Contain Screen Captures in URL2PDF

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to take a screen capture of a website. While saving them as a JPEG or in a Word document is easy, nothing classes up the presentation quite like transforming an image into a PDF.

URL2PDF is the app that does that tricky task for you. Just copy and paste links and convert them into PDF files that can be shared via email or opened in programs such as Dropbox, iBooks and Google Drive.

Can URL2PDF be your new method for immortalizing Web content? Find out after the jump.

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Getting Started

To get going, the first thing you’re going to need is a Web link. Surf the Internet on your device’s Safari browser. Once you find a page you’d like to convert into a PDF, copy the address from the toolbar and paste it in URL2PDF, specifically in the toolbar that opens up when you tap the Convert URL2PDF tab.

Copy and paste links into URL2PDF's toolbar to bring up the Web page.

Copy and paste links into URL2PDF’s toolbar to bring up the Web page.

Once you’ve done this, it’s important that you next tap Go on the keyboard, which will bring up the Web page. If you don’t do so, you’ll end up creating a blank PDF.

Once the page is visible, tap the icon of the overlapping pages next to the toolbar to begin generating the PDF. The finished document will appear in your PDF list to the left of your PDF or the pulled-up website.

Ready, Settings, Go!

To backtrack a bit, URL2PDF offers a few settings that will format the way it creates PDFs. These can be changed at the user’s discretion, but include:

  • Add cover to PDF in PDF generation
  • Show page numbers in PDF generation
  • Generate PDF in current orientation
  • Generate PDF in landscape orientation
  • Generate PDF in portrait orientation
  • Play sounds

The cover page can be a handy tool if you are looking for something to introduce or explain what exactly the PDF contains. The name on the cover page is simply that of the PDF file, which you can edit beforehand, but we’ll talk more about that in a bit.

A look at URL2PDF's settings options (left) and a list of PDFs you've created (right).

A look at URL2PDF’s settings options (left) and a list of PDFs you’ve created (right).

Now, if you want to number the pages of your PDF, the app can take care of you and quite easily. Checking the option to show these in your PDF will add a “Page #” to the bottom of each page within the document. URL2PDF will always include what looks like a border around the screen capture of a page, regardless of whether or not you have chosen to ditch or include page markers.

Borders surround pages. See the document on the left for an example of one with page numbers.

Borders surround pages. See the document on the left for an example of one with page numbers.

Generating a PDF in the current orientation seems to be easiest way to create a screen capture document of the website. If you select the options to always create PDFs in landscape or portrait orientation, the site your transforming may not end up in the best format for your document. Instead, using the current orientation option allows you to rotate your phone accordingly to create a sharable file.

Playing sounds, well, that’s a choice you can make if you really need blips and beeps during the process of creating your documents.

Getting More from URL2PDF

Select a PDF from the list to open it. Across the top of the open document will be icons that can extend the use and reach of your PDFs.

The first is a print icon, which will send your document to any connected printers. The mail icon will instantly open up a new message with the PDF attached. Compose your email and send the PDF to the recipient(s) of your choice.

Open and read your PDFs in other programs on your device (left) or send them via email (right).

Open and read your PDFs in other programs on your device (left) or send them via email (right).

The open-in icon lets you do just what it promises in applications such as Google Drive, iBooks and Dropbox. You will also be able to upload the PDFs directly to these programs.

A trash can will delete files, while the ABC icon allows you to change the name of your PDF to cater to your naming conventions.

Limitations

URL2PDF doesn’t appear able to let you select specific sections of a Web page. This means that when you create a PDF, you end up including all of the site’s advertisements in your file. This isn’t terrible, but it may hinder the prettiness of your documents. It could also mean that some of your files will be lopsided, with all of the text and images you’re looking at justified to either the right or left of the page.

URL2PDF can also create PDFs in landscape orientation.

URL2PDF can also create PDFs in landscape orientation.

With the always-present border, screen captures-turned-PDFs tend to look a little choppy. As text or pictures reach the border at the end of a PDF page, they continue again after the top border of the following page. Words can end up being cut in half and the same is true of images. But with the border along the top and bottom of the page, it’s a jarring feat to try and mentally connect the two pages and “complete” the words and pictures you’ve screen captured.

Worth the Investment?

If you’ve written an online article, want to keep records of a social media conversation or like the visuals on a site that you’ve visited, URL2PDF can be a perfect way to capture and keep the information. PDFs created by URL2PDF seemed to come out clear enough and could be viewed satisfactorily on iPhone, iPad, Mac and PC devices.

The only issues found are those mentioned in the Limitations subsection. It would be awesome if the PDFs could be shaped, shifted and customized a little better to create sexier documents. Additionally, it would be nice to be able to choose when to stop text and pictures so they’re not awkwardly cut off when pages divide. If you can get past the minor details in the PDFs’ appearance, you’ll still appreciate the ability to capture details from the screen and convert them to readable files.


Summary

Transform screen captures into PDF documents.

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