It’s the Little Things: Print-Perfect Posts

by Jacob Abshire on August 26, 2014

I love your website, but your print button frustrates me! You write wonderful things, but I’d feel a lot better if you allowed me to print your article without shaking my fist at the computer.

Mr. or Ms. Blogger, I understand your dilemma. You probably had no idea. You’re a writer, not a developer. You installed Jetpack for WordPress and assumed it would just work. I get it. But, let me speak for a number of others and tell you that you’re making it harder for us to get the most from your blog.

Granted, many of your readers are not like us. They’re trendy. They read electronically, but not really. I’m crying out for those who really care about your writings.

Some of us are still into print. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love the feel and smell of a good sheet of paper I can read and mark up. And I’m not alone. (Thanks, Josh Cantone.)

We, dare I say, serious readers get frustrated with your print button.

It’s an easy fix. If you’re not a developer, it might cost you a few bucks to get it resolved. (Heck, if I read your site, I might do it for free.) Think of the value! How many of us will go from frustrated to satisfied readers?

Convinced? Let’s get your post print-perfect.

#1 Print a page to see why we are so frustrated.

First, you need to see it for yourself. Click on your print button (or COMMAND+P for Mac and CONTROL+P for Windows). In the preview window, you can easily tell what you need to remove from the print. Maybe the header, footer, sidebar, and a few other things. Print it out and mark it up with a red pen. Write this note at the top of the page to yourself: “This stuff irritates my readers.” Now you know what to remove.

#2 Edit your website stylesheet.

This is where you might need a web developer. If so, hand him or her your marked up printout. They will know what to do. On the other hand, if you have access to your site files (or at least, your site stylesheet), add this code to the bottom:

@media print {
    .header, .footer, .sidebar { display:none; }

In a basic theme, it’s just that easy. But more than likely, your theme uses different class names than [css theme=”git”]header[/css] and [css theme=”git”]footer[/css] for its elements. So, just switch out the correct names.

#3 Get jiggy with it.

I know…that shows you how old I am and why I still like prints. Just be glad I didn’t say, “Bust a move.” The point is, that might be all you need after completing step 2. However, most themes are complex and will require you to target more objects in your page. You might even need to re-style some keepers.

There are more tricks to get your print perfect. Here are some useful articles to help you really make us cry—in a good way. If you need help, or even a spot check, holler at me. I’ll be glad to help. (And by holler, I mean the more trendy thing—email.)

Try printing this page to see a good example of a print-perfect post.

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