Backing up chats to a PDF file

Backing up chats to a PDF file

Takanu Kyriako

Before I show you how, its worth mentioning a few things...

  • If you're worried your chats will be deleted after a while, don't be - all chats, channels and groups you're in apart from Secret Chats are backed up on Telegram's servers in a secure and encrypted way. Although due to some technical limitations you might not be able to see the entire history of a chat on your device if you have more than one million messages across your chats, it is all still there.
  • If you're wondering why Telegram doesn't allow the automatic backup of chats to iCloud or Google Drive like WhatsApp, it's partly because it puts your chats in a place where they could more vulnerable and that you don't have any control over. Even if you don't decide to backup your chats for security purposes, if a person you're talking to in a group or privately does, then you essentially have no control over the messages you send there. This is partly why Telegram has their own secure cloud system.
  • You'll need a desktop computer or laptop with Google Chrome to do this - other browsers could work but the instructions here are with that in mind. You can download Google Chrome here.
  • You won't be able to archive secret chats with this method, they should stay secret anyway :)
  • This will archive the text of a chat, but not the media inside it. I'll show you at the bottom how you can quickly archive media using Telegram Desktop 👌

Okay, ready? GO!

1) Launch Google Chrome on a computer

2) Log into the Telegram Web app

3) Select the Cloud Chat you want to export to a PDF

4) Click inside the chat and select part of the chat text with your cursor so the browser knows what to do for the next step

5) Hold down the Home button on your keyboard to scroll all the way to the beginning of the chat (if you're using a Mac and don't have this key, press Command + Up instead). This can take a while if the history is very long, but it'll load the message history to make the next steps easier.

6) When you reach the beginning of the chat or the point you wish to archive the chat from, press End (Command + Down on a Mac) button to scroll back to bottom of the chat.

This part now starts getting a bit complicated to explain but KEEP GOING!

7) Using the mouse, drag and select the text from the bottom of the chat. Try to highlight a few of the messages from the bottom of the chat this way.

8) Now using keyboard, press Control + Shift + Home to change the text selection to include the entire rest of the chat history (this is why step 5 was performed). If you're using a Mac though, keep the cursor held down for selection and press Home or Command + Up until you reach the beginning of the chat you wish to archive.

9) Now that you have the chat history selected, right-click the chat text and select "Print" - don't worry, we won't be printing it.

10) Change Destination to "Save as PDF" if it doesn't already say so at the top.

11) Enable "Background Graphics" and "Selection Only" if you want it to look a bit nicer.

12) Click the Save button and you'll be given the option to save it to a location on your computer.


Downloading Media using Telegram Desktop

If you want a quicker and more manageable way to download media from a chat in order to completely archive it, use the desktop app, select the chat you wish to archive and click the title of the chat to view it's options.

Under Shared Media, select the kind of media you wish to download first and click the download button on each file you want to keep. Whether you're using Windows or macOS, nearly all file types you select for download will end up under Downloads/Telegram Desktop, with the exception of voice messages and compressed photos.

For voice messages, just right click one and select "Save As..", whereas for photos you'll need to preview them by clicking on one, then clicking on the download button that appears at the bottom-right corner of the screen.

I doubt you'll be wanting to do this for most chats you visit, but I hope this comes in handy for the one or two chats that are most important to you ✊