Details of printing have been talked about, but this is the feature request for a Printer-Friendly Button. The button would print a good-looking version of the question and answers instead of just using the print feature of your browser. It would allow just the Q&A to be printed and not other additional items. There could even be a user setting or some way to print with comments also.

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Poor trees.. :( –  Andreas Bonini Jan 23 '10 at 1:54
You still print stuff??? –  jmfsg Jan 23 '10 at 2:14
By "Pretty Print", I think from the context you mean a printer-friendly view; is that right? "Pretty Print" usually means a code formatter / painter (which is mostly there already). –  Marc Gravell Jan 23 '10 at 10:25
@Marc, yes I meant a printer-friendly view like I get for my CC and bank statements, sorry if I got the terminology wrong. –  Lance Roberts Jan 23 '10 at 19:04
I would like a Printer Friendly button. –  Altar Feb 19 at 10:38
@AndreasBonini-Poor trees because there is no printer friendly button. You print 3 times more pages (including ads) without that button! –  Altar Feb 19 at 10:40
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4 Answers

There's not really any need for a button, if a style sheet for printing is defined (with media="print" attribute). Those "Click here for printer-friendly version" links are generally considered a bad idea.

Stack Overflow currently does not define a print stylesheet. I think you'd have a slightly better chance of getting your suggestion approved if you changed your question to something like "please provide a style sheet for printing."

Of course, I'm pretty sure the response would be something like "this is already a very text-heavy website, I don't think it's needed." :)

Edit: I was wrong, printer styles are defined. They are in the same stylesheet, using @media print.

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Look in the stylesheet for @media print - There's your print version. –  random Jan 23 '10 at 13:57
@random thanks, didn't check there –  Kip Jan 23 '10 at 14:06
+1 because printer-friendly versions are evil. –  ahsteele Jan 23 '10 at 16:44
OK but AFAIK the "print media" stylesheet isn't that good -- I'm losing parts of text blocks and the code is just a mess, for example here:… even with "shrink to fit", in Firefox 3.X. Maybe the CSS still needs work then? –  Coderer Mar 1 '10 at 23:48
gmail has printer-friendly button. –  user136690 Dec 3 '12 at 15:45
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I don't know if there's a big need to support printing, but in truth, when you want to print something, it should come out of the printer in a way that's better formatted for printed media. The print stylesheet does a decent job by itself, but there are some things I find lacking.

It would be nice to have a "printable view" of a question that does/has the following:

  • Shows the question, and all answers on a single (web) page. Currently it's question + each page of answers (by design), so you end up with multiple printed copies of a question. This wastes paper, is confusing, and also makes it somewhat annoying if you want to print only certain sections of the answers.
  • Shows the vote count for answers
  • Hides all functional links such as "add comment", etc. Currently, this is partly implemented.
  • Shows the entire comment history on all answers. Currently you'd have to expand all the answer comment histories manually.
  • Hides the page footer.
  • Various layout tweaks to reduce the printed length. For example, comments currently have way too much empty vertical space.

UPDATE: There is now an API-based application called StackPrinter, as Jeff pointed out here -- I haven't tried it myself, but it should solve some of the issues I've mentioned here.

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Actually i quoted you in the app description, so the circle is closed :).… –  systempuntoout May 23 '10 at 17:06
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I actually think this is a cool idea. Definitely not a priority, but would be something to "brag about".

That said, I've never heard the idea before and could probably be easily convinced it's a terrible idea.

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I like that there are print-styles defined; I'd like to see Stack overflow use media selectors to make the printed result appear like a printed document, rather than a printed website.

The extra time and effort involved would allow me to put some of my most-important answers on my wall, or in a notebook and make the best use of the paper, etc.

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