Save as WWF

The WWF format is a PDF that cannot be printed. It’s a simple way to avoid unnecessary printing. So here’s your chance to save trees and help the environment. Decide for yourself which documents don’t need printing out – then simply save them as WWF.

Sounds pretty awesome: Just save it as WWF. What a smart move, WWF!

(thanks Jens!)

35 Comments leave a comment below

  1. What a waste of electricity!
    Paper is a renewable resource that removes Co2 from the atmosphere, unlike say, coal…

  2. Only available for one O’S. Vast majority of printing occurs in corporate environments that use Windows, Linux, terminal servers, etc. Seems like they should port the driver to other platforms if they want it to catch on.

  3. sorry, but a little late on this one

  4. This is ingenious!! I really hope it catches on!

  5. I saw this campaign awhile ago, and I would like it a lot more if they didn’t require external plugins. I hate the idea of having a client take an extra step for to view what i’m sending them.

    Forcing environmentalism also kinda bugs me. I’d rather just give PDFs and a good explanation to the client as to why they shouldn’t print them, as opposed to just removing the option to print completely. If I’m able to get the client to choose not to print, then I know that the “no printing” thing won’t start and end with me sending files that can’t be printed.

  6. @Don: Nowhere on my site do I state that I am “the first one” to post about a topic/product/service. This false expectation in a platform like mine is driving me coo-coo. Does it matter if something has been around for a while but I personally hadn’t noticed yet? This is my personal archive, my personal Wikipedia if you will, and I truly don’t care if something is ‘not new’. Sorry to vent. But comments like yours make me slightly grumpy.

  7. Very nice idea. Great for environment… Paper and ink are not good for the environment and it is not only about trees but about all the chemical product used, transportation, etc.

    You will save much electricity too. Printers are always on, have heating components that use a lot of electrity.

    Creating a WWF doesn’t require more electicity then creating a pdf.

    Great communication tool to. You don’t have to explain it to you customers, they will adopt to the concept.

    And to all the negativists. “What have you done to make this world a better place?”

  8. Tina, you hit the nail on the head. No one is late to the party on the web because it’s impossible to instantaneously know EVERY trick, product or meme.

  9. This is a great idea. I hadn’t seen this before. Thanks for sharing.

    @RJGNYC, I hate plugins as well, but sometimes they’re a necessary evil. Clearly this will work better in your own office so you and your coworkers don’t print additional documents. It would’ve been nice to piggy back on the Adobe Reader technology a little more. Or work with Adobe, and other large companies to just add this file type to the PDF spec. Working in a corporate office I think there is definitely a need to force people to not print. There’s so much paper waste it’s ridiculous. And we’re in the business of getting doctors to switch to digital offices. A tad ironic no?

    I second Dimitri — And to all the negativists. “What have you done to make this world a better place?”

    @Nathan, you might want to go do a tour of a paper mill. Even one that produces all the forest friendly, recycled paper. Also, the ink that ends up going on that paper is super terrible for the environment. You might also want to look up the word renewable in the dictionary. And maybe touch up on your electronics.

    @DonDraper, a little late? Big deal. I hadn’t seen it yet. It’s only a touch over 2 months old. And besides, it’s better to be late than not show up right?

  10. I think it’s a great idea. Those in agreement might also like to adopt the eco font for long documents.

    “…it generally enables you to save up to 25% of ink or toner. Both your wallet and the environment will be grateful to you, because ink and toner are a particularly heavy burden on both.”

    Disclaimer: This is super old news! =)

  11. @Dimitri et al: If I’m a customer of a company from whom I’m receiving this information, and they restrict that option for me, I may question the controlling nature of their decision to do so. It’s my decision as to whether or not I print something. I’m the regulator of my personal carbon footprint, and I do try to print as little as possible. In this instance I think that I’m pro-choice.
    @Swiss: … totally. Vent away. It’s your home. We’re just visiting.

  12. I think it’s depowering and patronizing to decide for others what can be printed and what cannot.

  13. @Garry I agree, I’m the regulator of my personal carbon footprint, but at the same time I’m the regulator of the carbon footprint of *my company* in that instance it would be a company decision to say here’s the printing rules. But once a document goes to a client that falls under that company’s environmental policy.

    @Cassie ecofont is a great idea as well. The typographer in me says the overall shape of ecofont is a touch ugly, but that idea could be applied to other typefaces. I also use ultra light and thin faces for headlines generally which would help reduce using excessive ink.

  14. Surely there’s a place for this. Let’s think bigger!

    I imagine it would be handy for things like free e-books or instructional guides that are not intended to be turned into paper versions (ie low res docs), or even sensitive material that you share with contractors. I also like what Derek said about colleagues sharing printed documents and not printing extra copies. I don’t know why it has to be used on client docs at all. What else could we use it for?

    Derek, I haven’t done this but I know you can buy the ecofont version and apply the holes to different typefaces. The typographer in me doesn’t know how I feel about shooting holes in my letters either but the environmentalist in me is quite happy.

  15. I read the other day that cell phone networks use the energy equivalent to 15 million automobiles per annum. Keep in mind that the cell network is only a small part of the overall Internet. Is the environment really being helped by sending the file digitally, given the massive resources required to send it?

  16. @swissmiss Didn’t mean to put you in a bad mood. I am sorry :)

  17. Some background:

    (Disclaimer: This is an idea which originated in an advertising agency from Germany and was later brought forward to the WWF. I work for that agency, but had nothing to do with the project.)

