My take on Windows 8.

Seeing as others have stated their views about Windows 8 and why it isn’t selling, or why PC’s are on the decline, or why they think Windows 8 is the best thing since sliced bread, I thought it might be about time that this humble Granma gave her opinions on the subject. There will be many who won’t agree with me, probably the business users and those who work in Information Technology, whilst those who tend to use IT for pleasure or to simply socialise will probably know where I’m coming from.

I can remember a time when Information Technology as we call it today (or computers) first appeared. The only users in those days were businesses. colleges and training centres. They were all PC’s (usually Amstrad’s) and you had to be Einstein to get any sense out of them. I don’t remember them having an Operating System as we know it today, only programs such as Lotus 123 etc. The other type of computer, a Mackintosh, tended to be used by those who wanted to produce graphics etc. Ordinary people just didn’t have a computer, either because they couldn’t afford one or didn’t have any use for one. The desktop PC was a useful tool and as time has passed, is now virtually indispensable amongst our biggest corporations such as the NHS, the Police, etc. All are still running Windows XP, and most tend to  use a tailor made program that suits their particular needs and usage.

As time has passed, the rest of us have begun to use IT in a far different way to the way that corporate users make use of it. For the consumer user (for that is the description most used these days to describe the user who is not using IT for work purposes) IT allows us to socialise with one another, keep in touch, pass the time, entertain etc. One could argue that its exactly the opposite type of use to that of the corporate user, because we aren’t using it to ‘produce’ anything or in a serious manner, but rather in a frivolous way. Of course, we can also use it to keep tabs on our appointments, remind us of things we need to do, give us directions, and generally be an ‘aide memoir’ and assistant in our busy lives. In fact now that I own a smart phone, I don’t know how I ever managed without it. My point here is that now that the non-corporate user has begun to make use of Information Technology in their daily lives, the demographic of usage has changed dramatically and beyond recognition.

Of course the corporate user still uses their static PC’s and Mac’s in exactly the same way as they have always done, their needs have not changed, nor their need to change PC’s or even change their operating system. For any corporate user, changing and updating their core operating system would entail training their entire staff to use the new system, a costly and time consuming nightmare that any corporate user will obviously dread, and whilst the current set up in use is working fine, then many will consider it not worth the cost or the hassle, hence the reason why most large institutions and businesses are still using Windows XP, and as Microsoft plan to withdraw support next year, its going mean a massive upheaval.

In the meantime, as the corporate usage has in a way stood still, the none corporate usage has ballooned. From those years when no one but the corporate user found any use for IT, now the majority of us own some type of smart phone that we make use of daily, or we own tablets, e-readers, etc., and our needs seem to be that we need to use IT as we move around, during travel, walking along, in coffee shops etc., we don’t seem to want a static PC that remains in one place. Texting, taking pictures, keeping in touch with each other, these are our needs wherever we happen to be.

So, can one Operating system cover both uses? I say not. I believe that it’s one of the main reason’s why Apple has never attempted it. One usage is so far removed from the other, that its an impossible task and one that in my opinion, Microsoft shouldn’t have attempted with Windows 8. The corporate user needs to be able to multitask, have several programs open and  visible on their desktop at once, be able to maintain security of the highest level as their usage may entail accessing personal details of others, or information that they wouldn’t want others to have access to, whilst to the consumer user none of that is really important, as demonstrated by the way we are all happy to inform the world where we are at at any given time, and broadcast our latest pictures via sharing.

I love my Windows phone, and in my opinion, the operating system on the phone is perfect and Microsoft would be stupid to think otherwise or to change it. The way that you can tailor the tiles to suit your usage, personalise the phone to such a high degree that no Windows phone will look exactly like someone else’s, the way the tiles are ‘live’, the People tile, it all works brilliantly and is a ‘user focused concept’ that Microsoft should be proud of. On the phone it works well, as does the phone’s mail app, calendar etc., and Joe Belfiore and his team are to be fully congratulated on making an operating system that is fully tailor made to the user.

