How To Save Websites With Scrapbook, A Firefox Extension

by JL Beeken on 11-25-2007

FirefoxEver wish you could save websites? I mean, conveniently.

Firefox has an add-on called Scrapbook that will help you do exactly that. If you’re not using Scrapbook you’re missing out. It will allow you to save entire websites, single pages or parts of pages. Before or after saving, you can highlight sections and add your own notes. You can combine pages in any order you like and you can back up your work. If you don’t have Firefox, you will have to install it first.

Downloading and installing Firefox will take 5 minutes. Then you search the Add-ons catalog for Scrapbook, click the install button and you’re ready to go. The Add-ons catalog is conveniently accessed from the menu bar, although the installation of Firefox will probably take you there directly.

Firefox Add-ons

What you get when you install Scrapbook is a little icon that opens and closes a sidebar that looks like your bookmarks or ‘favorites’ list except it’s your list of scrapbooks.

Scrapbook

Capturing Single Pages

If you’re on a web page you want to keep, just drag the icon next to the URL over to the sidebar and drop it in. The page is now saved. Or use Ctrl+Shift+L. Or use the menu under Scrapbook that says Capture Page. You can do the same thing with images. Just drag them off the web page into the sidebar.

Or you can select part of a page, right-click and choose Capture Selection. Create your own folder tree the same as you would do with your bookmarks. The difference in Scrapbook is that you have the whole page, or parts of a page, instead of a link to the page.

Scrapbook

The pages are saved by default to your Firefox profile which can be found under Application Data/Mozilla/Profiles

Saving Websites

Saving an entire website can also be done. First click on Capture Page As…

Scrapbook

Scrapbook asks you to specify the depth you want to ‘capture.’

Scrapbook Capture Detail

What this means is how many pages you want the links to follow. If you consider the page you’re on as “0” and you choose “1” above, it will follow every link on that page to a depth of 1. If you choose “2” it will follow all the links to a depth of 2. You can set any number you want, but if you go past 3 it can take in excess of 20 minutes to get all the pages.

Once you’ve started the ‘capture’ you can click Pause and use the Filter options. Depending how the website is constructed you may be able to limit it to its own domain so it does not pick up links to every ad and other thing that doesn’t belong to the website you’re interested in. That will cut the time down considerably.

Scrapbook

Websites are optimally built on a 3-tier system because Google won’t index them any deeper, but how it’s done in real-life is something else.

Genealogy charts are built on many levels and would be difficult to save because of that. Trying to save an entire family tree in WorldConnect, for instance, would work but it would take forever as it will follow every link on every page to the depth you’ve specified. You cannot limit it to its own domain because its domain is Rootsweb and individual chart pages are specified by number. Unless you want the entire Rootsweb website, you’re better to stick with the option there for downloading gedcoms.

Family Tree Maker.com charts do well if you save one page at a time and then combine them. They have a lateral navigation that makes it easy to save one page, click to the next and save again and so on. Using Ctr+Shift+L to save single pages you can get through a chart pretty fast.


You’d have to experiment with saving entire websites. Since you have to choose the link depth that you want, without knowing how the website is constructed, it’s a guess.

Combining  Saved Pages

Combining pages is really simple. In the sidebar is a ream of other tools including the Combine Wizard.

Scrapbook Combine Wizard

In this example I’ve already saved 5 pages from a Family Tree Maker chart. All I have to do is select the pages and drag and drop them into the box on the right. Click Next and then click Combine. It’s done and the combined page will be with the others in the sidebar.

Scrapbook Combine Wizard

Writing on Web Pages

Once you have pages saved, you can write on them with a highlighter tool and text boxes. Look for these options in the bottom right corner of your screen.

Scrapbook

Scrapbook

You can use the eraser to erase parts of a page. In fact you can erase the entire thing. None of your changes are saved until you click the Save button.

You can also write on pages prior to capturing them by clicking that option on the Scrapbook icon in the lower right corner of your browser window. It’s already on by default.

Forevermore, this is your scrapbook and the pages can be retrieved anytime exactly the way you left them.

Exporting Saved Pages

You can also export any or all pages of your Scrapbook to elsewhere on your hard-drive for safe-keeping. And import them back into Firefox if you ever re-install your operating system or otherwise need to. Click the Import/Export button under Scrapbook Tools and then just drag your files to the right side of the box. They are immediately backed up to the folder of your choice.

