pages might not look so good once the page is printed out. And print-optimized designs are almost always black and white as opposed to a colorful palette since color ink prints can get pretty expensive. What’s more is that what looks good on the web may not necessarily look as good on paper.
The good news is that there are a number of WordPress plugins that take most of the heavy lifting out of creating printer-friendly posts and pages.
4 Plugins to Make WordPress Printer-Friendly
One of the easiest ways to set up a print-friendly WordPress website is by using a plugin. We’ve shortlisted four of the best, free plugins out there that add a print button to your site and allow your readers to print printer-friendly web pages.
Print, PDF, Email by PrintFriendly
Print, PDF, Email by PrintFriendly integrates the PrintFriendly service into your WordPress website giving you and your end users better control over how the web page will turn out after it’s printed.
Once you install and activate the plugin to your site, your readers will be able to see a print button on the front-end. The button launches a lightbox window that allows users to configure their print settings and live preview the print version.
- Allows end users to adjust the web page’s text size and image size.
- Gives users the option to download or share the web page as a PDF or email.
- Makes it easy to manually edit the page before printing.
WP-Print is a powerful WordPress plugin that allows you to configure your posts’ and pages’ print options directly from the back-end. The neat thing about this plugin is that it’s fine-tuned for WordPress websites which means that its built-in settings let you decide whether you want to let end users print comments, links, images, thumbnails, and videos.
In addition to this, you can also add a custom disclaimer or copyright text to the print version of your site’s pages and posts.
- Automatically adds citations at the bottom of the page for internal and external hyperlinks.
- Allows you to configure its settings from the back-end.
- Removes on-page navigation menus automatically.
Print-o-Matic is a robust WordPress plugin that allows users to add a printer-friendly option to specific posts and pages by using the [print-me] shortcode. Once you have the plugin activated to your site, all you have to do is configure its settings by telling it what you want the printed page to look like using custom CSS styles.
One of the best things about this plugin is that it comes with extensive documentation (with demos) so if you get stuck anywhere you can always consult it for more information. That said, it might not be easy to use for non-developers since you’ll be adding CSS code in its settings options.
- Five different print icons to choose from.
- Allows users to add custom print page CSS code.
- Options to add custom text to the top and bottom of the printed pages.
Print Post and Page
Once you’ve activated the Print Post and Page plugin to your WordPress website, it’ll automatically add a print icon to all of your posts and pages. You can choose to remove the print option from specific posts or pages from its edit screen. The standout feature on offer with this plugin is that it’s incredibly easy to use—even for users that aren’t particularly tech savvy.
The Print Post and Page plugin works by stripping all theme styling from your pages and posts while keeping plugin CSS intact. This means that it’ll retain any shortcode content that you may have on your site.
- Allows you to configure the print icon’s display settings.
- Automatically removes all theme styling from your posts’ and pages’ content.
- Keeps plugin CSS intact to cater for shortcode content.
Even if most of your site’s readers choose to consume content through their computers and mobile devices, it’s important to offer a print-ready version of your content to those that insist on taking prints of it.
Let’s recap the main points you need to keep in mind when making your WordPress posts and pages printer-friendly:
- Remove unnecessary web elements. Remove web elements that don’t serve a purpose when printed out such as navigation menus, search bars, and social share buttons.
- Make sure your fonts are print-optimized. Adjust your content’s typography settings to improve readability on a printed page. Print fonts (like Baskerville) usually have ink traps and optically balanced sizes to deal with issues that may come up during the printing process.
- Go for a monochrome palette. Opt for a completely black and white color palette since taking color prints is generally more expensive than monochrome prints.