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Controlling Firefox Headers and Footers

I'm reminded of the old advice that no good deed goes unpunished. I tried to do a favor for my wife today and ended up frustrating and annoying both of us.

Here's the short version: she and her brother sometimes have to write an important letter. Actually, he has to write the letter, but he's not very good at writing, so he sends over what he wants to say and my wife and I "pretty it up".

It's a team effort. My job is to take masses of disjointed paragraphs, arrange them in a more sensible order, straighten out the worst of the grammar and spelling, and then my wife formats it nicely, does final proofreading and spell-check, prints it out, and either faxes it to him or hands it off through the family delivery system where a nice letter eventually ends up on her brother's s desk ready to sign. A bit inefficient, but it gets the job done.

My brilliant idea was to use Google Docs to facilitate this process. By sharing documents between us, we could all quickly and easily make edits, revert to older revisions when necessary, and when done, he could just print it out in his own office. Good idea, wasn't it?

Yes, thank you, and that is why I get the big bucks.

However, things didn't work out all that well. In the first place, for this particular letter, everybody was in a rush. It had to be done quickly, and it had to be hand-shuttled to another sister who in turn would get it to the brother. All very urgent, all very tense.. so I did my part in Google Docs as I had planned, but my wife was having no part of it. She has this terrible habit of using Microsoft Word - a habit I have tried to dissuade her from, but my efforts have failed miserably. She did see the benefit of my Docs plan, but right now she was just too darn hurried to learn anything new - so we pasted it into Word..

When she was done, she printed out several copies, jumped in her car, and off she went. Naturally enough, I figured I ought to follow through, import the thing back into Google, and get it to her brother faster..

That's easy enough, and the only work I had to do was insert page break separators where she had them. I wanted to test the printing before I made it available to her brother, so I clicked on the Google Docs print button and printed it out. All was good, all lined up nicely, ready to go..

Well, except Firefox had added the traditional headers and footers with the web page url, title, date and time.. and I knew her brother wouldn't want all that, so I made sure to send him a note advising him to look at Removing the URL and other browser information when printing. Easy enough, and of course I should be able to do something similar. As that Google page says, my print dialog should include a "Firefox" choice which looks something like this::

Firefox Mac Print Dialog

Or that's what it should look like, but when I asked Google to print, I had no Firefox option. Not available. Not there. Gone.

After a bit of experimentation, I determined this: upon restarting Firefox, I would have the correct print dialog, and it would stay that way right up until I asked Google Docs to print. Something about them calling up the dialog takes away the Firefox option.. and once taken away, it works nowhere else until I once again restart Firefox. Bummer..

Well, simple fix.. I just called up "about:config" and changed these variables:

print.print_footercenter
print.print_footerleft
print.print_footerright
print.print_headercenter
print.print_headerleft
print.print_headerright

I set them all to blank, but they can take any string you like or these special values:


&T: Title of the document
&U: URL
&D: Date/time
&P: Page number
&PT: Page number "of" total pages

Now, even though I couldn't get the Firefox print dialog, at least I could get what I wanted - or rather, what I didn't want.



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Thu Dec 13 14:40:45 2007: 3326   BigDumbDinosaur


PDF is a lot less trouble, and your wife would have even used (cringe) MS Word to do it if she insisted.



Thu Dec 13 15:30:52 2007: 3327   TonyLawrence

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No, I have to disagree on that. For collaborative editing, PDF would be much more difficult, especially when involving people who don't necessarily have any tools to edit or even view PDF's - with Google, all they need is a browser.

Keep in mind that Google Docs thoughtfully keeps track of revisions also..

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