But in Windows 8 its a disaster. It simply doesn’t work!  No corporate user is going to make use of it, the Mail app, the People app, the Calendar app, they are a practically unusable and a thousand steps back from Windows Live Mail in the case of the Mail app. No integrated Calendar? In fact, whilst I was testing Windows 8, I simply downloaded the whole of Windows Live Essentials to the desktop in Windows 8 because I couldn’t function without their features and I’m  a simple consumer user!  Nothing works in Windows 8 that would suit the usage of the corporate user OR the consumer user in my opinion, and the integrated apps are rubbish. Windows phone puts it all to shame, both in usage and in application.  What Microsoft will do I have no notion, but they should leave Windows phone alone, its perfect.

They should have taken  the Windows phone OS and added it to tablets aimed at consumer usage, but updated Windows 8 desktop for PC’s and corporate usage. Its a step too far, and by trying to fulfil two separate usages, they have ended up fulfilling none. 

TG  (This post is entirely my own thoughts on the subject of Windows 8, and I know that many of you will not agree with my sentiments, only time will tell who is right and who is wrong, and my thoughts are entirely as an ordinary user.)

This blog post has been written, edited and published from the greatest blog editor ever, Windows Live Writer, for which their is no equal and which has not been made into a Windows phone app unfortunately. Sigh.

Trying out Word with my blog.

Seeing as others are extolling the virtues of using Word as their blogging editor/composer, I thought that it was only fair to try it out myself to see how it compares with my favourite blogging editor program, Writer. Of course, in order to work Writer itself has always had to have the usual word processor features on board such as fonts, size of fonts, formatting etc, but it has always also contained more features than that. Being able to do hyperlinks for example, place your enclosed pictures in different ways to help make your blog post look more attractive to your readers, save drafts of your blog posts as you compose them, download old posts for editing ages after they were actually posted, save a blog post to publish later, etc etc. It’s blog orientated features have evolved over a number of years of course, and are enhanced by numerous ‘plug-in’s’ easily available from the ribbon interface online.

I probably wouldn’t have ever bothered much with blogging without the use of this wonderful little program, and have no intentions of moving away from using it as my blogging editor anytime soon. Others feel that it’s not necessary, that you can actually get the same results by using word. Of course, the main difference for most users up until now has been that whilst Writer is a free program, you have had to buy Word as part and parcel of the Office suite.

Now that Word is going to be freely available installed on Windows 8 RT for example, and your Windows phone, then does this change the playing field somewhat, and is what is available in Word for bloggers as comprehensive and easy to use (and find!) as in Writer?

I’m now putting Word through its blogging paces to find out!

The first big problem occurs when you try to add a picture. It’s placed in your blog post at as large as your blog page will allow, but then it’s not immediately obvious how to change the size. As any Writer user will be aware, all pictures added in Writer can be configured to a set size Small, Medium or Large, and you can easily adjust the default sizes of this yourself by altering the default sizes so creating personal preferences for size of pictures. Writer always adds a picture into your blog post as a small size by default.

To adjust the size turns out to be fairly complicated and although it can be quickly achieved by using the usual drag the corners to adjust, I found it fairly cumbersome, especially using the size changer from the ribbon.

Word does include different Picture frames a la Writer, in fact, it copies what is available in Writer and smacks of the Writer team having lots of input here. However, where Word seems to have more choice with more frames being available (I especially like the soft look as shown on the left) and you can also place your picture in 3D orientation etc, which really I was expecting to be added to Writer over the last year in the form of updates! So where the blogging area of Word has obviously been worked on, poor Writer has been neglected badly and needs to have all these features currently available in Word added quickly to it.

You can also change your picture to a ‘smart graphic to add text and change how it appears, but this feature looks as if it would probably work better with a group of pictures, as one of the smart graphics looks very similar to the ‘photo album’ choices in Writer.

In fact, all the picture features have the Writer teams input all over them! No wonder we haven’t had any significant Writer updates of late, it looks very much to me as if they have been seconded onto the Word team and been beavering away at bringing Word up to scratch for use as a blogging editor!

I’m now going to take a look at adding a few pictures at a time a la photo gallery. This is where Word really falls down badly. Because Writer ALWAYS adds photos at the smaller size AND uses Photo Albums for formatting lots of photos, its ideal when you which to add more than one pic to a post, but because Word adds pictures in their large format by default, you then have a real job on your hands to display them in any attractive form in your blog post. Fine for a single photo, but not for a few! I could also not find a way to work on more than one picture where any picture style, or format could be used, it seems to have been taken for granted that you won’t want to add a whole album of photos into your blog post, only single photos. So,, most of the Picture layout options which seem tailor made for use with lots of pictures displayed altogether can only be used with one picture at a time, unless I have missed something!

