Acrobat: Capture web pages

November 28, 2008

Here’s how to capture web pages and save them as PDF documents to read offline or to distribute to others. As with all new techniques, experiment first.

Example use: A client’s software product had received a great review in a online magazine. They knew that the review would not be “up” forever, so I created a PDF of the web page that they could distribute to their potential customers. I kept the headers and footers so that the potential customers could see where the review had come from.


  • If you are capturing pages from a website or a directory that is not on your own computer, then you must be connected to the internet or your network.
  • You must have the full version of Adobe Acrobat—you cannot do this with the Reader.

This web page capture function has been available in Acrobat since v4.x; the instructions below are for version 6.x—steps in other versions should be similar.

  1. Open Acrobat, then select File > Create PDF > From Web Page from the menu to open the Create PDF from Web Page window.
  2. In the URL field, type the web address or click Browse to search for a local HTML file.
  3. Select your Settings options for downloading the web pages. Be careful—if you don’t know how the web site is structured, there could be hundreds, even thousands, of pages! By default, Get only [x] levels is set to 1. This means you only get pages at the same level as the one you specified in the URL. DO NOT select Get Entire Site unless you know the site intimately.
  4. Click the Settings button.
  5. On the General tab, select HTML, then click Settings.
  6. Use the options on the General and Fonts and encoding tabs to tell Acrobat how to display the web page content. Click OK when you’re finished.
  7. On the Page Layout tab, set the page size and margins.
  8. Go back to the General tab and select some or all check boxes in the PDF Settings section. Click OK to return to the Create PDF from Web Page window.
  9. Click Create. Acrobat finds the web page(s), downloads them, and creates the PDF document.
  10. Check the document. If you don’t like the fonts or page layout, then close the file without saving and repeat the steps above. Note: If you click on a hyperlink for a web page that wasn’t downloaded, Acrobat will automatically download that page and add it to the end of the document—that includes links to external sites.
  11. When you’re satisfied with the PDF you’ve created, save it.
  12. You can now use the normal functions of Acrobat to add your own pages, delete unwanted pages, create bookmarks, and so on.

[This article was first published in the March 2002 CyberText Newsletter; steps last checked January 2008]

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