Should you have a separate Stylesheet for Print?


Chances are good that you work hard to provide visitors to your website with valuable information and resources. This is an important step in creating a strong online presence for your business. Over time, you will have established your website as the “go to” source of information in the industry you serve.

This is great. However, is any of the information you provide offered in a print-friendly format? Many people who are browsing the web desire the ability to print out useful content. One way to offer a print-friendly option for visitors to your site is to include a stylesheet for print.

You can really enhance the usability of your website by including a stylesheet for print. Visitors to your website who desire the ability to print content will be able to do so much easier with a print stylesheet. Plus, they won’t have to print entire web pages just to get a few paragraphs of text. A print stylesheet allows you to offer your website content to visitors in a print-friendly format.

If you’re not using stylesheets for print, you should be. They’re quick and easy to set up and will boost your site’s usability by leaps and bounds. Perhaps you’ve seen a print-friendly button on some websites. While this is a step in the right direction, a stylesheet for print eliminates the need for users to the button before printing and on the button and wait for the print-friendly window to load up. Why put visitors to your website through this hassle when stylesheets for print are so easy?

Print stylesheets function nearly the same as regular stylesheets. The only real difference is that they only get called up when a user prints a page. A small portion of code needs to be inserted into the top of every web page on your site in order to make a print stylesheet work. The code should look something like this: <link rel=”stylesheet” href=”print.css” type=”text/css” media=”print” />. You can work with your web designer to set up your print stylesheet. In the example, this stylesheet is print.css.

When setting up a separate stylesheet for print, you need to keep a few things in mind. First, you’ll want to remove unwanted items from the website version to make it printer-friendly. In general, all you will want to print is your company logo, contact information and the page content. The headers, side columns and footers are often unwanted by users for the print versions.

In addition to removing unwanted elements, you’ll want to format the page for print. Web  pages aren’t laid out for print. As such, you’ll want to reformat the content so it looks good on a printed page. You may also want to consider changing to a readable font for print and making any links visible in a black and white printed page.

Do you currently use a separate stylesheet for print?