Actually when it all turns out, you are better selecting the smart graphics first and then adding your chosen pictures to it, but I couldn’t seem to download more than one picture at a time to fit into the graphic from my SkyDrive albums which was tiresome to say the least, especially when compared to how easy it is to create a photo album containing tons of photos in Writer! Big fail. The other big problem was that I could find no way of deleting a smart graphic once inserted in your post! Okay, I do confess that I am not a Word user, and so it might be possible to do and I simply couldn’t find it but on right clicking to bring up the quick menu, delete was not amongst the choices available..

Obviously, using Word for your blog posts might suffice if you have a professional blog where you tend to insert only single pictures at a time, or a video, but for all other types of blogs such as personal blogs, where the user might want to include (for example) a photo album of their holidays or some shots of a day out in their blog post, I’m afraid that Word falls far short and is far too complicated to achieve some of the features that are available in Writer.

Of course you’ve been able to use Word since Word 2007, but Writer for many bloggers was far easier to use, and has been the preferred blogging editor. (Here I’m trying out Hyperlink in this sentence but again, its not as intuitive in use as it is in Writer. In writer, all you do is highlight the chosen word in your text, right click to bring up the quick menu, choose add hyperlink, and automatically your last copied URL is available to add as a Hyperlink. In word, highlighting your chosen text and then selecting Hyperlink from the ribbon brings up a plethora of choices that include ‘current folder, browsed pages and recent files. Hmm. As always, too many choices! As in Writer, you can right click your highlighted word/words to include a hyperlink, but the same plethora of choices are then presented instead of how Writer tackles and offers just the last URL that you used.

It’s all a bit too like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut in my view and although I could see the more professional blogger finding the use of Word for their blog posts useful, I consider that its far too complicated for the average ‘personal’ blogger to even contemplate against the use of Writer.

Sorry Word, but that’s my take on it for what its worth!


Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2011. 1.Let’s begin!

There are many users who blog who have never heard of Windows Live Writer, so I have decided to spread the word about the best blogging editor out there bar none. I can guarantee that once you have tried out Writer, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it and as its free, what have you got to loose? Firstly you’ll need to download it to your computer as its a desktop program, but the upside of that is you can write your blog posts offline if you have no internet connection, and publish to your blog later at a time to suit you.

1. Go to where you can download the 2011 Essentials Suite. Once the installer has downloaded, you will see a Window where you can choose which programs to install, just Live Writer or any of the other programs. As an aside, Photo Gallery works quite well with Writer and is a free photo editing program that you may find useful.

Choose your programs to install

2.  NOTE!  This edition of Live Writer does not work with XP, if you are using XP you will have to download the previous version of Writer. In Vista and Windows 7, its a good idea to pin Writer to your taskbar so that it is just one click away to use. Once downloaded and installed, Writer will invite you to Configure it for your blog so click on Next.

Configure Live Writer

3. Choose the blogging platform that you use, WordPress, Sharepoint, Blogger or Typepad. Writer will also work with LiveJournal and most other blog platforms. For my demo I am going to set up two of my blogs, one on WordPress and one on Blogger. In the topmost area you need to put the URL  (website address) of your blog. If you don’t know this, go to your blog online and note or copy the address from the address bar in your browser.

Filling in the details of your blog

4. Tick the remember my password if you don’t want Writer to be constantly asking for it and then select Next. Writer will then begin to fully sync with your blog settings, the background, the fonts you use, in fact every detail of your blogs theme or template will be synced with. This is so that you can see exactly how your posts will look as you compose them and before publication. It’s what makes Writer so unique and to my knowledge, it is the only blogging editor that is capable of true WYSIWYG syncing.

Writer does its stuff

5. As soon as Writer has completed its sync with your blog, you will see the post area of your blog in its entirety presented in the Writer editing window as shown below.

