A couple of people have e-mailed me to say they like my blog, but find reading anything on-screen very difficult and prefer to print things out and read them in hard-copy form. They say that most blogs run slightly off the side of the page when you try to print them. I suggested getting the printer to print the pages in landscape format, but apparently you can’t do this for all printers either. That also wastes paper. Anyone have any advice for making blog pages more ‘printer-friendly’?
Update: Surveyed a random sample of 20 blogs, and only 10 come out properly when printed out, without a lot of tweaking of printer settings. Interestingly, 18 out of 20 exceed the journalists’ recommended maximum column width of 4.5″, and many of them also exceed recommended maximum line spacing (5 lines per inch). Most use sans-serif fonts for the main text, also a journalistic no-no. Although it’s hard to tell without vetting macros, there seems to be an even split between 10-point and 12-point type, with blogrolls and comments generally even smaller (some 6-point). Since I know there are professional writers, editors and journalists among the offenders,maybe the rules have changed, but until we improve, it seems blogging will continue to be somewhat user-unfriendly to the visually impaired.
This entry was posted in Using Weblogs and Technology. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. your blog prints fine on my epson 880, HP 935, lexmark Z22 don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with your set up or format. A visually impared person may be using some form of software to enhance their viewing experience not sure, this software may be filtering the content bumping up font sizes etc. It may even interact with their printer.Your blog is dense single spaced sans serif 12pt. font for the most part. You can always change that if you want, I find the printed version “crowded” but it is all there.Looks like you use a three column format one to hold your links, one to contain your content and the third to hold the monthly bookmark calendar. This bookmark calendar takes up two inches of empty space on the right margin once it has been printed there is nothing but empty open space that your prose could fill. Likewise when the links finish on the left there is another two inches of blank paper on the left margin.This squashes your content into a four inch strip down the middle of the page. Your design, if you are happy with it then stay with it. The content prints just fine on the three printers in my home network, readability well that is a personal opinion, yes it could be more open and inviting in my opinion, but you can never please everybody.Here is a link that may or may not help you with some ideas a last resort ask the visually impared individual select the content they wish to print rather than print the whole page, the four inch content column now will expand to use most of the page.

  2. Charly Z says:

    One thing that makes the middle column (your posts) overextend itself are the raw URLs you have in your earlier entries, especially in the one for February 4 (READINGS OF A RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST). A way to fix that would be to edit them and hide the URLs by linking them to text (using the <a>…</a> tags).

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, Philip & Charly. My reader says: with 1″ left margin, 1.75″ for the left column and 0.75″ right margin, that leaves just 5″ exactly for the text before it spills over, and your text runs from 5.1″ on new posts to 6″ on older posts. Reduce the width of the text column by 0.5″. Journalists know that 4.5″ is maximum readable column width even with good line spacing. Increase your line spacing by 50% and use a serif font for better readability.The bizjournals article has some good points, though I noticed that he violates his own rule #7 in the paragraph that immediately follows it!I’m going to do a survey of fonts, column widths and type sizes as I browse through my blogroll this evening. If I find any interesting trends or stellar examples, I’ll report them in a follow-up post. Gee, one more thing for bloggers to worry about.

  4. Charly Z says:

    Sorry, I take back the thing about your raw URLs. What’s really overextending the column is the graphic on your IMPROVING CANADA’S PRODUCTIVITY entry. I guess that’ll just have to roll off the main page eventually.

  5. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks, Charly. I’ll move the entire essay including the graphic to a Story, and change the post to a graphic-free precis linking to it.

Comments are closed.