Which web browser is the most efficient webpage PDF Saver?
All desktop web browsers support saving webpages to various formats. The option that is most exposed comes in form of the "Save As" menu that is available in various places, usually in the main menu and in the right-click menu of the active webpage.
The PDF saving option is quite hidden in comparison and it may be difficult to discover it on your own, especially if you never use the print dialog. PDF generation is available in the print menu in the browser, and not in the "Save As" menu.
How to Save a webpage as a PDF in all browsers
- Press Ctrl-P on the keyboard.
- Select the "Save as PDF" option under Destination.
- Select Save.
The easiest option is to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-P to display the print dialog. The browser lists all printers and other printing options, including print to PDF there. Select the PDF option, e.g. Save as PDF in Google Chrome, and the print preview page is loaded. Just select Save again and a save dialog is displayed that you may use to name the document.
Not all generated PDF documents are equal
Are all PDF files identical that the browser's generate? Far from it. All browsers ignore web content that is not related directly to the article in question; things like advertisements, menus or embedded videos are not included in the save.
When you compare the file size of the output, you will notice differences between the browsers, especially when it comes to file size.
We compared the PDF file output of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave and Mozilla Firefox using Wikipedia's Odyssey page and Ghacks's Vivaldi Browser Review pages. All content blockers and tracking blockers were disabled or set to the lowest level during the tests.
Here is the result.
|Brave||1536 KB||746 KB|
|Chrome||990 KB||675 KB|
|Edge||990 KB||682 KB|
|Firefox||4347 KB||4854 KB|
Edge and Chrome produce almost the same result when it comes to the size of the generated PDF document. Brave came close to the size only once, and produced a larger size document the other time. Firefox generated the largest documents of the browsers.
Why is there such a discrepancy?
All browsers saved all textual information and images correctly. Images could be one reason why the size differs so much; if Firefox saves the images in a higher resolution, the output file size would be larger. If you run all documents through a PDF compression tool or service, you will notice that all sizes are reduced. For the Vivaldi review PDFs, Firefox's size dropped to about 800 KB, which is fine, as that is close enough to the file size of the PDFs generated by the other browsers. Problem is, the file sizes of these dropped to around 200 Kilobytes each, which again is quite the difference to the size of the compressed PDF generated by Firefox.
Closer inspection may reveal why Firefox PDFs are larger than those of the other three browsers that we tested.
Firefox users may use different PDF printers if installed on their devices. Windows comes with a PDF printer and the output size is a bit smaller when it is used instead of Firefox's native option. It generated a 3800 KB file of the Vivaldi article, other PDF printers may be more effective.
To answer the title's question: Chrome and Edge are the most effective when it comes to saving PDF documents in the browser, at least when you compare the four tested browsers.
Now You: do you use print to PDF in your browser?
There is a way I do to print when browser refuses to do it (works on Chrome and Edge, Firefox don’t, others didn’t tried it). I type this in the address bar (exactly as it is presented):
In spite of size, my tests yield aproximated relation between browsers.
For me the main issues on saving a webpage to pdf are (i) does the pdf preserve urls (labels) as clickable hyperlink text and (ii) does one have the option to omit from the save unwanted images that add nothing to the intelligibility of the content but only to add to the bulk of the pdf.
Without having done a survey across even a majority of browsers I’ve found Brave and Opera fulfil (i) but not (ii). Firefox still seems to do neither which is something of an achievement given its save to pdf functionality has been messed with recently.
Unfortunately no browser save to pdf function that I’ve tried works always to avoid the error of splitting text horizontally between page divisions, a pretty fundamental error to still be around (a possible exception being in Skia/PDF m91 [?] as deployed by printfriendly.com ).
I posted a reply on this topic on pdf creator forums in 2018 under thread “Http links are not always clickable” giving some workarounds for PDFCreator then not saving full hyperlink text. Notwithstanding FireFox’s subsequent changes to its own save as pdf functionality, it seems all that was then relevant to PDFCreator still hasn’t become totally redundant to FireFox…?
You aren’t comparing apples to apples if the resolution of images is different. I’ll take a bigger file with better resolution every day.
Using this page, I got
603 kb with FF
775 kb with Chromium
About the same.
For the Vivaldi review page, which is 5years old, whatever that means,
2900 kb w FF
963 kb with Chromium.
Hmmm, wtf? Ohhhhh, in Chromium you have use the drop down to get MS Print to PDF to make the comparison with FF equal. OK Class, let’s try that!
Now we get 3367 kb with Chromium on the Vivaldi page and
1100 kb with Chromium for this page.
Chromium higher both times, about 14% for vivaldi and 80% for this page?
Nice test, whatever answer you want. Softpedia Sophistry Statistics? “We need more arbitrary comparisons and these will be the winners!”
Another option is https://www.printfriendly.com/ extension
This web page in Firefox as a print to PDF was 459KB
Print Friendly was 254KB and without the web address at the top of each page
PrintFriendly is the best. It also has a quick editor so you keep only the information you want.
Bonus: it your default search engine is duckduckgo you can type
[ !pf + (copy and paste the link) ]
And everything happens automajically ;)
Interesting that results vary between Chromium browsers.
I don’t really care about the size difference, but if the result is usable and in many cases the print view is just messed up and if I really need it for some reason, I end up opening the developer tools and modifying the layout…
My primary browser is Firefox and I use Save Page WE extension to save pages to PDF. PDFs are smaller than those created by FF
I always use printfriendly referred to earlier. This extension allows deleting or hiding unwanted parts of the website that needs to be pdf-ed, plus further formating. I experience problems though to pdf articles of some (flemish) newspapers, for which I use copy/paste to a text processor.
What a silly test, Not your best piece at all Martin! I hope you think about it