WYSIWYG edit screen

6. If you have other blogs either on a different blogging platform or even the same one, then simply repeat the procedure as described for each one by clicking on the title of your currently configured blog (to the right of the Publish icon, and select Add Blog Account  from the drop down list. You can add as many blog accounts as you wish from different blogging platforms. I have quite a few on the go including photo blogs and Writer successfully syncs with them all.

Showing list of my blogs

The full sync is best illustrated with another of my blogs which uses a fairly complicated looking theme on WordPress. In the next two screens I am showing you the blog itself online in WordPress and then the editing screen inside Writer to illustrate how Writer really does show your posts exactly as they will look when published.

Firstly, here’s my blog as it appears online.

Screenshot (53)

  And here is that very same post in the Writer editing window where you write and compose your blog post.

Screenshot (54)

Of course the sidebar is missing, we don’t need it for composing the actual blog post of course, and the blog title is also not necessary, but all fonts used, size of fonts etc are present and correct, as is the theme used itself. In a later post, we’ll cover writing one post and then posting the same post to more than one blog which I tend to use fairly often. To see the whole of your blog including the Title and the sidebar, simply click on Preview at the bottom left hand side of the editing screen.

Preview your post

Next post we’ll cover beginning to write your post, choosing your fonts and size of fonts, choosing a header and taking a look at general formatting of your post.


Blogging with Windows Live Writer. 2. Writing your post.

The Home Ribbon.

Now we’ll take a look at setting out your posts as you want them to look. Above the Editing screen, you’ll no doubt have noticed the Ribbon interface used in Writer. When you open Writer, the HOME ribbon is the one visible to you by default. This ribbon consists of the following areas, Clipboard (which I never really use personally, so for now we’ll ignore it) Publish (where you are given the choice of publishing your blog once completed, either as a viewable post or as a draft post) Font where you can choose which font you would like to use for this post and its size etc, Paragraph which includes bulleted, numbered lists and quotes. This is followed by HTML Styles, and once you set your cursor into the main writing area, the Paragraph choice will be highlighted by default, followed by various headings to choose from, Insert, where are given the choice of inserting either a Hyperlink, Picture or Video, and finally Editing where you can check your spelling, find a word and select all of your post.  Let’s work our way through them shall we?

Filling in your title

1. Place your cursor in the post Title area and fill in your Post Title. You can’t choose different fonts or sizes for the post title in Writer, this is dictated by whichever theme you are using.

2. Once you have completed your post title, click return to move down to the writing area. Now the Paragraph icon in the HTML styles will be highlighted. If you don’t wish to add a header to your paragraph, you now need to choose your font and size that you wish to use, and also its colour if you wish to change it from the default one’s used in your blogs theme. To change the font, click on the small arrow next to the font box. A drop down list will appear that you can scroll down. Choose your font from the list.

Choose your font

For this how-to, I’ll choose Segoe UI. Note that all fonts that are available on your computer, including any that you have downloaded, will also be available to use in Writer including those used in Word.

3. When you have chosen your font, click on the size box on the right of the font box to select the size of your font. In my case I could go right up to 36 size

which is quite large! The small icon on the right of the

size box will clear all formatting, returning you to clear text, so use with caution!

4. Below the font box are other choices for your text. You can make it bold italic underline it if you wish to make it stand out place a strike through it as if you had crossed it out do a subscript or superscript and also highlight some of your text including choosing the colour. In order to do that, you will need to highlight that particular text by selecting it all via your left mouse button and holding it down until all of your chosen text is highlighted.

Choosing your own colour

5. Finally you can choose the overall colour of your written text, and this is best chosen right at the beginning at the same time as you choose your font and size. If you click on the underlined A, a drop down box will appear with the colours for you to choose from. If you are not happy with the default choice of colours available, click on More Colours followed by Define Custom Colours to choose your own. See screen grab above.

  • In the Paragraph area of the ribbon, you can add a bulleted or numbered list. by simply clicking on each.
  • Now whenever you begin a new line, a bullet or a number will automatically be added to your text.
  • To stop the bulleting or numbering, simply deselect it.


You can also make selected text into a block quote like so by selecting the ‘quote’ icon to the right of the bullet and numbering icons. Once you have completed your block quote, just deselect it.

7. Normally when writing you want your paragraph to always be left aligned or placed against the left side. However, you might want to include a paragraph or part of your writing that is centred on the page or even placed up to the right hand side.

