Save Websites With Mozilla Archive Format

13 Nov/09

Internet users who want to save single webpages in their web browser can usually do so by going to the File menu of their browser and selecting Save As. This will save the html file along with all the objects of the website in an extra folder on the local computer system. Many users who save websites regularly to their computer do not like the default option to save websites as it quickly leads to a huge number of files and directories on the computer system which makes keeping an overview difficulty.

There are other options to save a website into only one file. One of these options is to convert the website into a pdf document, another the Mozilla Archive Format add-on for Firefox. The Mozilla Archive Format can be used to save websites either as MHTML (MHT) files supported by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or MAFF multi-page archives.

The functionality is automatically integrated into the Firefox web browser after installation of the add-on. The fastest way to save a website is to press the [Ctrl S] keyboard shortcut which will open the Save As dialog window. Among the available choices are both the MAFF and MHTML format.

save websites

The differences between the two formats are the following: MAFF uses zip compression to save one or multiple websites into an archive. This ensures better compatibility and accessibility even on computer systems that do not have access to the add-on as it is still possible to browse and extract the date with any compression software supporting zip files. The MHTML format on the other hand is not compressed, can only save one website per file and is only working with a limited number of web browsers. It is however better integrated into Internet Explorer and could be the choice of the user if Internet Explorer is the target web browser.

The add-on will save the following additional information with each save:

  • The original location the page was saved from. This normally matches what is displayed in the address bar of the browser.
  • The date and time of the save operation.
  • The title of the page, if present.
  • The character set in effect at the time the page was saved. If the character set was changed manually using the View » Character Encoding menu item of Firefox, the custom choice is remembered. This allows the document to be displayed correctly when it is reopened from the archive, even if it contains internationalized characters.

The add-on can also be used to convert previously saved websites (e.g. with Firefox’s default Save As function) so that they are better accessible from then on. Mozilla Archive Format is available for download at the Mozilla Firefox website for all Firefox 3.0 to 3.5.x browsers. It can be forced to be compatible with Firefox 3.6.

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