Mozilla removed the classic Print Preview from Firefox (there is still one option)

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 19, 2022
Firefox
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30

Firefox users who upgraded the web browser to version 97 may have noticed that Mozilla removed the classic Print Preview option from the browser.

firefox new print preview

The organization introduced the new Print Preview interface in Firefox 81, released on August 10, 2020, but it did add an option to Firefox to restore the classic Print Preview of the browser. Some users did just that and the classic option was restored for them.

The release of Firefox 97 changes that as it removed the option and enforced the use of the new Print Preview interface on all users.

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Differences between both modes exist even though both share most features. The new Print Preview opens as an overlay on the existing page, the old one in a new separate window. As far as options are concerned, some, like the ability to jump to a specific page or scale presets, are missing in the new user interface.

Mozilla did improve the new Print Preview mode since the initial release. Several missing features, including printing a simplified version of the webpage or improved readability on smaller screens, were added. Readability of the webpage when displayed in the new Print Preview interface is still not ideal, especially on smaller displays or when the browser window is not maximized.

Additionally, the Simplified format does not work well sometimes, as you may end up with lots of white space on some pages. The following screenshot highlights the issue.

firefox print preview whitespace

Firefox users who restored the classic Print Preview option in Firefox, dislike the removal of the classic print preview interface in Firefox for the most part.

Closing words

Mozilla's main intention was to unify the Print Preview in Firefox for all desktop platforms. The print dialog resembles that of Google Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers now, which is fine for users who use both browsers or who migrate from one browser to another.

The number of Firefox users who restored the old Print Preview feature after Mozilla landed the change in the browser is unknown, but the majority of users who are affected by this will not appreciate the change. One option that is left is to switch to Firefox ESR, as it includes the classic Print Preview preference until it is replaced by the next Firefox ESR version. Firefox 91.x ESR will retire in September 2022.

Now You: classic or new Print Preview, which do you prefer?

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Mozilla removed the classic Print Preview from Firefox
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Mozilla removed the classic Print Preview from Firefox
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Firefox users who upgraded the web browser to version 97 may have noticed that Mozilla removed the classic Print Preview option from the browser.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. TelV said on February 19, 2022 at 2:09 pm
    Reply

    To my way of thinking – which I admit is a bit warped at times – the new Print UI in FF97.0.1 is much easier to work with provided you use the “Original” option rather than the “Simplified” one. With the latter you get 4 pages rather than 5 with the Original layout.

    Similarly, users can jump to the following pages using the horizontal scrollbar at the bottom as per the screenshot: https://i.postimg.cc/FKY6dvmv/new-FF-print-preview.png

    Also it’s easier to see immediately what the effect will be when experimenting with different menu options.

    I didn’t actually try printing a page since my printer is a bit low on ink at the moment, but I trust it’ll work properly if the need arises.

  2. ruler is a measurement tool said on February 19, 2022 at 3:31 pm
    Reply

    great…remove what works, replace it with unfinished mess that doesnt work properly. whats next to be in mozilla butcher list?

    but its fine, if it mozilla its fine. like always. others cant do this, i would uninstall & switch immediately if others did this.

  3. Tom Hawack said on February 19, 2022 at 4:06 pm
    Reply

    The new Print Preview suits me fine but I don’t have a strong experience background of old and new layouts to compare both thoroughly. so little that I hadn’t even noticed what is described in this article. This said I do prefer the modal overlay. I mainly use printfriendly.com’s service for saving a PDF formatted page. Saving a Web page as is often seems to me inadequate, even when pages are free of ad banners, because remains too many areas of the page handling web specific information which has little to do with a clean printed page.

    If the aim is a high-fi backup then I’ll use the SingleFile extension for a one file html backup.

    1. Jan said on February 20, 2022 at 2:31 am
      Reply

      Yes, Single File is excellent. For a PDF I use Print Friendly.

      1. Tom Hawack said on February 20, 2022 at 12:35 pm
        Reply

        @Jan, PrintFrieendly here as well, but with a bookmarklet which sends the page to printfriendly.com because the extension fails to display images on several sites, but also because I dislike the way the extension displays the printable/PDF to be page.

    2. nicolaasjan said on February 20, 2022 at 11:15 am
      Reply

      @Tom Hawack
      I use SingleFileZ:
      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/singlefilez/

      Is made by the same author, but applies zip compression, so you have smaller file size. :)

      1. Tom Hawack said on February 20, 2022 at 12:32 pm
        Reply

        @nicolaasjan, indeed! I started with SingleFile, set it to my convenience and seldom backup heavy pages, but it’s good you mention SingleFile’s little brother : SingleFileZ
        By the way, both extensions have acquired fame, and it’s most deserved. Certainly the best in the page saving category.

