How to print from Google Wave

It’s kind of sad that this post even needs to be written.  How to print?  Seriously.  Yeah, go try it and then come back.

Not fun, is it?  There’s no printing options in Wave, the default printing from your browser results in a huge mess, and copy/paste to another application destroys your formatting.  While I’m sure printing (or export to PDF) is on the list of tasks for the Wave team, we’ve come up with a decent solution in the meantime:

Step 1 – Use Firefox.  Google Chrome works great for Wave, but Firefox is needed for this trick.
Step 2 – Install the “User Agent Switcher” extension for Firefox.
Step 3 – Once installed (and you restart Firefox), go to [Tools] –> [Default User Agent] and choose “iPhone 3.0”.
Step 4 – Fire up Google Wave.


You’ll find yourself in the iPhone formatted version of Wave, which we discussed earlier.  Click on a wave to pull it up, and it’ll all show up on one screen.  Printing from your browser should now work pretty well.

Leaving the Agent on iPhone 3.0 will make a lot of sites look odd, so be sure to switch it back to “Default User Agent” when you’re done.

I’ll admit, it’s not a perfect solution.  I expect Google will have a proper solution in place before too long.  In the meantime, it’s a very useful workaround.  I hope you find it helpful!


  1. I’ve been making a bot that exports a Wave’s root Blip to a PDF file.

    I’ll post the bot’s address when I’m finished.

  2. Brian — That’d be very useful! Please let us know when you have it done.

  3. Just so you know, you can also use Chrome by adding the following onto the target part of a shortcut:

    • This doesn’t work with Firefox and “User Agent Switcher” extension on OS X Snow Leopard. Google Wave complains that the user agent (iPhone 3.0) is not compatible.
      Choosing to ignore this warning results in a blank page!
      …don’t you know 🙂

  4. Doesn’t seem to work for me. When I switch the profile to iPhone 3.0 the google wave page says that my browser is not supported. Any ideas by any change?

  5. The fact that it says “browser not supported” isn’t a problem. You can click the “go ahead” link at the bottom and it’ll proceed.

    However, as gazbond mentioned, the resulting page is now blank. This technique used to work perfectly, so I’m not sure what has changed. If anyone has alternatives for how to print, please let us know.

  6. The Iphone user agent way does not work for me either. the wave I am interested in spans serveral pages and I am stuck with the first page with or without the the “User Agent Switcher” extension for Firefox.

  7. I guess the User Agent Switcher way used to work but not anymore…

    Anyway, I needed to print a wave, so I went for the following “dirty” solution (not recommended, but if you are desperate you have to do something):

    1. I captured the wave using PicPick: it’s a screenshot capture program that can capture an entire page, no matter how much scrolling the page has
    2. I imported the image in excel, and I set the print area in a way that the image’s width takes one page and the height as many pages as necessary (constrained proportions, of course)
    3. I printed the wave and the result was decent.

    (I use excel for this job because it is convenient when it comes to printing a large image in more than one pages)

    I know it’s a rather lame solution, but I couldn’t think of anything better… 🙂

  8. Printing is easy: Just maximize the wave by clicking the squre in the top right corner. Then you can print just what you have maximized.

    • That helps a bit, but still doesn’t fix it. In most (all?) browsers, it only prints the first page. For a wave of any decent length, most of it will get cut off.

  9. Another crude alternative.

    Select and Copy the Wave and paste into Word. You lose a bit of the formatting, but if all you need is the text, works like a charm.

  10. Roman Kuzmik says:

    1. chrome.exe -user-agent=”Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A341 Safari/528.16″
    2. fire up wave
    3. click ‘Go ahead’
    4. select wave
    5. print using browser’s print page functionality

    • @Roman Kuzmik I just tried it and it works great! Thanks for the tip!

    • Kevin Shea says:

      What is exactly Step 1? Use Chrome,but how am i changing settings here?

    • @Roman Kuzmik Thanks soooooooooooo much! You saved my day. Also, please note that if the command line provided by Roman is directly copied, users should take care to replace the quotation marks with the ones from the keyboard so that Chrome will run properly with the intended user string instead of firing up 20+ tabs with fragments of the user string.

  11. saloth sar says:

    Using Chrome on Mac OSX snow leapard (might be applicable to all) I just copied and pasted into a new google docs text document. worked like a charm.

  12. If you add to your wave as a participant, the bot will send you a pdf file of the wave.

  13. Pavlina Hublova says:

    Use and export your GW into Docs Google. Than print it easy.

  14. @Tobi, thanks for the max wave & print solution.

  15. Safari> enable the development tools (google it), then switch the user agent to ‘other’ and paste ‘Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A341 Safari/528.16’ into the textbox. Then go to wave, and print your waves as PDF. Works great!

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