So you wanna print out your blog ?

Or you need a table of contents ? Or just part of your blog  or a table of contents for some posts in your blog for a particular series of blog posts you have been writing ? And you want that table of contents or printout sorted by date ascending ( oldest entry first ) instead of descending which is the default for all blog engines ?

Blog engines like Blogger or WordPress make it very convenient to blog and provide lots of useful functions, but when it comes to create a printout of your blog – or let’s say a pdf file – or present blog articles in a chronological order instead of reverse chronological as it is the default with all blog engines ( latest entry on top ) then you have to use some workarounds or manual work to achieve this. Printing usually gets messy due to the frame work the blog provider has put around your content,  the left and right side bars appear somewhere in your printout and get in your way.

Alternate hosting sites:

I have developed a tool currently hosted on HelioHost allowing to import a blog export file from either your WordPress or Blogger blog to easily get a table of contents or blog printout or pdf file.

In my wordpress blog here I have a series of blog posts about my trip through the Northwest of the USA in 2006. Creating a chronological table of contents or pdf version of all these articles now is a piece of cake with the help of my tool “Axel’s Blogs Export XML Parser”. Here it is.

How to use it ?

First of all an export file has to be created from a WordPress or Blogger blog. In WordPress this can be done by going to the dashboard, then selecting Tools – Export. A XML file will be produced and stored on your computer.

Now head to my tool and first click on “Browse…” to specify the location of this XML file on your computer, then click on “Process” to upload the file. The file will be kept only temporarily on my server, after 24 hours latest it will be deleted. A list of all blog entry titles will be shown in the sequence as they appear in your blog.

Now you can re-sort or filter as you wish:

  • Check on “Sort by date ?” to sort blog articles by date.
  • Check on “Sort by title ?” to sort blog articles by title.
  • Check on “Sort descending ?” to do any of  both sorts descending.
  • Specify a search term in “Search Title:” to filter your blog posts by post title.
  • Alternatively or in addition select one or more tags in the listbox below. Use the radio button “any” or “all” to decide whether any of the tags selected or all need to be assigned to the blog posts you want to filter out.
  • Once you have made your choices click on “Process” again.

If you are satisfied with your selection you now have a list of titles with underlying links to these blog posts in front of you in the right frame of the tool. If you view the source code of this frame ( In Friefox do a right-click, then select This Frame –> View Frame Source ) you get the HTML code for your table of contents.

To produce the full output including all the posts content check on the “Full Content ?” check box and click “Process” again. A full print out of your blog posts will appear in the right frame. You can now either print it or use a tool like FreePDF to create your pdf file of these articles.

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44 Responses to “So you wanna print out your blog ?”

  1. My first project on Hostcell: Axel’s Blogs Export XML Parser « Axel on HostCell Says:

    […] of contents or a printout or pdf file from your blog articles. More details about that tool are here in my blog “Axel’s Travelog” or here in German language in “Axel […]

  2. cellsignalling Says:

    Dear Axel,

    Thanks for making this tool.

    If you want to develope this further then I would suggest adding a “Sort by Author” function to your script and/or show Authors in the print out.
    My blog has many Authors and I need to sort accordingly (I use it as a teaching tool and I now want to print each students post and comments for assessment)

    THANKS AGAIN for making this available, Great!!!!

  3. amagard Says:

    cellsignalling,
    thanks for your feedback and suggestion. Makes much sense. I don’t work with group blogs yet but will consider your idea in the next version.

  4. amagard Says:

    The next version (1.1) is out supporting your request, cellsignalling.

  5. cellsignalling Says:

    Dear Amagard,
    You are a legend, thank you kindly, I will update and use the new tool ASAP.
    Great…..
    Mark

  6. nurturingwisdom Says:

    Hi,

    This looks great. I have recipes that I would like to make printable for my readers. This looks like a great possibility for me without having to switch over to WordPress.org.

    Thank you!

  7. Kat Says:

    You. Are. My. Hero. 😀

  8. Jason Says:

    All I can say is thank you. My mom has kept a blog over the last year on her “journey” while losing close to 100 pounds and totally changing her life for the better. This Christmas I am able to help her fulfill a goal by putting her journey into print. God Bless. Jason

  9. Julie Says:

    Fan-tas-tic!! Thank you so much for this wonderful tool – a godsend!!!

