How to save a webpage as a PDF or MHT file

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Tom Stallard asked for a way to save webpages, with all of the formatting and images intact, to local storage.

I know of two ways to save webpages as single, contained files. They won’t reproduce the exact layout of the page, but they’ll come very close. One will give you a standard .pdf file. The other technique produces a less ubiquitous .mht or .mhtml file. You’ll have fewer options for reading .mht files, but they usually get closer to the look of the original pages.

Both techniques work, with some variation, in Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to answer@pcworld.com.]

To create a .pdf, you simply “print” the page to pdf creation software.

Chrome makes this chore particularly easy. With the desired page loaded, press Ctrl-P to bring up the browser’s unique Print dialog box. Click the Change button in the Destination section. This brings up a list of your available printers. But in addition to the printers, you’ll find a Save as PDF option.

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Ctrl-P will also bring up a printer dialog box in Internet Explorer or Chrome. Only these offer standard Windows dialog boxes, and lack a Save as PDF option. (They both offer a “Print to file” option, but you won’t find that to be satisfactory.)

So you’ll need a print-to-PDF program that interfaces with Windows as a print driver. There are plenty available, and you might have one installed that you don’t even know about. In researching this article, I discovered that I have four.

If you don’t have a PDF option among your print drivers, download and install the free version of the BullZip PDF Printer.

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The MIME HTML (MHTML) format archives a webpage, putting the text, the code, and the images (but not audio and video) into a single file. It looks more like a webpage because it is, technically, a webpage.

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Internet Explorer supports MHTML files out of the box. To save the page you’re looking at, press Ctrl-S to bring up the Save As dialog box. In the “Save as type” pull-down menu, select Web Archive, single file (*.mht).

Neither Firefox nor Chrome support MHTML by default, but there are ways around that.

Firefox users need to install the Mozilla Archive Format, with MHT and Faithful Save.

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For Chrome, it’s a bit more complicated. In the browser’s address field (where you type URLs), enter chrome://flags/ and press Enter. Search for the option Save Page as MHTML, and click the Enable link. Then close and re-open Chrome.

Once you’ve made these changes, the Save As dialog box (still Ctrl-S) will offer a MHT or MHTML option in the “Save as type” menu.

You can read MHTML files in Internet Explorer, and in the other browsers after you’ve made the changes described above. You can also download reader apps for Android and iOS.

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