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Making Your Site Printable Presented by Adrian Roselli July 15, 2014 #CSSSummit.

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Presentation on theme: "Making Your Site Printable Presented by Adrian Roselli July 15, 2014 #CSSSummit."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Your Site Printable Presented by Adrian Roselli July 15, 2014 #CSSSummit

2 About Adrian Roselli Co-written four books. Technical editor for two books. Written over fifty articles, most recently Magazine and Web Standards Sherpa. Great bedtime reading!

3 About Adrian Roselli Member of W3C HTML Working Group, W3C Accessibility Task Force, five W3C Community Groups. Building for the web since 1994. Founder, owner at Algonquin Studios ( Learn more at Avoid on Twitter @aardrian.@aardrian I warned you.

4 What We’ll Cover

5 Background Techniques Measuring Future Questions

6 Background

7 Responsive Web Design (RWD) Responsive design (or adaptive design) is about supporting any device: Desktop computer Smartphone Tablet Television Printer? Photo of printed page from

8 As developers tout their responsive designs, they often forget the printed page. Support for print styles goes back more than a decade, before RWD. Used as initial seed, then picked up from articles, awards, etc. Hoped shaming might improve state of print styles.


10 Source page:

11 Maturing (a bit) Decided the best approach would be teaching. Used lessons, common issues from PrintShame to develop tutorial(s). Pitched this very talk.

12 Print Services Add a third-party “print” button to your site. You have no control over layout. You have no control over ads. You have no control.

13 Print Services “More Evidence of the Need for Print Styles”

14 Techniques

15 Screen versus Print Screen Continuous Visual, audible, tactile Vector and bitmap Interactive Online Print Paged Visual Bitmap Static Offline

16 Planning Is my site built mobile-first? Things I want the user to see. Things the user may not want to see. Things that probably won’t print anyway.

17 Planning Is my site built mobile-first? Sometimes your mobile-first styles will get you nearly all the way there. If you built desktop-first, you may be able to re- use your smaller viewport styles.

18 Planning Things I want the user to see: Branding Cross-branding Page address Copyright Path to page (breadcrumb) Link addresses (?)

19 Planning Things the user may not want to see: Primary navigation Secondary navigation Site search Social media icons Ad banners Fat footers

20 Planning Things that probably won’t print anyway: Colors Backgrounds (images and colors) Bits of timed / interactive elements White elements (logos, text, effects)

21 Examples: Caveats The following CSS examples are just examples. Selectors vary between IDs, classes and elements to show something that may be familiar to everyone Styles may differ from what is on the live site, sometimes to remove redundancy or simplify code samples.

22 Example

23 No Print Styles

24 Calling Print Styles Make a home for your print styles: @media print { /* insert your style declarations here */ } Or:

25 General Styles Reset type sizes to points, set text to black. Points (mostly) provide more consistent text size across browsers and devices than pixels. Light grey text doesn’t trigger browser overrides to convert text to black. Not all users have color printers. Set red to black so it doesn’t come out as a medium gray (perhaps with other styles as appropriate).

26 General Styles Clear whitespace around the content. User’s print settings will handle page margins. Lets user get as much content on a page as possible (yay for trees!). You shouldn’t need to worry about portrait vs. landscape, A4 vs. 8.5×11, etc.

27 General Styles Write values of title (or alt, or data- *, etc.) attributes into the page. Think @cite on blockquote, or @title on abbr. You can do this with most attributes on most elements, although it might not be a good fit. Perhaps a @data-shortURL attribute to display a minified link address to make it easier for users to type URLs. A novel way to promote @longdesc.

28 In-Page Links Select links in content container(s) and then display the href value as text after the link. #Content a[href]:after { content: " [" attr(href) "] "; word-wrap: break-word; } #Content a[href^="#"]:after, #Content a[href^="tel"]:after, #Content a[href^="mailto"]:after, #Content a[href^="javascript"]:after { content: ""; } Yes, you can do the inverse selector, but then I don’t get to show the variations!

29 First Round of Changes


31 Navigation Get rid of the primary, secondary, tertiary navigation, Remove social media links, Remove other bits that won’t make sense when printed. #Nav, #FlyOutNav, #SubNav,.NoPrint, #SMLinks { display: none; }

32 Navigation

33 Breadcrumb Keep the breadcrumb as a wayfinding method, but reduce its size and don’t expand the links. #Bread a:link, #Bread a:visited { text-decoration: underline; color: #000; } #Bread { color: #000; font-size: 6pt; } #Bread > a:after { content: ""; }

34 Banner Change any text to print units, Adjust colors, Handle spacing, Make sure you keep the logo. Consider SVG.

35 Footer Change any text to print units, Adjust colors, Handle spacing, Remove unneeded bits. footer { border-top: 1px solid #000; font-size: 6pt; color: #000; background-color: transparent; } footer p { margin: 0; color: #000; } footer p a::after { content: attr(data-alt); } footer img { display: none; }

36 Page Breaks The CSS properties page-break-before, page- break-after and page-break-inside have the following values: auto : default value, no specified behavior. avoid : tries to avoid a page-break. always : invokes a page-break (not for page-break- inside ). left | right : Tries to place element on the start of a page on the left or right, for when you are printing bound material (books, magazines, etc.) (not for page-break-inside ).

37 Further Consideration Hide videos. Hide controls for embedded audio. Hide Flash movies. Hide canvas elements (assuming interactive). Don’t scale images to 100% width (looking at you, mobile styles and frameworks). Determine if ads should be printed or not.