  4. Henk said on February 19, 2022 at 4:18 pm
    Reply

    To be honest I had forgotten this feature existed (using Firefox 91.6.0 ESR, btw) as I never print anything anymore. Even the government bureaucracy here in the NL has stopped asking for paper-printed documents. I retired my last printer at least six or seven years ago, and since then have missed it exactly once.

    So maybe here the end-of-post question should have been: do you still sometimes print out (part of) a webpage, and if so, why?

    1. Anonymous said on February 19, 2022 at 4:47 pm
      Reply

      Henk, sometimes I use the printing feature in order to “print” as a PDF.
      And IMO the new Print Preview is much better than the old thing.

    2. Heimen Stoffels said on February 19, 2022 at 4:54 pm
      Reply

      That’s not entirely true. I still have to send in paper documents to my municipality here in NL a few times a year as they still haven’t transitioned all municipal-related stuff to the cloud. Maybe it’s different in some other municipalities, but not in mine.

  5. ULBoom said on February 19, 2022 at 5:19 pm
    Reply

    Both are equivalent for my uses; the new one is clearer. I hardly ever print web pages but do print portions of emails. Shipping labels, RMA labels always have a little print box or button.

    That white space thing is annoying but can be avoided by using Print Selection. Not a big deal beyond a waste of paper.

    The only hinderence to printing I encounter is our stupid printer. I know what I want to print but it always seems to know better. Too many settings!

  6. anonymous said on February 19, 2022 at 5:34 pm
    Reply

    And print.tab_modal.enabled false no longer works.

  7. Paul(us) said on February 19, 2022 at 5:49 pm
    Reply

    Could it be that the addon Print Friendly & PDF (version 4.9.0) right now is a better choice?

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/print-friendly-pdf/?utm_source=addons.mozilla.org&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=search

    Or is there a better way or addon to restrict the amount of any article you want to print?

  8. Andy Prough said on February 19, 2022 at 7:18 pm
    Reply

    I’m fine with the newer version although I do like using the classic version with Pale Moon. I spend most of my time in Pale Moon since it renders and prints my university’s digital book collection correctly whereas Firefox fails.

  9. Marian said on February 19, 2022 at 11:22 pm
    Reply

    I absolutely detest the new print preview. The old one was super easy to use and had plenty of user friendly options that never wasted paper or ink. I am going to attempt to return to a previous version of Firefox so that I can have it back.

  10. Trey said on February 20, 2022 at 12:35 am
    Reply

    This new site format that jams the previous story under the one you’re reading is terrible. We’re all big kids now and are able to move to the next one on our own when we’re ready. Is it a round-about way to double page view metrics or something?

    1. nicolaasjan said on February 20, 2022 at 11:23 am
      Reply

      uBlock Origin to the rescue:

      Add to “My filters”:
      [||www.ghacks.net/wp-content/themes/new-ghacks-preview/infinite-scroll.js$script]
      (without the brackets)

      Note that this might change because it has “new-ghacks-preview”in the URL…

    2. anonymous said on February 20, 2022 at 3:40 pm
      Reply

      The “Show Comments” requirement is also super annoying.

  11. yanta said on February 20, 2022 at 12:56 am
    Reply

    I am running 91.5.1esr and it has the new print preview… And it sucks

  12. Dave said on February 20, 2022 at 4:43 pm
    Reply

    As previously mentioned by another person, disable java script and the pages will render like before the latest change.

    1. Tom Hawack said on February 20, 2022 at 8:30 pm
      Reply

      @Dave, the Javascript workaround has been tuned since. I’m commenting here and now because I was the first to mention disabling Javascript as the cure for the new articles’ pages display. Won’t comment about this anymore.

      If you disable Javascript globally for Ghacks you’ll face at least 3 issues:
      1- Your comment won’t insert itself correctly in the Comments tree : it’ll always be published at the very end;
      2- Articles’ images won’t be displayed;
      3- The search feature will be disabled

      If you’re using uBO the best is to target the bothering script :

      uBO / Dashboard /

      In ‘My rules’ (without the brackets) :
      [ghacks.net https://www.ghacks.net/wp-content/themes/new-ghacks-preview/infinite-scroll.js script block]

      Or in ‘My filters’ (without the brackets) :
      [||www.ghacks.net/wp-content/themes/new-ghacks-preview/infinite-scroll.js$script]

      *** But do not disable Javascript globally for Ghacks *** unless to accept display and feature issues.

      1. leland said on February 21, 2022 at 11:17 pm
        Reply

        Thank you Tom for a proper fix. I had experimented with NoScript but as you said comments didn’t work right.