To centre your text simply select the centre icon by clicking on it. It will be highlighted and any text place in your post from then on will begin in the centre of your post and move outwards, but will remain central until you deselect the Centre icon. Try it out to see exactly how this works and how it looks.

You can also do the same with the Align Text to the right.

Finally you can Justify all of your text, or just a paragraph. Justify makes the words in a paragraph ‘spread out’ so that they all line up at both the right hand side of your post and also the left hand side as well. This is done by spacing each word and some people like it better because it looks neater as it doesn’t end with different length lines. As you can see by this paragraph. Of course, if you have never done any word processing, you won’t be familiar with any of this!

8. Next let’s choose a header. Normally I never have the need to place any headers in my blog posts, but if you are writing a more ‘professional’ looking post, you might want to use headers in order to talk about separate subjects or areas of your subject. To include a header, place your cursor at the beginning of a new line, and select one of the headers in the HTML styles area.

This is my Header.

As you can see, depending on the style of your blog theme, some of the headers include a dotted line underneath.  If you don’t want this, then choose one of the other headers that do not include the line.

This is Header 3.

As soon as you begin a new line after you have placed your header, Writer automatically selects the Paragraph formatting for you.

Next post, we’ll tackle inserting a Hyperlink, a Picture and also a Video into your post.


Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2011. 3. Let’s insert something!

One of the best features of Live Writer is how you easily it allows you to insert Hyperlinks, Pictures, Videos and even maps into your blog posts and have complete control over whereabouts they are positioned and how they look. We’ll tackle each one in turn.


1. Firstly adding a Hyperlink. What is a Hyperlink? Well, this is best illustrated by demonstrating one. Let’s say you are doing a blog post about a recent holiday and you mention the place visited. This could be a town, or even a restaurant. For this post I’m going to use the example of The White Hart Hotel in Hayle, where we enjoyed a very nice lunch during our last holiday. Firstly I need to find out if The White Hart Hotel has a website. It has. Now I need to copy the URL of the website by highlighting the URL in the address bar in my browser and then returning to Writer.

Screenshot (65)

2. Next I need to click on the Hyperlink Icon in the ribbon. The web address that you just copied in your browser will automatically be inserted in the Web Address box. All that you need to do is fill in the words that will be associated with that address inside the Text to be displayed box. (Linking.) For this demo, I’ll use White Hart Hotel in my text, and I’m also going to tick the box ‘Automatically Link to this Text.’  Click on INSERT. White Hart Hotel will appear in your post, and whenever any reader clicks on those words, they will automatically be taken to the relevant website. You can do this with any word/words used in your post that has a relevant site. So when I talk about Windows Live Writer, I can direct my readers with a Hyperlink to the webpage describing Windows Live Writer and its features. The colour of the Hyperlink will be dictated by the link colour set in your blogs theme, but you can make it stand out even more by highlighting it and then making it bold. (See above.) Try clicking on both of my Hyperlinks and see where you are taken.


3. Next, we’ll insert a picture. Clicking on the Picture icon from the INSERT area of the ribbon produces a drop down list of choices consisting of

  • From your computer
  • From the web
  • Create an online Album (This album will be stored in your SkyDrive.)
  • Add an online album (Already available from your SkyDrive)

4. Clicking on From your computer will take you to your pictures folders, usually the last one you had open, so that you can choose a picture to insert. All you need to do is simply click on a picture from your library and it will be inserted into your post. NOTE! The picture will be inserted wherever your cursor happens to be in your text so its best to use return to begin a new line before inserting a picture.

Butterfly in Christchurch, New Zealand

Your chosen picture will be aligned to the left hand side of your post by default and will be the smallest size. We’ll run through changing its size and position in a future post.

5. Alternatively you can insert a picture from the web by clicking on the second choice from the drop down list. However, first you need to know the URL or web address of your chosen picture. Open your browser, choose your picture and then copy the URL from the address bar just as you did with the Hyperlink.

Screenshot (68)

6. Insert the Web Address by right clicking with your mouse and choosing Paste. Your chosen picture will appear in the small window. You can Preview it first if you wish. If your happy with it, click on Insert, and your chosen picture from the web will be inserted into the post where your cursor is currently positioned.


