Mac Lab Report

Tiger Tip: Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder

- 2006.04.24

My wife clued me in to this nice little feature in OS X 10.4. She does a lot of online shopping, and when you buy something online, you usually get a screen that says something like, "Print this right now if you want a receipt." You can't usually save these screens effectively because they don't retain the formatting and images, which sometimes contain important information like the vendor's address, don't always come along for the ride.

Sometimes the printer is out of paper or offline for some reason - and even if it did print, paper is easy to lose. My wife decided she wanted to keep a copy of the receipt on the computer. That's when she found this nice little feature hidden in the print dialog in OS X applications called "print to web receipts folder".

When you select print, there is a button in the lower left hand corner of the dialog that is labeled PDF. I expect many of us have probably used that function to make a read-only document to post on a web site somewhere.

Save PDF to Web Receipts FolderIn the PDF dialog, select "Save to Web Receipts Folder." The first time you do it, a new folder will be created in your Documents folder called "Web Receipts." Then a PDF of your receipt will be saved there - and be included in your backup regimen if you back up your Documents folder, as I do most days. You don't need to decide where to save it or what title to use, as it uses the title of the current window as the title of the document.

UPDATE: You don't need to decide what to name the file, so it's quite possible the file will be overwritten by another using the same name. There is no warning when this happens. A big thanks to Tom Raddemann for bringing this to our attention.

Choose it and move on with your life.

This sure beats my old method of digging through old email accounts (and old email programs, when the account didn't transfer properly to the new program) until I find the receipt/registration number/password to unlock my software upon reinstallation.

If you find this useful, drop me a note so I can forward it to the wife, who is becoming quite the Mac-head with her 17" PowerBook. LEM


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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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