  10. Brenda Ballard Says:

    Hi,
    So is there a way to have your blog post in ascending order?

    Thanks!
    Brenda

  11. amagard Says:

    Hi Brenda, checking on “Sort By Date” ( without checking on “Sort descending” ) should do the trick.

  12. feedfabrik Says:

    Hi Axel,

    this is really interesting. We’ve been developing something similar over the recent months out of the personal pain of not being able to print a blog properly. I like the way your handle tags for selection of content – that’s pretty smart. If you’re interested in exchanging experiences, just get in touch.

    Our service is hosted at http://www.feedfabrik.com and one advantage is maybe that you don’t have to export your blog beforehand. Print-ready PDFs (with crop-marks) are free, but in addition to the PDF we also offer printed blogbooks.

  13. amagard Says:

    Hey feedfabrik,
    thanks for your feedback and link to your solution which looks pretty professional and convenient so far, especially the way to authenticate and then directly accessing the blog without any need to export / upload files. Unfortunately there is no way for me to get a free pdf file with your solution other than the one with the strange watermarks 😉
    More filtering options would be nice, currently I only saw filtering by date range. One observation: in the proof pdf copy a lot of images ( hosted on flickr ), but not all, have been missing.

  14. feedfabrik Says:

    @amagard
    We’ve made authentication even more convenient now: There is a new plugin that adds a print button to your WordPress admin interface (in the Tools section). Clicking the button transport you (and your data) directly over to our blogbook application. Find it here: http://www.feedfabrik.com/blog/wordpress-printing-plugin/

    It’s not only convenient, but it avoids the need to type your password into our login box. That makes access even more secure without us even seeing your password 🙂 The exchange happens via a unique token that automatically expires. And the token only gives read access and not write/delete like the normal API.

    You’re right about the filtering. It’s on our agenda. We thought about filter by author and tags. Hey, you’re showing the way!

    The free PDF is the print-proof file. It actually doesn’t have any watermarks at all. What you see are the crop marks outside the actual page – these are needed for professional printing. so you could just take the file to a printer of your choice. It’s the same file we use for printing.

    The PDF that you can purchase has automatic cropping applied. But to be honest, you could do that yourself with Adobe.

    We find flickr images difficult to deal with. Do you have a good solution? Apparently, flickr limits the number of images you can download in a short timeframe so that eventually our app gets blocked and then some pics are missing. We haven’t found a good solution yet but we’re grateful for any suggestions.

  15. Interesting free Blog Printing Tool Says:

    […] Magard has developed an interesting free blog printing tool. It takes export files from WordPress or Blogger and processes them to, for example, PDF. One thing […]

  16. Mike Talley Says:

    Your tool is just what I have been looking for. I am giving up blogging and wanted a readable electronic version, ala PDF.

    First things, if I have a ‘ in my post title, your tool only shows whats on the right side of the ‘ this is sort of strange is seems like it would be an easy fix.

    Second – do you have anyway for the comments to be printed as well?

  17. amagard Says:

    Mike,
    thanks for your feedback.
    I have uploaded a new version ( 1.21) to my host which supports comments as an extra option to be turned on and fixes the problem with single quotes in titles.

  18. 2010 in review « Axel’s Travelog Says:

    […] Posts So you wanna print out your blog ?Planing by the hour in MS ProjectPerl Coding Error: do not overwrite your hash !Perl Error […]

  19. Bruce McGechan Says:

    Great tool Axel, I’ve been looking for something like this all morning.

  20. Cornelius Collins Says:

    This looks like just what I need, but can you tell me what to do in order to print, following the “process”? With or without “Full Contents?” selected, I get to the screenshot shown here, with the relevant posts displayed as a table of contents. How do I go from there to see and print the content of the posts? When I click on the links, I’m just taken to their location on my blog, and File->Print prints only the table of contents. Thanks!

  21. amagard Says:

    Hi Cornelius,
    after checking on “Full Content ?” and clicking “Process” again the full content of your postings should be displayed.