Photo Album.

7. The next choice is Create Online Album so let’s choose that next from the drop down list.

    Screenshot (69)

8. A window will open for you to choose From Files or alternatively From Online Albums. (Albums that if you already have a SkyDrive account, you already own.)  You firstly need to sign in, and clicking on Sign In opens a sign in window where you can fill in your credentials in the relevant boxes, choose whether or not you wish Writer to remember your password or keep asking for it, and click on OK.

9. If you don’t own a Microsoft Account (you can use your Hotmail/ Live account) then click on Don’t have a Windows Live ID? to be taken to the relevant webpage where you can create a Microsoft Account. You will then have access to SkyDrive which you can use to store all of your photos/documents etc for free.  When you have done that, fill in your credentials in the window and click on OK.

10. Now you can create your first online album and display it in your post. Your visitors will be able to access the album by clicking on it and also view all of its contents as a slideshow. So let’s add some photos to our album!

11. You add photos by either opening your pictures folder in a separate window and simply dragging them over to the Add Photos window one by one, or alternatively click on the green + Add Photos choice, highlight the photos that you wish to include in your pictures folder and they will be added to the album.

Adding photos to your albums

12. When you have added all of your chosen pictures, click on Insert. As you can see below, your photos will now be displayed in a very attractive manner inside your post. By default they will be aligned to the left hand side of your post, but you can change this by clicking on top of the whole album, (a striped square will now appear at the edges of your photo album) and a new Tab will be highlighted above the ribbon in Writer called  Photo Album Tools. Underneath you will see the tab Format. Click on it and the ribbon will change to show completely new choices and icons to use.

13. This ribbon will appear every time you click on top of a Photo Album or a single picture, although the choices offered are slightly different for a single picture.  We’ll tackle these in a later post, but for now you’ll see that the Alignment area is highlighted. To centre your new Photo Album, simply click on the Centre icon. Now your photo album is placed central in your post and looks much neater and tidier.

We’ll cover all the things that you can change about how your Photo Album is displayed and work our way through all of the different choices open to you in a later blog post, but for now we’ll leave this demo Album as it is. Writer will automatically save the whole album to your SkyDrive when you publish your post.

14. The other choice we need to set up before publishing our blog post containing the photo album is to set up our album privacy. Seeing as our album is part of a blog post and you probably want all of your readers to be able to look at it and access it fully, it might be best to set this as Public, unless of course you only wish certain readers to see it, in which case you will have to set their permissions individually. Its much easier therefore to make a photo album public when you insert one in a blog post. To do this, click on top of the album again in order to invoke the Photo Album Tools and then click on Album Privacy icon. This will be set at ‘Don’t share this photo album on my Windows Live profile’ by default, so untick that choice.

Screenshot (72)

15. You are also offered the choice to include additional file information like the location where you took each photo, camera description and time taken. You can disable this if you don’t want it included by unticking it. Click on OK.

16. The last choice from the drop down list under the Picture icon is to include an album in your post that you already have on SkyDrive. Of course this will only apply if you have had a SkyDrive account previously and saved photos to it. If you are new to SkyDrive then this choice is not applicable until you have some albums saved. Here’s my choice of albums. To insert one of your current albums into a post, simply click on it to select it, and then click on Insert.

Adding an online album from SkyDrive

17. Writer will download your chosen Album where your cursor is currently placed inside your post and display it as before aligned to the left hand side and as the default display. As before you can click on top of the Album to bring up the Photo Album Tools and then Centre your photo album in your post as before by choosing the Centre alignment under the format tab.

Next post we’ll cover adding a video to our blog post from the different choices offered, and also take a look at inserting a map as well.


Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2011. 4. Inserting Everything bar the kitchen sink.

Insert Ribbon.

Up until now during this tutorial, we haven’t moved from the HOME ribbon, which has contained most of the choices that we needed to make.  We’re now going to take a closer look at the INSERT ribbon, where there are lot’s of other things we can insert into our blog posts.

1. Click on the INSERT tab above the ribbon. Immediately the ribbon changes to a much more detailed one featuring everything that you can insert into your blog posts. Let’s take a look at all the other things we can insert into our posts shall we? 

