PDF In-Depth

How To Create a PDF of an Entire Website

The process

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Start by entering the web address in the address box. (It is easiest to just copy and paste it from the address bar of your browser.) The next step is to decide how much of the website you want.

How much you gather is determined by setting the "levels". Take a look at the links on your selected page -- they should be visible in the web browser as underlined or highlighted words, or perhaps as images or icons. Level 1 means you will collect only the page you are on. Level 2 gathers all the pages that are linked directly from the page you are on. Level 3 includes all the pages from second level pages, and so on. There is a checkbox for "get entire site." That's pretty self explanatory, but beware that some sites are huge. You can find your machine tied up for several minutes and choking on a 2,000-page PDF. That may be exactly what you want. If it is, just be prepared for it to take a while.

A webpage may have many links to other pages that are not part of the same website. You may or may not be interested in gathering all of those pages. You can control off-site links using the "stay on same path" and/or "stay on same server" checkboxes.

Use the "Settings" button to set up even more goodness using the PDF Settings boxes. Acrobat can organize the site for navigation, and even check sites for changes.

Web Capture Settings

Websites are organized hierarchically, which makes it handy for Acrobat to create a Bookmark for every page. If you check the "Save refresh commands" box, you can check for updates and changes to a site, using the Web Capture tools under the Advanced menu.

In addition, the hyperlinks in your new PDF should work just as they do in your browser. If the link goes to a page you downloaded, it will link locally to the PDF page on your machine. If the link is to a webpage that you did not download (for example, it is on another site and you selected "stay on same path," the link is still active, and clicking on it will open it in your web browser.

Next time, I'll discuss how to use a combination of Acrobat's web features to provide a big boost to your legal research on sites like LexisNexis.

This piece originally appeared on PDFforLawyers.com, and has been reproduced with permission.

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