  22. Wenda Says:

    Dear Axle, thank you for your free tool! Better then anything I’ve found, my blog was soooo old, it kind of got messed up… but it’s certainly better than nothing and it was FREE! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  23. amagard Says:

    Wenda, you are welcome. Sometimes it help to try different values for Width to get a better formatting of the printout, especially when you have used for instance tables or images aligned to the right or left and have text flowing around.

  24. mzvetina Says:

    Absolutely brilliant. It’s the work and generosity of people like you which makes the Internet an unbeatable resource. This tool is just what I needed for printing out my students’ blog entries/comments for end-of-semester evaluation. Thanks so much!

  25. Andrew Vartabedian Says:

    Just used it – great and very helpful. Thanks!

  26. paz Says:

    Kudos for creating but like a lot of the others out there didnt work on blogger for me?

  27. abra cadabra Says:

    Lovely easy to use tool… but my pdf file only shows 1 page. How do I get a pdf of the whole blog?
    I’m usinf an iMac

  28. abra cadabra Says:

    It worked like a dream when I changed to Safari. My Blogger blog back up in full colour including pics!
    Thank you so much

  29. amagard Says:

    Hey, abra, sounds like finally it worked okay for you !? Good to hear ! Usually if you do not apply any filtering all blog posts should be displayed and thus when you print to a pdf file everything should go in there.

  30. abra cadabra Says:

    Yes, everything is perfect… all 855 pages
    and in case it applies to anyone else, I am using an Mac OS 10.6.8 and Safari. Firefox did not work for me

    Thanks again, I am keeping you in my ‘favourites’ bookMARK 🙂

  31. amagard Says:

    Uh, 855 pages 😮 !
    Not bad !
    That was a real stress test for my tool. And for Firefox on Mac OS, apparently.

  32. mzvetina Says:

    Hi, Axel – is your lovely tool still working? I keep getting a message that says “This does not look like a valid blog export file.” – but it was still working perfectly in January, the last time I needed it. The hostcell.net location seems to be defunct, so I was using the frihost version – but I can’t get it to work :-(( Can you help, or have you given up on this great service, which I had come to rely on at the end of every semester?

    • amagard Says:

      Hi mzvetina, saw the same problem today with my latest WordPress export. Apparently WordPress has made a slight change in its XML export format which broke my tool. Should be fixed by now !

      • amagard Says:

        Looks like none of my script works on x10Hosting at the moment. Seems to be a more general issue. You better use the tool on Frihost ! Hostcell I gave up on a long while ago already.

  33. mzvetina Says:

    Thank you SO much – it works again – you are a magician 😉

  34. download kik messenger 6.4.0.38 Says:

    I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to our blogroll.

  35. Online Printing Says:

    My Dear AXEL,
    Your article is awesome and informative in which you have explained how can we printout blog, pdf files and blog’s table of contents. I really enjoyed reading your informative and short description about the functionality of your tool. But at the same time I am agree with cellsignalling you should develop it further to make your tool more efficient.

  36. wmgatacad Says:

    Great tool. Noticed the paragraph breaks didn’t come cleanly through from a WordPress.com blog, using MACOSX 10.8.3 and chrome, but otherwise a handy little utility. Thanx!

  37. amagard Says:

    I have created a new version ( 1.24 ) which tags postings by year which is handy for large blogs to just create printouts for particular years. There is also a new option to add page breaks to titles so that new postings start on a new page when printed.

  38. Johnf415 Says:

    I appreciate you sharing this article.Thanks Again. Really Cool. eeccgaedeade

  39. mzvetina Says:

    Hi, Axel – it looks like there is a server problem at frihost? Or have you given up on this? If so, it’s been GREAT while it lasted 😉

  40. amagard Says:

    Hi mzvetina, Frihost worked for me this morning. Nevertheless I am hosting my tool on two backup server on X10Hosting and Heliohost; you’ll find the links to these instances up there in my blog posting.

  41. kel Says:

    thank you for this tool! it saved my day (and about 100 USD!)

  42. amagard Says:

    100 USD ? Cool. How come ?


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