wwf-splash-iconThe World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)—best known as the organization that forced the World Wrestling Federation to change its name to World Wrestling Entertainment—has come up with a clever idea to end paper wasting through accidental or unnecessary printing: a PDF file format that can’t be printed out.

The WWF format is a PDF that cannot be printed out. 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.


A format that depicts exactly how a document will look when printed out, that you can’t print out? How extraordinary! Why, I’ve never heard of such a thing! Oh, no, wait. Yes I have.

As “DRM” goes, WWF doesn’t seem particularly effective. Breaking it could be as easy as installing Ghostscript and creating a 7-line batch file. (Would the DMCA come into play here, I wonder? Does preventing something from printing out even count as “DRM”?)

On the other hand, the idea does at least get people talking and thinking about how much we print out unnecessarily. So maybe that’s one point to them.

Still, it’s amusing to envision the WWF and the paper manufacturer behind use-more-paper site PaperBecause.com fighting it out in a WWE-style arena match.

(Found via Engadget, Lifehacker.)


  1. This idea seems silly to me, too: If you don’t want the doc to be printed, why make it an PDF? PDFs are specifically designed for printing… if you’re not going to print it, save it as HTML or a doc or something!

    I also note no specifications as to the accessibility of the WWF file… if it is not tagged content, it’s even more castrated.

  2. Ah yes, ecofacism strikes again. There are some people who can’t seem to be happy unless they are running other peoples lives. Nationalism, socialism, Marxism, eugenics, the population explosion, resource depletion, global cooling, and global warming (now morphed into climate change) are merely the excuse.

    Fortunately, unable to achieve its larger agendas, ecofacism has become caught up in trivia: taxing plastic bags, banning light bulbs, and now this, keeping us from printing to paper. I once attended an environmental meeting in one of Seattle’s most beautiful locales. Those attending paid no attention to the stunning 120-degree view of Puget Sound. They were too busy admiring the reusable shopping bags and CFLs they’d scored by attending. Sad.

    Things were much better in the nineteenth century. Then such people proclaimed the end of the world in a religious sense, started a cult, and went off by themselves, leaving the rest of us alone. Things began to go bad with Karl Marx. That’s when fanaticism became scientific rather than religious. The result has been a pain for everyone else.

    Thanks for links to ways to break these no-print PDFs. If I come across one, I’ll know what to do.

  3. Looks to me like it’s just a regular PDF that’s been ‘secured’ to prevent printing, all they did was change the file extension. This can already be done (and easily worked around) with regular PDF’s so this is just stupid. I suppose it give WWF some press, but that’s about it.

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