38 Before (9 pages)

39 After (2 pages)

40 Widows and Orphans Use these to control how many lines must be at the end of a page ( orphans ) or how many at the start of a page ( widows ). p { orphans: 3; /* 3 consecutive lines at end of page */ widows: 2; /* 2 lines at start of new page */ } Because widows and orphans are confusing:

41 Invert Logos For those rare cases with a white logo where you can’t load an alternate image (Chrome & Safari only): Img#Logo { -webkit-filter: invert(100%); filter: invert(100%); } If you can load an alternate, a quick tutorial:

42 QR Codes They’re a personal (lifestyle) choice. Allows more savvy users to get directly to the source of the printed page. Easy to implement without burdening mobile users, users who do not print. Not perfect – they don’t always fire in time.

43 Call the QR Code @media print { header::before { content: url(; } }

44 QR Code in Use

45 Mobile Consider the explosion of mobile. Same goals on mobile as desktop. Mobile has played catch-up in print, but has arrived within past year. Firefox & Safari print background colors. Firefox used odd page size. Android browser outputs raster PDF. Printing from Mobile Has Improved:

46 Mobile Android BrowserChromeFirefox

47 Mobile Android BrowserChromeFirefox

48 TEST! Print to PDF for your first (most) rounds. Chrome Developer Tools (next slide). Use every browser you can. Use each browser visiting your site. Change paper size (8.5" × 11", A4, etc.). Change paper orientation. Scale the content in the print dialog.

49 Chrome Developer Tools 1.Open the drawer, 2.Select the Emulation tab, 3.Choose Screen, 4.At the bottom check CSS Media, 5.Choose print from the menu.

50 Chrome Developer Tools

51 Measuring

52 Google Analytics Call the GA tracking image, but only when the print styles get used. Attach a custom event to that image. View custom events in Google Analytics. Identify which pages get printed. Make sure that at least those pages print well. For fun, compare to your carousel. Full tutorial:

53 Query String Parameters VariableDescription utmac Account String. Appears on all requests. This is your UA-#######-# ID. utmwv Tracking code version. While my standard GA requests use 5.4.0, I opted to use 4.3 for reasons I no longer recall. utmn Unique ID generated for each GIF request to prevent caching of the GIF image. I just concatenate the current year, month, day, hour, minute and second. utmhn Host Name of your site, which is a URL-encoded string. utmr Referral, complete URL. In this case I just insert a dash so it is not blank. utmp Page request of the current page. utmt Indicates the type of request, which is one of: event, transaction, item, or a custom variable. If you leave it blank, it defaults to page. Because I am tracking events, I use event. utme Extensible parameter. This is where you write your event. I use 5(Print*{page address}). utmcc Cookie values. This request parameter sends all the cookies requested from the page. It can get pretty long. It must be URL encoded. It must include __utma and __utmz values.

54 Sample Query String ?utmac=UA-1464893-3 &utmwv=4.3 &utmn=2013326124551 & &utmr=- &utmp=/Engage/Careers &utmt=event &utme=5%28Print*/Engage/Careers%29 &utmcc=__utma%3D267504222.1477743002.1364314722.1364314722.1364314722.1%3B%2B__utmb%3D267504222.17.7.1364314901604%3 B%2B__utmz%3D267504222.1364314722.1.1.utmcsr%3D%28direct%2 9|utmccn%3D%28direct%29|utmcmd%3D%28none%29

55 Call the Image @media print { header::after { content: url( 3&utmwv=4.3&utmn=2013326124551& utmr=&utmp=/Engage/Careers&utmt=event&utme=5%28Print*/Enga ge/Careers%29&utmcc=__utma%3D267504222.1477743002.13643147 22.1364314722.1364314722.1%3B%2B__utmb%3D267504222.17.7.13 64314901604%3B%2B__utmz%3D267504222.1364314722.1.1.utmcsr% 3D%28direct%29|utmccn%3D%28direct%29|utmcmd%3D%28none%29); }

56 Check the Data


58 Future

59 Here or on Its Way Browser support for existing features. Electronic Books. HTML5 as a publishing platform. CSS3, CSS4.

60 Page Rules The @page rule allows you to specify page margins (CSS 2.1), size and orientation (CSS3). @page { margin: 20cm; size: A4 landscape; } I recommend you do not use it and defer to user preferences.

61 Left, Right, First Pages Use @page rule with pseudo classes to specify right, left, first: :right will affect the page on the right. :left will affect the page on the left. :first will affect the first page. :blank will affect the blank pages resulting from forced break. An @page rule with no pseudo classes applies to all pages.

62 Bleed and Crops The bleed property relies on the crops property having a value. Bleed specifies how much the page can extend outside the page box: units, referring to width of page box. Crop draws marks outside page box: crop : shows where a page should be cut. cross : used to align sheets.

63 Boxes across Pages The box-decoration-break specifies how a box’s background, margin and border behave when broken across pages: slice : chops the box in two. clone : duplicates the styles onto each box.

64 Page Margin Boxes @page { @bottom-left { content: "Copyright me." } @bottom-right { counter-increment: page; content: "Page " counter(page); }

65 Wrap-up, Questions

66 Further Reading Tracking Printed Pages (or How to Validate Assumptions) Make your website printable with CSS: Calling QR in Print CSS Only When Needed: Tracking When Users Print Pages: Tips And Tricks For Print Style Sheets: Printing The Web: CSS Paged Media Level 2: CSS Paged Media Module Level 3: Proposals for the future of CSS Paged Media: Can you typeset a book with CSS?

67 Making Your Site Printable Presented by Adrian Roselli July 15, 2014 #CSSSummit

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