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I wonder if you are experiencing this issue when printing web pages straight to pdf: The issue is the text in the pdf is unselectable.

Chrome Version 114.0.5735.198 (Official Build) (arm64) MacBook Pro,13-Inch, M1, 2020 macOS Ventura 13.4

Steps:

  1. load a webpage in Chrome
  2. open chrome print dialogue
  3. scroll down to open in Apple Preview app
  4. sometimes the text is undetectable

I have also tried disabling javascript to see if the page is protected. Adobe Illustrator says "missing font font000000002a51cele" The webpage text is selectable. Any positive suggestions to solve the issue are welcome.

Postedit 25 March 2024: re steve: Text is selectable on the web page. The effect is random. Possible culprit: Silent update of Adobe web plugin. Solution: Fireshot chrome.

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    Is the text that is unselectable in the PDF ALSO unselectable in the web page? Jul 2, 2023 at 16:44
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    Have you cross-checked with Chrome on Windows, or Safari on Mac? Does it happen on only one site, or all? If one, is there a public link you could share as an example?
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 2, 2023 at 18:41
  • I'm also having this issue just recently – it seems like each page is saved as an image within the PDF. This is one of very few search results I've been able to find on the issue (very generic keywords are hard to search for). Did you ever find a solution?
    – BigglesZX
    Aug 2, 2023 at 13:35

1 Answer 1

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I'm not sure if I'm experiencing the same issue as you describe, but just in case: today I was trying to use Chrome to save a PDF of a Markdown document formatted in the browser using the markdown-viewer extension (this extension simply outputs some styled HTML based on the input of a Markdown document).

I found that when I tried to save a PDF in Chrome, the document was generated but each page was saved as an embedded image – effectively a screenshot – rather than as selectable text. However when trying other web pages, e.g. Wikipedia, this didn't occur and the PDF was generated with real text.

It's quite hard to find search results for this issue as the terms involved are so generic, but a clue about fonts led me to the solution in my case.

The formatted Markdown document was rendered using CSS which included:

.markdown-body {
    font-family: -apple-system,BlinkMacSystemFont,"Segoe UI","Noto Sans",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif,"Apple Color Emoji","Segoe UI Emoji";
}

I found that if I used the Web Inspector to change the font-family property to the generic value sans-serif, then saved the PDF, the text was selectable.

I have no idea why that font stack would be problematic since it already includes sans-serif, but there you go. It seems Chrome or macOS has some clever code which tries to preserve the appearance of the document being printed by using image capture instead of text.

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