Scrapbook, Manage Options

Because this is HTML, not your usual text or Word document, even a single web page will save in a folder containing at least 2 or 3 files or many more. This is just the nature of web page construction. You can rename the titles of the folders, but leave the contents the way they are. (If you do rename the folders, however, they will not import back into Scrapbook should you ever want to.)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jasia 11-25-2007 at 10:29 AM

What a great idea! I can hardly wait to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

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JL 11-25-2007 at 12:31 PM

I forgot to mention: It also has a built-in Search function. If your Scrapbook gets a little out of hand (and why not) just type what you’re looking for in the Search box at the top of the sidebar and voilà, your list is delivered.

saving-websites-14

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sharon 1-07-2014 at 4:44 PM

can I recover my scrapbook after a firefox reset?

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JL Beeken 1-07-2014 at 5:06 PM

I have no idea. I back up my entire Firefox profile to external hard-drives. The profile includes all data generated by add-ons.

If you’re looking for your profile it would be something like this in Windows 7:

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxxxx.default\

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Theresa A. Stevens 9-18-2014 at 4:58 PM

9.18.14
My family and I have over ten years of material on the classic Family.com site.(1.0) They are retiring the site since it is an older version and not providing our News, File Cabinet nor History Sections to us. It is up to us to copy each and every entry. Also they sent a plethora of photos at first not even labeled with names and also omitting the very important communications back and forth from some of our family to others regarding the photo in question. I don’t have PDF or I am told I can go to print and somehow change the html to pdf and thus save them. So when I ran into this scrapbook today it says we can save websites. Is this true? If so I have only until the 29th of September to copy everything from our site to my computer. Thank you

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JL Beeken 9-21-2014 at 2:53 PM

Sorry for the delay in answering you, especially since your query is time-sensitive. Your comment went to the Spam folder and I didn’t see it.

Scrapbook will work. (That post up above these comments, Yes! It’s true.) You may have to save one page at a time. It depends how the site is constructed as I said in the post.

I don’t know what you mean by ‘I don’t have PDF’. PDF is simply a printer option and there are all kinds of free PDF writers. Try looking at PDF Printing for a simple explanation.

I personally prefer printing as MHTML over PDF because it’s tidier and keeps the links intact, unless they’re internal links, in which case it can’t. Read about it here: Archive The Web With MHTML Files

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T.A. Stevens 9-21-2014 at 4:33 PM

Thanks for your response. First, when I say I don’t have PDF I mean the program Adobe Acrobat. I thought that was what was needed to bypass MyFamily.com (Ancestry?)

My family and I have a website that is being retired by Family.com since it is an older site. We have over ten years of dated material that they are not (except for cationless photos) exporting to us. We are unable to retrieve them in a permanent way.. We can’t save photos etc. the regular way because they have it html coded in such a way that when they retire the site all will go with it.

My brother said he clicks on, for example, a photo and then he gets an option to print to PDF and he is able to save the photo in that manner because he has PDF installed on his XP.
As you can tell I am a novice. But its not the printing I’m interested in just the pathway using a PDF function to save our website to our own personal computers. If that is possible. My niece tried saving our site materials on her computer at work and couldn’t do it because of the html coding.

So this is what drew me to “How to Save Websites With Scrapbook, A Firefox Extension”. If I have to save one page at a time that is ok but the final date is September 29 and there are 932 photos without captions of any sort or our conversations in addition to News, File Cabinet and History that need to be saved or ten +years gone.

I’ll try one of the free PDF writers then. Not sure what to do. Download?
Thank you. I am surprised to have someone respond. However, just noticed your comment that “it depends how the site is constructed.” I didn’t just read a post so will go to the link below to read.

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JL Beeken 9-21-2014 at 4:37 PM

First of all, please do not write to me at the website email address when you’re talking about a blog post. This is what blog comments are for. That way anything you or I have to say is here for the general public to read.

You write, I reply, you reply and so on.

You’ve got me a bit lost with some of your comments. However I’m not acquainted with the website you’re dealing with and I don’t know exactly how I would go at the problem because I can’t see it. It sounds like you have some relatives who are at least somewhat acquainted with computers to help you out.

You don’t need Adobe Acrobat for anything.

I don’t know how you came to this post and didn’t read it.

Why would you be surprised someone would answer you? Did you think you were talking into thin air?

Yes, download and install a PDF writer.

You can also install a plugin called UnMHT in Firefox and then use that to print pages.

All in all, it sounds like a horrible situation that you’re in. And how nasty of them to leave you there.

Do you not have copies of your photos already on your computer? Usually, when you upload anything to a website, you still have the original on your computer. It’s not like you’re moving a single copy.

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Theresa A. Stevens 9-21-2014 at 6:01 PM

Thank you. I’ll see what I can do with the PDF Printer.

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