    @Mike: .wwf is in fact available for Windows, but it’s only prominently presented for OSX on the website. Of course a roll-out covering all OS’s would be great, but that’s unfortunately not how advertising agencies work. While the idea is in it’s core great for the planet, the motifs are mostly utilitarian. “Clever” ideas like this score high at award shows and push the agency up in the creative rankings. Therefore it’s important for the agency to pump out projects like this onto the market, just developed enough to be regarded as a “real” product which can be entered into award shows. But upon detailed inspection these ideas are often still lacking in execution. In this case it was important to launch as quickly as possible and just having an Mac version (which was easiest to produce) was good enough. Oftentimes that’s where development stops and when the awards are won the projects will no longer be cared for. In the case of .wwf the agency HAD to provide a Windows-Version just because people demanded it and the WWF probably said so. That’s why the layout for the website hasn’t changed to accompany prominent buttons for both Mac and Windows Versions, but just received a measly text-link update.

    This of course is a pretty f***** up way of seeing things and I totally disagree with it. I have always tried to put real meaning into the advertising I co-create, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. The big and established advertising agencies have an insanely hard time to part with their (long gone) successes of showing the message on to the consumer. They just don’t get that the internet is a completely new way for people to communicate and that consumers want to be talked to like intelligent people with a will of their own.

    But all is not bleak. There is a new generation of insanely talented and motivated people who see the need to change this old thinking really quickly, or risk a great fall.

    Anyways, that’s the reason why the project feels as if it’s not completely thought through and will probably not grow any bigger. At least not as long as someone else than the agency is in charge.

    (Sorry for the rant.)

  18. @ Derek: I see your point. But I am looking at this from a perspective of a sole proprietor. And the more I personalize this, I question on which docs that I’d feel were worthy of placing this restriction? The Brief? design mockups? My client may desire to print and write, make changes, etc. And, come to think of it, if I really wanted to print something out I’d just make a screen shot of it. But I think I’m digressing on that one.

    @ Cassie: Good point. I do think that there are docs (ie, instructional guides, legal/term & conditions …) but the nature of MY establishing that decision for someone else still kind of wreaks control. But then in the name of green, I look pretty good. Hmm, the degree to which my client is eco friendly and/or the degree to which they know me to be so defines the degree of acceptance of this use; as evidenced by the comments here, it seems.

  19. This is a cool idea. As far as I know, though, PDF’s alone can be set to prevent printing (in the security settings). Of course this would require creating the document in Adobe Pro or something similar, so perhaps WWF is an alternative for some.

    For those of you with the OS issues, perhaps explore Adobe Pro’s settings if it’s available to you :-)

  20. I’m not any kind of expert but am I incorrect in thinking that trees are not being cut down for the purposes of paper production?
    I was under the impression that wood chips that are put into the paper production process are all excess from logging done for something like construction or what have you.
    Not that I think this is a bad idea.

  21. Steve is right. The WWF is insofar snatching the laurels of some long existing (but obviously little known) functionality.

    Personally I think that this is more a question of the right mindset in (large) corporations than a question of taking choice from employees. I am lucky enough to be eco-conscious and working in a very small company which is basically paper-free, but if anything, the .wwf format can help change one or two people’s minds.

  22. I’ve printed this page out so i remember to do this

  23. I love this I just opted out of getting the yellow pages, stop the madness!
    Printing equals clutter…

  24. What a fantastic waste of donation money and how supremely hackable! How many apes were sacrificed for the funds this took up? Who cares? Well not the WWF that’s FFS.

  25. Printing a document actually helps create more trees. It allows forest land to be valuable enough for the owners to keep the land as forest, which is a renewable resource. If we all stopped using paper, the majority of forest land, which is privately owned, would be more valuable as a strip mall or some other use.

    It’s a strange logic but it kind of makes sense. Check out

  26. Just for the record:

    * This is not a plugin. It simply uses the fact that _everything_ on OS X is printed as PDF internally and that _every_ user can adjust the settings and add workflow actions. You can also create a workflow action to “print” each page of a document as a jpg image. This is a function of your OS.

    * I personally don’t see a reason why I should print to an unprintable PDF document instead of a normal PDF document that I will not print on paper. But I realise that many people need a reminder for that. ;-)

    If you use OS X then just don’t print everything but instead use the “Save as PDF…” option in the print dialog.

    If you are on Windows then use one of the numerous free “print to PDF” options like “edocprintpro”.

  27. Great application, thank you for the link! I enjoy checking out your posts first thing in the morning.

  28. It is a great idea from a WWF marketing point of view, but I don’t buy this whole environmental stuff. Really.

  29. Congratulations for the post. The WWF is with a cool video.

  30. Want to talk about reducing your carbon footprint? Saving the environment? My wife and I are each ‘only-children’ and have no children of our own. We’ll finish our journey and return the earth to nature.

  31. What I don’t understand is why professional wrestlers need PDFs.

  32. great idea!

    printing this page out and putting on my bulletin board!

    and extra copies for friends!

  33. @Gary
    It is the age old question that seems to pop up everytime anything is “enforced”. Where do you find a balance between safety and freedom?

  34. Well, to give the IT side of the matter: it is trivially breakable, you can even do that online. Furthermore, since it is only a renamed PDF with a WWF advertisement banner and ordinary PDF security settings, you don’t need a .wwf driver to make it. You can do that with Acrobat, PDFtk,, etc. Even with a vanilla Mac. On EVERY SINGLE platform available.

    Furthermore, they violate other peoples IP by ripping their software (yes, OpenSource is NOT a “take all you want” buffet) and the execution of it all is so horrible that some peoples machine was rendered unusable.

    Finally, it frustrates users and doesn’t save a single tree. Ever heard of “paper farms”? Nice touch to show all that tropical forest that isn’t even fit to make paper.

    Nice going!