Microsoft is making saving websites as PDFs better in Edge
It is the predictability of the humble PDF file that has made the format so ubiquitous. The knowledge that a document will look the same on any deice is important and – in conjunction with security features – goes a long way to explaining why the format is so widely used.
While potentially expensive software is required for advanced PDF editing and creation, it has long been possible to transform pretty much any document into a PDF using a software printer. But things are about to get even easier in Microsoft Edge.
For far too long, the method of converting a webpage into a PDF file has, almost inexplicably, necessitated a trip to the Print dialog. This is completely out of sync with saving files in just about any other format, and it serves as a horrible friction point.
This is why in the latest Canary build of Edge, Microsoft has chosen to add a new ‘Save as PDF’ option to the context menu that appears when you right-click on a page. While it’s still possible to use the print-to-PDF technique, the new, clearly worded option is given greater prominence.
Save trumps print
While the new, more easily accessed, means of creating PDF files from webpages is visible for many people running the Canary build of Edge, it’s not clear if or when it will roll out to everyone. Even within the userbase of Edge 95 Canary, the context menu has not been updated with the new ‘Save as PDF’ option for everyone.
It would seem that Microsoft is currently conducting a limited test with a subset of Edge users. This means that while it is possible that the new way of accessing PDF saving will rollout to mor Canary users, then those using Beta builds before eventually making its way to the final release of Edge 95, this is certainly not guaranteed. It is possible that Microsoft will hold back the release for a later version depending on what user feedback is like; time will tell
Analysis: user-friendly all the way
Microsoft‘s userbase is so wide and varied that ease-of-use really needs to be central to so many of the company’s products. While the idea of “printing to PDF” is something that has become commonplace for the computer literate, ultimately it is not a process that makes a great deal of sense if you think about it logically.
In promoting the options to save a page as a PDF file to a main menu – and referring to it in a way that more people will understand – Microsoft has made the process far more intuitive. User-friendliness has long been the Microsoft ethos, and as people spend a great deal of time using web browser (ideally Edge, in Microsoft‘s view) making thing as approachable as possible is the name of the game.