I’ve gone through my previously-overloaded browser bookmarks and transferred 90% of them to Pinterest, deleting the now-pinned bookmarks to clean things up. Then I thought, what if Pinterest crashes or disappears someday?! I’d lose all that valuable web goodness!
This post will share my trials and errors in the search for Pinterest back-up, and how I am now downloading and saving my Pinterest boards. I’ve tried three different methods:
For the examples, I decided to use my largest Pinboard, Fabrics, which contained 217 pins at the time I drafted this blog post.
Here’s the rundown of what I’ve found…
(click here to skip past the boring fails and go straight to the best method, with awesome tutorial!)
CutePDF via Firefox “Print” option
I found this method of saving Pinterest boards as PDFs, and it did not go so well. I downloaded CutePDF to enable Firefox to save webpages as PDF files via the Print dialog box, and while I’m looking forward to using this plugin for other things (tutorials, informational websites), it did not work for Pinterest boards, really at all. It crashed Firefox twice while I was using it, and the PDFs are sub-par and basically useless. Also, there’s only text and images, and if you don’t “label” your pins with enough detail, it may be impossible to find the webpage for them from just the printout!
PDF Attempt 1: Normal Print Page Settings
Click the link; as you can see, it’s pretty horrible. 1/4 of the pins completely cut off, pins layered on top of each other and basically invisible, images chopped up, the search bar is in there on top of pins and images, and I got 2 pages with graphics and 13 blank pages. File size: 2.7 MB
PDF Attempt 2: Shrink-to-fit, 0-inch margins
Not much better. All the pins are there horizontally, but everything is tiny and the text-rendering is hard to read. Still pins layered, images chopped, and the search bar; 2 pages with graphics and 8 blank pages. File size: 1.63 MB
Conclusion: Overall clunky and fiddly, poor results, no direct access to content. Would not recommend.
ScreenGrab! Firefox Add-on/plugin
I love ScreenGrab! I use it quite often to make images to upload pins for pages that have multiple tutorials and would require multiple pins, or no images at all that would otherwise be unpinnable. I thought it would be a good alternative to the PDF-version of saving pinboards, since I wasn’t interested in printing them at all, just archiving. The result was a giant PNG image: 1,254 pixels wide and 14,333 pixels long, at a whopping 23.8 MB — the relative file size of an hour-long podcast!
Conclusion: Excellent graphics capture, but TOO BIG, and still no direct access to content. Overall inefficient.
Firefox Menu “Save Page As…” Option
This is the best. SO EASY to do; does not require any plugins or extra software, it’s built into your browser. It’s as simple as saving a document like you would using any other software on your computer.
If you use the Save-as-Web-Page option, it downloads the whole page, images included, visually proportional, along with active, clickable links to the content directly from the saved board page file on your computer! (feature not available with Pinterest’s recent “new look” website updates) Total hard-disk space required, with HTM file and images folder, is around 7.2 MB (for the 217 pins on this example board). Not too shabby, for all the benefits awarded.
Conclusion: AWESOME! I’m going to download my boards using this method every couple of months.
Here’s how you can, too!
NOTE: Most of these screencaps were taken of the “old” Pinterest website design, while the first-step screencap is of the “new look” that they are currently rolling out. This downloading method works equally well with either the old website layout or the “new look” version.
Log Out of your Pinterest account before downloading your boards — you’ll get less of the junk buttons in your saved files (Edit, Set Board Cover, those buttons). In the upper-right of the page, there should be your name and icon; hover over it and you will get a drop-down menu with a “Log Out” option.
Go to the the Pinterest board page that you would like to save.
The address should look something like:
Press CTRL+S buttons on your keyboard; or in Firefox, use the dropdown menu and select “Save Page As…” (other browsers should have a similar option).
In the “Save As” dialog box, select the folder where you would like to save your board files. Be sure that the “Save as type: Web Page, complete” option is selected (beneath the “File name” field). Note: I do not know for sure if this option is available in browsers other than Firefox.
Click “Save”, and your board is now downloaded!
When you view the folder where your board is stored, you will have a .htm file of your board name, and a folder containing all the images with the same name with “_files” after it.
Do not change the file or folder name! It can mess up the link between the two, and the images may not load. Whatever you name your .htm file in the “Save” dialog box is automatically what the folder will be named, also.
At the bottom of each pin there is a grey area with the content source URL link. If you would have used either of the other methods mentioned in this post, the domain URL shown in text would be all you could see (e.g. “etsy.com”) — BUT in this “interactive” version, if you hover over the link, you’ll see the FULL website address to the content of the pin, and you can click on it and go there directly from the saved file! UPDATE: Pinterest has changed this feature in the “new look” version of the website and it no longer offers the full URL from the Pinboard page view. *disappointed face* Although it does still display the domain URL of the pin.
I hope this article has been helpful to those of you looking to backup your Pinterest boards! Feel free to ask any questions, or let me know if I need to make any revisions!