Home / iOS / How to take iOS 13's new PDF screenshots, including text! – Cult of Mac

How to take iOS 13's new PDF screenshots, including text! – Cult of Mac

The screenshot tool gets a radical makeover in iOS 13, and I’m not even talking about the fancy new toolbar for Apple Pencil markup. You can take advantage of two cool new features when you snap a screenshot in the upcoming version of iOS.

One, you can capture the entirety of a web page — not just what you can see on the screen right now, but all of it, from top to bottom, as if you’d stitched together lots of screenshots. Two, you can save these all-page screenshots as PDFs with active, selectable text and links.

Here’s how to make the most out of PDF screenshots in iOS 13.

iOS 13 Full-Page screenshots

The new Full-Page screenshot. Note the long, tall thumbnail on the right.
The new Full-Page screenshot. Note the long, tall thumbnail on the right.
Photo: Cult of Mac

To take a Full-Page screenshot of a web page, just take a screenshot as usual (⌘4 on the keyboard, or by pressing the correct screenshot button combo for your device). Then, in the new set of controls at the top of the screen, tap the switch to change to Full-Page (the default is Screen).

The view will change to show the full webpage, from top-to-bottom. If there’s anything you don’t like at the top, bottom or sides, you can remove it with the crop tool. (This won’t affect the PDF-rendering ability.)

Make PDF screenshots on iPhone or iPad

Here's a Reader View screenshot, saved as a PDF.
Here’s a Reader View screenshot, saved as a PDF.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Now, the next part is the important part. If you choose to save the screenshot as usual, it will be saved in your Photos library as an image. But if you tap the share arrow, and save the screenshot to the Files app, it will be saved as a PDF.

Not only this, but that PDF will have selectable, searchable text; active, clickable links, and everything else you’d expect. You don’t have to save it to Files, either. You can use the share arrow to open the PDF with your PDF viewer of choice.

Reader View PDF screenshots

Making a Reader View PDF screenshot.
Making a Reader View PDF.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Finally, if you enter the Safari Reader View before you capture the screenshot, you will get a beautiful, clean version of the site, with all the ads, comments and other crap removed. Even if you don’t run your browser with a content blocker, this is a great way to make sure your archived sites aren’t full of noise.

The old way to make PDFs, improved

The new print view is already quite clean. It's great for making PDF screenshots in iOS 13.
The new print view is already quite clean.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you prefer paginated PDFs, you can save the web page to PDF the old-fashioned way. Just hit the share arrow, and find the Print command. Tap that, and then you’ll see the print preview. Pinch out on this preview to turn it into a PDF, and share it any way you like. iOS 13 makes a pretty good attempt of creating a kind of pseudo print view, which cleans away ads and sidebars, but doesn’t offer such a radical clean-up as the Reader View.

Speaking of which, here’s a pro tip — enable Reader View before “printing” to get a really clean, paginated version of the page.

Which one, when?

If I’m saving a long article as a PDF, I like to do it the old way, using a paginated, “printed” PDF. But if I’m saving a forum thread, then the new way is better, for me at least. I like this method because it keeps everything more like the original forum format.

Even the Share Arrow now has an option to save as a PDF.
Even the Share Arrow now has an option to save as a PDF.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

This is a fantastic addition to the iOS screenshot tool. First, it makes creating PDFs more accessible. Second, more options for this kind of tool are always welcome.


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