Don’t Print These Articles!

Warning: This article contains personal opinions.

A newsletter reader asked today, “Is there a way to print out (I know; I am bad) an item without all of the right column (Subscribe, Read, Steal, Search, Links, Etc.) being printed? A recent blog was 23 pages of the blog but would have printed out 45 pages in all. If not, OK. I can watch and halt the printing, when I remember.”

My answer may have surprised the person who asked. I replied, “I strongly recommend that you NEVER print anything and thereby waste paper! I save lots of articles from many different web sites but never print anything, if I can avoid it. I work hard to keep a paperless lifestyle.”

Actually, you are free to print most anything in this newsletter and even forward most items or republish them elsewhere, as you please. See for details. However, I try hard to never print anything and I suggest you do the same. Why waste paper?

There are better ways to keep things for a long time! In fact, it is easier to find things that are saved electronically than it is to find things saved on paper. Computers are marvelous devices when it comes to searching through hundreds or thousands of saved text files.

As I wrote in an article more than two years ago:

“I have written a number of times about the advantages of a paperless lifestyle. Genealogists seem especially attached to paper. We often save photocopies of old records, old books, and much, much more. I once bought a four-drawer filing cabinet to store all my paper. A few years later, I purchased a SECOND four-drawer filing cabinet. I purchased probably more than one hundred dollars’ worth of file folders over the years. I photocopied and photocopied and stored all the paper in neatly-arranged folders.

“Sadly, I almost never opened the drawers to retrieve anything. When I did attempt to find something, I often couldn’t locate what I wanted because the document was filed in some obscure method. For instance, the marriage record I might be seeking often was filed under the husband’s surname, not under the wife’s maiden name.

“Like a recovering alcoholic, I have since broken my addiction to paper. I now live about 98% paper-free, and I love it. Almost every piece of paper that enters my house is either (1.) discarded immediately or (2.) scanned into my computer, and then the paper is discarded. I don’t ever want to go back to cluttering my life with paper. And, yes, I have multiple backups of everything worth saving; some backup copies are stored at home, and other copies are stored off-site for safety. See for some of my earlier articles about how to live a paperless lifestyle.”

Life without paper is great! I can now find things easier than ever before. It saves space. It saves clutter.

For more information, see the following past articles from this newsletter:

However, if you really insist upon wasting paper, see the icons at the bottom of each article. Click on “Print & PDF.”

After you click on “Print & PDF,” I would strongly suggest you select the option for PDF and then save the article to your hard drive. However, if you really want to, you can select the option to Print. In both cases, that will save the article “without all of the right column (Subscribe, Read, Steal, Search, Links, Etc.).”

You will also have an option to send the article by email to yourself or to someone else.



Dear Dick,
It is easy to print just the text. Highlight the text, copy it, paste it into a new Word document, and then print it.


The ‘Print Friendly’ app can be used on most URLs in addition.
It offers an option for a pdf, and allows you to delete portions you don’t want.


If you use Firefox as your browser, there’s an icon in the address bar that looks like a book; if you click on it, you enter “reader view” which strips out all of that stuff and makes the page suitable for printing.


Dick, people have different visual needs, physical limitations, memory problems, etc. Some people may have a hard time finding a document in the computer again, if they have saved it. Some people just need the printed word for their own reasons. I know that this “wastes” trees, but I’m sitting in my house smelling smoke right now from fires in Central Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon. Not to forget all of the many thousands of trees wasted because a teenager dropped a lit firework into the landscape along the Columbia River. In recorded history, no forest fire had jumped the Columbia River, from one state to the other, but it has happened now. We can probably spot this woman a branch or two during her lifetime.


I am guilty of too much paper and am working hard to reform but I will now always keep one paper copy of the genealogy plus stories and pictures in a fireproof box. I ve had 4 crashes in the past year; first the computer hard drive, then the old laptop with all their files. A thumb drive with key files died, and then the expensive new passport drive my expensive new techie advised when he recovered some of the lost data. Just stopped working. ” Oh yes, happens all the time”, he chirped.
I ve recobbled partial information from some of the old print outs and notes I thankfully never destroyed. Now I have 4 new back ups, including a paid cloud account, plus, sorry Dick, the printed copy. If it happens again, I m done. All lost forever. Too old, sources dead, travel I cannot repeat. Twenty plus years and thousands of dollars plus original information.
We need to conserve and modernize but there s room for old tech too. There is still a real tangible world outside technology and invisible progress.


Two software programs have made going paperless much easier, Pocket and Instapaper. They save the article and strip out the ads and other fluff. You can then read the article anytime in the future on your phone, tablet or computer. The articles are saved in the cloud so you don”t have to worry about losing them to a computer crash. The search function works really well. You can print or share the article on Facebook or email anytime in the future.


Dick, I’m totally with you on the paper-free lifestyle. I hope by “discarded immediately” though you mean “recycle immediately”


    —> I hope by “discarded immediately” though you mean “recycle immediately”

    Always. Actually, it is “discarded, shredded immediately, and then recycled.” I love the shredder I purchased a few years ago!


Our recycle center wants NO shredded paper, even if boxed or bagged.


Trying to follow your example of “no printing,” Dick, although I fail sometimes. My solution now is to use the Evernote Clipper and file the articles I want to reread or refer to later in Evernote. That works well, and for a modest price, I have lots of storage room.


Oxfordshire Record Society September 9, 2017 at 5:20 am

Right click on the webpage and send to Microsoft OneNote. It even gives you a footer stating the URL from which the webpage has been copied and the time and date on which it was saved.


I think this whole argument about paper vs. computer puts genealogists in a position that could be viewed as a small oxymoron. We look for the “paper trail” of our ancestors and then denounce using a “paper trail” to keep track of it all. I have heard far more stories of people loosing valuable research because of “tech” problems vs. those that loose their paperwork. I will continue to maintain my genealogy interest by using both. Sorry Dick!


    —> I will continue to maintain my genealogy interest by using both. Sorry Dick!

    Your plan sounds like a good one.

    I strongly believe that having duplicate copies of everything that is important to you is the goal. While I tend to describe technology solutions, such as external hard drives and cloud-based file storage services, having ADDITIONAL COPIES is always a good idea. Having copies on paper is a worthwhile objective, as long as they are not your only copies. Paper is fragile, being susceptible to moisture, mold, outright floods, decay, the acids that are built into paper, fires, insect damage, and other bad things. I would never trust paper as my ONLY storage method but I do believe it is a good idea to use paper as one of the copies.


Has no one used “print preview”? Preview the page(s) and select the ones you want to print. instead of leaving the mark at ALL click on other or select & enter the page numbers separated with a comma. then you will only get the information wanted and not the side information. Make it a habit every time you want to print something. Saves gobs of paper. Also mark it to print 2 sided to save more.


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