Insert ribbon

As you can see from this screen shot, we can insert (under the Break area) a Horizontal line, a Clear Break and a Split post. (The latter being where you can post a short summary to be shown on your Home page, and then continue to read the full post by clicking on ‘more’ etc. You can also add a Table into your post, and under the Media area of the ribbon, we have the previous Hyperlink, Picture and Photo Album (which work in exactly the same way as before) Video, Map, Post Tags and Emoticons to show your readers how you are feeling at that time in your post.

Lastly you can add some Plug-ins to Writer which add enhancements such as the Facebook plug-in or Twitter plug in, which automatically send an update to either as you publish a post. Let’s try working our way through the BREAKS area first.

2. Click on Horizontal Line.

A line is then placed inside your post. Next, try the Clear break choice.
Your cursor will do a return and move to a new line.  Next let’s try out the Split Post.

Read more of this post

Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2011. 5. A closer look at photos.

Picture Tools

Once you have inserted a photo into your blog post, there are a plethora of choices open to you. You can precisely place your photo in your text, resize it, crop it, add effects and an assortment of other features and additions.  So this post, I’m going to concentrate on these photo features.

1. Once your photo is inserted into your post, click on top of it in order to open the PICTURE TOOLS ribbon. As you can see, this contains a vast array of choices and we’ll work our way through them one by one. Reading from the left of the PICTURE TOOLS ribbon is Crop.

Picture Tools ribbon

2. Clicking on the Crop icon will open a window containing your photo with a white square inside the photo that can be resized or reshaped by left clicking on one of the small squares and holding down the left hand mouse button, then dragging the lined square until you have cropped out the area of the photo that you don’t want to show. There are also some custom sizes for you to choose from via the drop down list, and you can also show a grid over your chosen area. Click on OK once you are happy with your Crop or click on Remove Crop.

Doing a crop in Writer 

3. Next to Crop on the PICTURE TOOLS ribbon is the Resize area. Here you can customise your sizes for future use so that once set, when you click on Small, Medium or Large your photos are set to a size that you prefer to use inside your posts. To change the Custom size, click on the size box, a drop down list will be available, and you can select the last choice of Set Default Sizes.

Setting your default sizes of photos

4. Another window will open and you can then select the width and height for your default sizes of your inserted photos. Once set, in the future all you need to do is select Small, Medium or Large and your photos will be at your own custom size.

5. Next we come to Rotate. This feature allows you to rotate your inserted photo from Landscape to Portrait or visa versa, or you can Tilt the photo inside your text which gives a very attractive result.  Try it out to see how it looks.  You adjust the angle of tilt by sliding the slider either further to the right or left and once you are happy with your tilted photo, click on OK.

The Last Rose

6. Next area along the PICTURE TOOLS ribbon is Picture Styles. This allows you to add different surroundings, effects and shapes to your inserted photo. Choices are as follows: Inherent from Blog, None, Drop shadow, Instant Photo, Photopaper, Reflection, Rounded corners, solid 1pxl and solid 3 pixels. Try them all out by clicking on each one to see how it effects your inserted photo.

7.  Picture Effects are next in the Ribbon, so click on the Picture Effects icon in order to access the choices available. These are Recolour, Sharpen, Blur and Emboss. If you click on Recolour another windows opens containing other icons for you to select and you simply click onto each one to choose. Try them out on your photo to see which one looks best.

8. Clicking on Sharpen gives you the choice of a sharpen icon, Blur gives you no Blur or Gaussian Blur and Emboss allows you to Emboss your photo. Again, try them all out to see the effect. You can always change the effect back if you don’t like it.

9. Under the Picture Effects area is Contrast and this choice is adjusted by  altering the two sliders for Brightness and Contrast either left or right. Click on OK once your happy with your photo.

10. Lastly under Picture Styles we have Watermark. This allows you to watermark any inserted photos so that your name is placed on it for the purposes of copyright. Click on the Watermark icon and a window will open where you can choose your text such as your name, which font you would like to use for your watermark, the size and finally its position on your photo. Click on OK once you have set up your watermark and it will be added to the photo. (See above.)

11. In the Properties area of the PICTURE TOOLS ribbon, you can choose where to link to when your readers click on top of the photo, either the source picture or a web address, the options for the size of the source picture, and any alternate text you would like to display when the photo is clicked on.

