5 solutions considered in more detail – save blog posts as PDF documents
12/16/2013 by Nina Taberski – 7 comments – 0 shares
Among other things, due to my experiences and plans, which I described in the article about my blog workflow, I researched a few plugins and ways of practically exporting the content from the WordPress blog. The standard export as XML is of course a practical thing as a backup. Nevertheless, there are some use cases in which you can use your articles, for example as one or as individual pdf or Word documents.
Kalin’s PDF Creation Station
To start with, my favorite: Kalin’s PDF Creation Station. Unfortunately, the plugin is quite old and is no longer maintained. But it actually contains everything I need and corresponds to my preferred solution that the PDF generation does not run via an external service. The plugin supports the following use cases:
- Buttons in the front end for site visitors who can use them to save individual pages or posts as PDF documents
- (Automatic) generation of separate PDF documents from all posts and pages
- Generation of a PDF document for all posts and pages
At first I didn’t find all the functions because they are in two different menu items of the WordPress backend. Settings for individual posts and pages can be found in the WordPress backend under Settings > PDF Creation Station:
Settings for creating a PDF document over several or all posts and pages can be found in the WordPress backend under Tools > PDF Creation Station:
For the design of the PDF documents one can HTML and various shortcodes enter, which are inserted before or after the pages and articles or at the beginning and at the end of the document as well as in the header area.
Besides, you can link for download the PDF in front end Design freely and select manually for each post or page.
widgets are not provided via the plugin. But this could be expanded quite quickly, but it is not that urgent.
The plugin uses the TCPDF library, with which I have already created some PDF documents in web applications. Even if the tool is no longer maintained, I could hopefully adapt it at one point or another. With this plugin will be the same different use cases covered and it will not on one external service used for generation. I especially like the feature that automatically a PDF document when publishing an article can be generated, which can then be found in the upload folder. The only downside is that it is no longer maintained by the author.
A plugin, which also his own libraries brings to create the document for download is Read Offline. In addition to PDF documents, there is also the option to create documents in EPUB and MOBI format. Of course, this has a strong advantage for mobile users. Because reading a PDF document on a smartphone is sometimes impossible.
The plugin is geared towards one use case:
- Buttons in the front end for the site visitors to save individual pages or posts as a PDF, MOBI or EPUB document
The Read Offline function can be offered via widget, shortcode or automatically via the settings:
Here you can also set which formats should be offered, whether and where the function should be offered in the post, the text of the download link or display as an icon, your own styles and the activation of an analytics tracking function (with asynchronous analytics integration).
The plugin was last updated in December 2012.
pdf24articles to pdf
As the name suggests, the PDF24 Article to PDF plugin uses the external service pdf24.org. Of course, this approach has the advantage that the generation function and libraries are updated more regularly, but of course you always depend on the availability of the service and you don’t know whether any changes there will affect the generated documents. From a data protection point of view, it is of course something else if you have the download documents created by an external service.
The plugin covers the use case that visitors to the website can download a single page or article as a PDF and have it sent to them by fax or email.
The plugin offers a variety of setting options, which can be found under Settings > PDF24 Plugin in the WordPress backend.
The functionality can be integrated automatically, via widget or directly in the template via php. If a user clicks on the download link (alternatively e-mail link), the following pop-up appears:
The last update was in August 2013. I find that this doesn’t look as serious to the blog visitors and the creation of the document for a single post also takes longer than with the plugins that use their own libraries. Incidentally, the business model of the plugin seems to be hiding behind the fax function, since this service is chargeable.
Print Friendly and PDF Button
The Print Friendly and PDF Button plugin also uses an external service and covers one use case:
The plugin covers the use case that website visitors can download, print or email a single page or post as a PDF.
The setting and customization options are also diverse and can be found in the WordPress backend under Settings > Print Friendly & PDF.
The function can be integrated automatically, via shortcode or in the template via php.
If the website visitor clicks on the Print Friendly button, a lightbox appears with further options.
If you select PDF, a new lightbox appears with Adsense advertising and the actual download button.
The last update was in November 2013. I think the description of the Print Friendly Button is perhaps a bit too imprecise for inexperienced users and I think that they may be overwhelmed with the abundance of options in the lightbox.
You can use Blogbooker’s external service to quickly export all of your blog posts to a PDF document. Here you upload the XML file of the WordPress export, enter the blog URL and a few other setting options – and the PDF is generated.
Of course, I can understand the fact that some of the plugins from free, non-commercial authors are no longer maintained. Changes in private and working life, but also demotivation from a few donations and support can lead to this. Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s a problem with this type of plugin if it’s a bit older. There may also be others who continue the projects. The two commercial, but free solutions are of course financed by individual functions or advertising and are therefore more up-to-date. Nevertheless, I prefer the variant that the PDF document is generated without an external service. Kalin’s PDF Creation Station and Read Offline are two good solutions that I will use depending on the use case I need.