Windows Live Essentials 2011. Windows Live Writer.
November 21, 2010 25 Comments
Of all the programs included in the Windows Live Essentials suite, Live Writer was probably the most obvious one to benefit from the use of the ribbon interface. Before this update, it was amazing just how many had been using Live Writer for their blogs and were not aware of many of the features contained within it. To give one example many users did not realise they could add a watermark to their photos from within Writer or alter their photos by applying different effects. These features were all tucked away out of sight under the ‘Advanced’ area in the sidebar originally, but now that they are offered to the user in easy to see icons across the ribbon when they click on a picture or photo, they are constantly visible and only one click away to access.
The Home Ribbon.
The Home ribbon contains all that you need in order to compose and edit a blog post and includes Paste, choosing a font including its size,colour, bold, underlining etc, choose bullets, numbering and quotes and alignments for your paragraphs, your headers and their size, all depending of course on your particular themes settings, and also to use the spelling, word count, find and select all when editing your post. Inserting a Hyperlink, Picture or Video is also available from the Home ribbon as well as under the separate Insert Ribbon.
Being able to dispense with the sidebar has meant that the entire width of the screen can now be employed for your blog theme and post in the editing window. Wisely, the categories box, tag box (in WordPress) and the set post date have now been moved above the edit window allowing them to be constantly in view and so not as easily forgotten about and at the bottom left are three tabs, Edit. Preview and Source.
The Insert Ribbon.
Accessing the Insert ribbon by clicking on the Insert tab allows the user to quickly have access to all of the following, Horizontal line,Clear break, Split post ( not also added for Blogger as well as WordPress) Table, Hyperlink, Picture, Photo Album, Video, Map, post tags, emoticon, or add a plug-in and plug in options. To add a single photo or picture, you simply click on that icon from the ribbon, choose from ‘your computer or the Web, then add your photo. Once its added to your post, you are then offered lot’s of choices in the Picture Ribbon which appears whenever you click on a photo or insert one into your post.
This Picture Tools ribbon contains all the features that you could possibly need to make your included photos and pictures look both attractive and to position them as you see fit inside your blog post. Crop, resize, rotate, tilt, different borders to apply, picture effects, contrast, place a watermark in your picture which in the new version already includes the copyright mark. Next you can add properties to your photo such as a link or apply alternative text. Alignment allows you to position the picture to the right or left of any text (word wrap) or centre the picture. Lastly Margins allows you to place an ‘invisible’ margin around the picture so that your text doesn’t butt right up to the edge and look unsightly.
Blog Account Ribbon.
This ribbon actually looks rather sparse at the moment, but its here where you can have full access to your blog account. This contains Blog Options, shortcuts to your blog such as View the site, Dashboard (in the case of WordPress) Manage Comments, then under Theme, Blog theme and Update Theme. The latter is very useful if you happen to have carried out a fairly small change to your blog such as changing the font for example or the background.
Tucked away under the very top left hand corner icon are the File options and choices. These are in a drop down list, accessed by clicking on the icon and include New post, Open local draft, Open recent post, Save (draft or post as draft online) Delete a local Draft, Publish, Print, Options and About Live Writer.
I would much prefer that most of these choices were instead added to the Ribbon interface, maybe the Blog Account one which at the moment looks very empty. New users to Live Writer are still going to find these choices hard to find, tucked away as they are under the very tiny file icon at the top left hand side.
All in all, Windows Live Writer has benefited greatly from the use of the ribbon interface, especially in the area of inserting pictures and photos to your blog post. Now all of those features that tended to be overlooked by many users previously are now easy to spot and accessible via ‘one click’ icons in the Picture Tools ribbon interface. I certainly wouldn’t dream of blogging without Live Writer, it makes all of those online editors seem very clumsy and basic. Best of all, once you have inputted your blogs credentials into Live Writer, you can see exactly how your post will look once published as it is able to sync with your blogs chosen theme on any of the major blogging sites.