12. Under the Settings area of the PICTURE TOOLS ribbon, you can set to revert to the original version of the picture before any effects etc were added, or set the current picture style, alignment, properties etc as the default for all other pictures.

f042dc0d-faec-4fbb-8fef-d2c2c440d34613.  Next in line on the PICTURE TOOLS ribbon is the Alignment area, and this basically allows you to place your photo to the left hand side of your text, to the centre, to the right hand side. Just choose the placement by clicking on one of the icons. You can then resize your picture if you wish to accommodate any text that you wish to have at the side.  Its also a good idea to set up a margin around your picture so that your text does not butt right up to the edge of your photo and look unsightly.

14. To alter the margin next to your picture and separate your photo from your text, simply click inside the box next to the relevant margin and increase the pixels. In my case, I have increased the pixels to 12 to the right hand margin, so that now my text is separate from the photo. You can adjust the spacing around your photo at the top, bottom, left and right, so that it all looks neat and is easy to read.

Next post, we’ll cover the Blog Account ribbon, and also adding Categories to our posts, setting our post date, updating the theme, and posting the same post to different blog platforms.


Blogging with Windows Live Writer. 7. Handling those files!

Now we’ll take a close look at the FILE tab. This is the only tab that doesn’t currently have its own ribbon interface, but instead shows when clicked as a drop down list of choices.

File drop down list

We’ll now work our way through the choices from this list, some of which have already been covered in other ribbon choices.

1. Clicking on the top choice of New Post will, in the case of WordPress, give you two choices, New Post or New Page. (which if you use pages on your blog, allows you to compose one of those with Writer as well. This choice is sadly not available for Blogger at this time.

2. Open local draft. This choice opens a draft post that you have previously saved to your computer. Click on any of your saved posts in the right hand list to open it. To scroll down the list click on the small arrow at the bottom.

Screenshot (78)

3. Open recent post will open any post that you have published to your blog. However, it also opens any post published to your blog over a set time as long as that post was originally constructed in Live Writer. To access any older posts, in order to edit one for example, simply click on the Open Recent post icon on the left. A new window will open up. On the left hand side will be a list of all of your blogs and on the right a list of the recent posts published.

4.  In a small box at the top next to show, you will see a default number of 25 posts. On the right is a Delete box.  By clicking on the Show box, you can adjust how many past posts Writer should bring down to edit. This can be adjusted depending on how long you have used Writer to compose and publish your blog posts on that particular blog account, because only posts constructed with Writer previously can be accessed. To access a particular old post, scroll down the list of posts and then select the one you require and Writer will then download it for editing.

Going back 500 posts

NOTE! There is a current problem with Writer fetching down any posts older than 20 on WordPress at the moment, and you may receive an error message if trying to access older posts. All other blogging platforms such as Blogger are working fine.

5. The next choice is Save, and you are offered three choices for your current post.  You can save a local draft to your computer, you can post a draft to your blog that is not viewable by the public and which you can then bring back down into Writer to edit at a later date, or alternatively you can post the draft to continue editing online.

Save choices

6. Next choice is  Delete Draft, which when selected presents you with a list of your currently stored drafts on your computer. To delete one, just scroll down the list and select it.

7. Publish is self explanatory and is also available in the HOME Ribbon. Clicking on it will immediately publish the current post to your blog.

8. Print will print out the current post via a connected printer and you are also offered the choice to Preview the post before printing.

9. Next we arrive at Options. Selecting this choice will open up exactly the same window as is available from the HOME ribbon under the list of your blogs when selecting Manage your Accounts. If you wish to change any of the Options available from the list, click on the icon to change it, then click on Apply and OK to Save.

Remind me in Preferences

10. About Windows Writer gives you more information about Writer the version you are currently using and the build number. You can also access any log files from here by clicking on Show Log File.

11. Clicking on Exit will close Live Writer but if you have not done a recent save of your current draft, you will receive a warning notice to that effect and prompted to Save it first.

Next post we’ll cover setting up some Categories and setting our post dates including setting up a future date for publishing a post. . We’ll also take a look at posting the same post to two (or more) different blogging platforms, a feature which I tend to use a lot.