PDF In-Depth

How To Create a PDF of an Entire Website

About the Author

David Fishel

In 1991, David joined the United States Department of Justice as an Honors Attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. While at DOJ, he engaged in large-scale, scorched earth civil litigation across the spectrum of...  More



In a recent post I talked about how to use Internet Explorer and Acrobat to download pages one at a time. Acrobat can do much, much more. There are times when you may want to get more than just a page, and ever since Acrobat 4, there has been a simple way to gather up entire websites.

The "Create PDF from web page" button is just the surface. I'll try to give you a flavor of what is possible, and why you might want to try it.

Why would you want to PDF an entire website? (Yes, I used "to PDF" as a verb. That seems like it has become common usage.) You may be doing research on a company for a takeover bid. The work requires you to spend many hours studying the company, but you don't want their network logs showing your IP address snooping around at all hours of the day and night. Or perhaps you want to preserve a website as evidence of how things looked on a certain day and time. Or to archive your own firm's website as a backup or "wayback machine." Perhaps you've found a site with lots of amazing material that you would like to keep available for quick reference, but you're not always online, the site doesn't have search capability, and you want to have it available and make notes on it.

In Acrobat, there are a couple of ways to get to the command that allows you to capture all or part of a website. On the Tasks toolbar is a button entitled "Create PDF." By clicking on that button, you will see that one of your options is "From Web Page." You can also use the File menu under "Create PDF." There are other commands under the Advanced menu > Web Capture. You use the Web Capture commands to make changes to an existing PDF.

Create PDF from Web Page dialog box

This is one of those "iceberg" features in Acrobat. Like most of the dialogs in Acrobat, this deceptively simple interface puts a lot of power in your hands. Use it carefully...

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