  13. Stan said on February 20, 2022 at 11:49 pm
    Reply

    I have no problem with the new Print Preview. The first time I went to print with it, I was surprised not to see Print Preview in the File drop down. But it’s all ok.

    One of my biggest concerns is not wasting paper, so I always ‘Fit to page width’ and then ‘Scale’ if there’s too much white space. I click Scale down to a reasonable percentage and can usually print on less pages then at Fit page… or at 100%. I very often delete the last page if it’s often just the not necessary. Did the same with the old I/F.

  14. leland said on February 21, 2022 at 11:23 pm
    Reply

    I would try Print Edit WE (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/print-edit-we/) to help with wasted space. I used to use HackTheWeb but it isn’t compatible with newer versions of Firefox though it still works in Waterfox. I also use Print Friendly but it doesn’t always work.

  15. Rex said on February 28, 2022 at 5:50 am
    Reply

    There’s extreme masochists and then there’s Firefox users…
    “Oh but you can always switch it back in about:config!”
    “Oh but you can always go back to the ESR!”
    Until you can’t.
    Then it’s “Who needs that feature anyway, it is the current year!”

  16. Carolyn said on February 28, 2022 at 6:32 pm
    Reply

    The Print Preview was one reason I liked Fire Fox. I really do not like that they changed to look like the others. Now on pages that I cannot get to print correctly, I will start looking at the other browsers and may change.

    It is not always good to go with what you completion is doing.

  17. Tim Dayton said on March 17, 2022 at 3:33 pm
    Reply

    I do a lot of printing to PDF, not paper, and I have found the old print preview with it’s simplify button the most useful. Without simplify you get to much junk on the page and not just the meat of the article. Also, I find that failure to simply sometimes results in cut off lines because of headers/footers on the webpage and I don’t need the little buttons showing up in my print to connect LinkedIn or Facebook. I, thus use the ESR version and have reset the preference. I don’t do Chrome and so could care less if FireFox is chrome like. It the printing becomes a big deal I’ll find another browser. I have not tried Print Friendly or the others mentioned but I don’t want to have to ship my print request over the internet to a pay service to do what I have now. Worst comes to worst, I have a copy of Firefox 80 something, before the change and I’ll use that risk or not.

  18. Kent said on March 25, 2022 at 6:26 am
    Reply

    What I’ve noticed is that software developers make “enhancements” just so they can say they upgraded the experience. It’s not just Firefox – but almost every software package. They don’t know about the “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” axiom. Many users have serious jobs with serious workloads and don’t really have the time to “fix” enhancements so they can do their job.

  19. Lukasz Engel said on April 19, 2022 at 8:39 pm
    Reply

    Maybe for majority of users new UI is OK, but for me – it IS NOT:
    – I cannot select pages for printing (for web sites it’s probably not common use, but FF by default also opens eg. pdf documents linked from web pages when it’s more often desired)
    – new UI always prints in “Standard” quality which is ugly on my printer (I have set in default system settings for printer quality to “High”, but FF does not use this; I cannot see any “about:config” option to change this),
    In effect I always have to walk through new UI to the system one (and for pdfs I still have option to open them in dedicated viewer)
    I don’t understand why Firefox forces me to use such an “enhancement”, even not leaving option of old alternative…

    (If I want to have chrome-like UI I would use chrome-based browser not FF.)

  20. Zorba said on May 19, 2022 at 4:44 am
    Reply

    Yet another “improvement” that exactly NOBODY asked for – all in the name of the ongoing race to the bottom with Chrome. Decontenting and removing useful features, and adding crap like this. Thanx Moz. If I wanted a Chrome like browser, I’d run Chrome. I’ve been using FF from its very first versions, when it was feature rich, HIGHLY configureable, and wasn’t concerned about what other browsers were doing.

    Now I have to “print to PDF” first, then load the result into a PDF reader and print it from there to get my built-in system print dialog. Who gives a damn if its different from system to system – that is smartphone-level stupidity. But no choice is the watchword for FF these days, learned no doubt from Apple. I’m starting to give up on FF, and looking at other browsers – they all suck one way or another, but “Brave” is starting to look good. “Vivaldi” was fantastic, but slow as molasses…

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