Prune and Save Web Pages


Your computer most likely includes free tools for creating or printing stripped-down versions of web articles without ads, videos or other distractions.

Q. Without having to cut and paste text, is there an easy way to make a PDF file from the text of an online article — without the advertisements — so I can read it offline or print it more easily from my computer?

A. If your browser has a “reader mode” that temporarily strips out the ads and other distracting page elements, you should be able to make simple PDF files without extra software. In a nutshell, when you find an article you want to save, switch to reader mode and then use the PDF-saving function in the Print box on your Windows PC or Mac to make a copy of the article in a new file.

Some websites do not support reader modes, but many do. For articles that jump to multiple pages, look for a “read on one page” or a “Read More” button that displays the full text on one screen.

The “clutter-free printing” option in the latest version of Windows 10 strips out ads, background images and other distractions for printing or saving the document as a PDF file.CreditThe New York Times

Once you have a decluttered page on your screen, click the browser’s printer icon or press the Control (or Command) and P keys to open the Print dialogue box. Instead of selecting a printer in the drop-down menu, choose the Save as PDF or Print to PDF option and click the Save or Print button to create or print the document.

If you are away from your computer but see an online article you want to save, you do not have to wait. You can create PDF files from web pages and email messages right on your Android or iOS device.

Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

J.D. Biersdorfer has been answering technology questions — in print, on the web, in audio and in video — since 1998. She also writes the Sunday Book Review’s “Applied Reading” column on ebooks and literary apps, among other things. @jdbiersdorfer