HP Smart Web Printing: clip, aggregate and print web content with ease

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HP Smart Web Printing is a free browser extension for Internet Explorer and Firefox designed to enhance the process of printing webpages or (parts of webpages) from the browser.

It allows you to “clip” elements of web pages, aggregate them, re-size and re-arrange them on a preview page before printing or saving them as a PDF document.

This program provides full clipping functionality for any content found on a website, with the purpose of assembling together the parts of a webpage (or multiple web pages) to print without having to deal with all manner of extra content from the website on the hard copy that you are not interested in (and therefore you save both paper and your ink cartridge).

More info on this program:

  • How it works: the first step is to clip what you want off the page. This is done by pressing the “smart select” button on the command bar then simply selecting the content you are interested in off the page.
  • The user interface: aside from a button on the command bar, the program installs a side pane on the right hand side that lists all of your clips as thumbnail previews. This is called the “clipbook” and can be easily summoned or dismissed.
  • HP Smart Web Printing - EditingEditing : involves checking the clips you want before going to a “page preview” section. What you can do here is (a) resize any of your clips (useful when trying to fit multiple clips on the same page), and (b) re-arrange your clip on the page/pages. Note that resizing is absolute (much like resizing an image) and affects everything inside your clip.
  • Creating a PDF: from the editing “print preview” section you can opt to save your as a PDF document instead of sending to the printer.
  • The clips: are saved locally on your hard drive, and you can easily trace back anything that you clipped to its original web page. The Clip Book functions much as some web-clipping notes programs such as Evernote or Local Website Archive, or even as a sort of thumbnailed bookmark carousel, but does not have navigation, tagging or categorization functions found in these programs. Still, it can be quite useful for clipping something quickly and retrieving it later on even if you have no intention of printing.
  • Memory use: just less than 5 megs in memory, which would be on the smallish side for this sort of thing I believe.
  • How to add the “smart select” button in IE: if you do not see this button on Internet Explorer’s command bar after you install, right click the command bar, select “Customize command bar” then “add and remove commands”, then add the button from the left pane to the list of available commands (on the right pane).

The verdict: this extension gives you a high degree of versatility in terms of printing exactly what you want from the internet and combining content from various sources into a single document. Moreover, its clipping function and the thumbnailed “clipbook” it adds to the browser deliver a nice secondary web-clipping function, useful for taking quick notes off the web (if you don’t already have a web clipping program that does it for you). I recommend this especially if you do a lot of printing and/or extracting information off the web.

[via the CliffNotes Newsletter, 5/8/2008]

Version Tested: 4.0

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista. Internet Explorer 6 or later, Firefox 2.0 or later.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 6.6megs).