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How to save a webpage as a PDF in Apple Safari (without the ads)

If you've ever wanted to save a copy of a webpage, Safari has a very handy trick up its sleeve.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin
Person working on a laptop
Oscar Wong/Getty Images

How many times have you come across a webpage and wanted to be able to read it in a form that's not digital? I know it sounds almost like heresy in this digital age, but sometimes you just need to step away from the screen and go full-on analog with a paper printout.

Or, maybe you need a particular article for research and want to be able to highlight certain passages or turn the article in with a term paper. Maybe you're collecting different webpages for an assignment and want to keep them located in a single folder for later perusal. You never know if a site or page will be taken down at any point, and having a PDF copy of that page will ensure you always have access to the content.

Also: How to use ChatPDF: The AI chatbot that can tell you everything about your PDF

There are several reasons why you might want to save a webpage as a PDF file. With Apple Safari, there's a very handy way of doing so. However, I'm going to one-up the default process and make it such that the PDF you save only has the information you want -- not the ads and other bits of the site that serve as distractions for the real content.

Does this sound intriguing? Read on.

How to save a webpage as a PDF (without the extra "fluff")

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need for this is the Safari web browser. I'll demonstrate this on the MacOS version of Safari. I would recommend you be certain you're using the most recent version of Safari (as it's always a good idea to keep all of your software up to date).

1. Open the page in question

Open Safari (which you've probably already done since you're reading this). 

Also: How to automatically enable reading mode for specific sites in MacOS Safari

Then, navigate to the page you want to save.

2. Open the page in Reader mode

This is the trick I mentioned earlier. Before you save the page as a PDF, you want to get rid of all the "extras" (such as ads and other bits you won't want). To do that, look for the Reader mode icon at the left edge of the address bar and click it. This will immediately re-open the page in Reader mode, where things are decidedly easier to read.

The Safari address bar showing the Reader mode icon to the left.

Opening a ZDNET page in Reader mode.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Save the page as a PDF

Now that you have the page open in Reader mode, the only thing that will be saved to the PDF file is what you see on the screen. Click the File menu entry in the Menu Bar and click Export as PDF.

The Safari File menu.

You can share or save the webpage in question.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Name your PDF

When the Export popup opens, navigate to the folder that will house the file, give the file a name (or accept the default name -- which is the title of the webpage), and click Save. 

Also: How to deny websites access to your location in Safari

Your PDF will save in the folder you selected. 

The Safari export window.

You can save your PDF file anywhere you like (as long as your user has access to the folder).

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

You now have a PDF copy of the webpage, as seen through the lens of Reader mode. By saving the page as such, you not only make it easier to read but also save considerably on printer ink. That's a win for everyone involved (even the environment).

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