My tutor asked for a pdf of my blog to help her work with review off-line (a fair request) and suggested BlogBooker or something similar. I tried BlogBooker, which did a job but took away all control of output and the output it produced wasn’t well formatted. This encouraged me to look further and I also learned some valuable lessons in the process of converting my blog to pdf.
One of the most useful online posts I found on the subject was – http://www.designwall.com/blog/create-pdf-epub-ebooks-wordpress-posts-pages/ (accessed 13.3.15) – useful because it wasn’t just a thinly veiled way of selling a particular product. I dismissed the commercial services for my current purposes and settled on trying two WordPress add-ins: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-post-to-pdf-enhanced/ and https://wordpress.org/plugins/kalins-pdf-creation-station/ that both seemed to offer a degree of control over the pdf output.
‘WP Post to Pdf’ I soon found was not suitable for creating a single pdf from multiple blog posts. It is more aimed at encouraging registrations to blogs with the carrot of allowing pdf creation and download. However, ‘Kalin’s pdf creation station’ turned out to work extremely well for me – with a bit of familiarisation, I was able to customise the front page and the page headers (including blog hyper-links) to generate a result that is of a good standard. Not excellent, because it sometimes doesn’t correctly render the WP formatting, but this is a minor irritation for my purposes, rather than a show-stopper. I will be making a donation to Kalin!
Now for the unexpected lessons from the conversion process:
- Most of us find it difficult to edit accurately on web-pages (we are so conditioned to skim-reading them) – by reading the pdf, it was much easier to spot typos and formatting errors in the blog.
- Image sizes – my blog theme offers different sizing for uploaded images. On viewing the pdf, I realised that different choices were needed depending of the type of image. Single images were best suited to ‘medium’, while contact sheets need to be ‘large’ to be big enough to view in a pdf.
- Categorisation – I hadn’t considered deeply the purpose of categories in the blog, other to have postings appear under relevant menu headings. So, I might post some entries to more than one category. However, I realised that approach this would prevent efficient filtering of content for creation of future pdfs (for example all course work). I also reflected that there is no need to post to more than one category – it is the job of search functions to find stuff. So, I’ve re-categorised my entries so each falls only under one top-level category. I have a feeling this could make life much simpler in the future.