Blogging with Windows Live Writer. 10

Other features of using Writer.

Now that we have covered some of the wonderful things that you can include in your blog posts when you make use of Writer, let’s take a look at how the long term use of Writer can help you to edit an old post that you did ages ago, or port all of your previous posts over to another site. Not only that, you can send the same post to two separate sites as long as you have them both set up inside Writer. I do this with these posts. They are published both to WordPress and Blogger so that anyone who would like to learn about using Windows Live Writer and is using a blog on either of those sites can see them.. Here’s how to do that.

If you have a blog on both  Blogger and WordPress for example, and have  set them both of them up as per my previous post, simply choose one of them in Writer, compose your post and then publish it as normal.  Once the post has been published to one blog, simply click on Blogs from the Toolbar at the top of Writer, click on your other blog where you wish the same post to be sent,  check the formatting to see that everything displays correctly in your other blog and then  click on Publish.  That same post will then be available in both of your blogs.

Here's the post for Blogger And here it is for WordPress

Editing those old posts.

Let’s say that you are going over one of your older posts in your blog, and you notice a spelling mistake or you want to change some of the content  inside that old post.  As long as the post was constructed with Live Writer its so easy to do!  Note the title of the post and the date it was posted originally. Now from inside Live Writer either click on More from under the Recently Posted list in the right hand side Menu or alternatively click on File from the Writer Toolbar at the top of the Writer window, and then click on Open.  Writer will then ‘fetch’ the last 50 posts that you published to that blog. If you wish to go back even further than that you can choose to show up to 500 previous posts by clicking on the Show box.  Simply click on the post that you wish to edit or change, click on O.K  and it will then appear inside the Live Writer editing window for you to alter as you wish. You can then repost when you are completely happy with your changes..

Editing an older post.NOTE. Do not change the Set publish date after you have completed your editing or it won’t be placed back into your blog at the same place as it was originally. If you click in  the Set publishing date box, it will then appear as  a new post.  If you are posting in a sequence then this is very important, so if you want that particular post to stay in the sequence as it originally appeared in your blog, do not click on the Set publish date box.

I want to transfer my blog to another site!

As long as you have been using Live Writer to publish to the blog that you wish to move from, then its fairly easy to transport all of your old posts over to a new blogging site. Let’s say (for example) that you have been using WordPress for your blog posts and have decided that you wish to begin using Blogger instead.  In order to do this ‘transfer’ of all your old posts, you will need to have used Live Writer for their composition.

Next, set up your new blog on Blogger (or wherever you are moving your blog to.) and then set up Writer with your new blog as described in my previous post. Now you will need Live Writer to fetch down all your previous posts, so click on File from the Writer Toolbar then Open  and  choose the name of the old blog that you wish to move all your posts from.  You are going to have to move them over one by one, so it will take quite some time to do if you have quite a few.  It will also be a good idea to begin with the oldest post that you wish to port over if you wish to keep them in the same sequence as they were in your old blog.

As each old post appears inside the Live Writer edit window, simply click on Blogs from the Writer Toolbar, and then select your new blog by clicking on it. If your new blog is using a different width then you may have to alter some formatting inside the post, and then simply click on publish to send that post to your new blog.  Repeat this for every blog post from your old blog that you wish to port over to your new blog.  Time consuming I know if you have lot’s of old posts, but at least you can port it all fairly easily.  As before, if you wish to keep the original sequence of your posts then its a good idea to leave the Set publish date alone although if you work through all of your previous posts in order of oldest to youngest that shouldn’t really be a problem.  When you have completed porting all your posts over to your new blog  you can finally delete the old one.

And that’s it!  I hope that you are learning how to use Windows Live Writer and how it  makes blogging so much easier to do!

TG

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Blogging with Windows Live Writer. 9

Adding some plug-ins.

What on earth are plug-ins? And why should you use them in Writer?  Plug-ins are usually small additional programs that you can download to your computer to enhance the use of Writer. They add such useful  additions as sending an announcement automatically to twitter or facebook as your new post is published,  so that  all of your friends/contacts on Twitter/Facebook etc are made aware of it.  They add other features to Writer such as being able to show a picture as a Polaroid for example. There are quite a few Writer plug-ins to choose from, and there is certain to be at least one that you will find useful to add to Writer.

Let’s now take a look at some of my favourite plug-ins and how to use them in your posts.

In the choice of items to insert on the right hand side of the compose window  at the bottom of the list you will see Add a plug-in next to a green plus sign. Click on it to be taken to the Windows Live Gallery where all the different Writer plug-ins can be found.  At the top of the list you will see the Polaroid Picture plug-in.  Of course Writer already has the ability to make your photo or picture look like a Polaroid picture by default, but this plug-in will also let you write a caption underneath your picture as well , so download it and then we can take a look at it. Don’t worry if you receive a warning before installing any of the plug-ins that we are trying out, I use them all the time and I can assure you that they are quite safe to use.

The next plug-in to download is the Twitter Notify one which should also be available from the first page, so download that one as well.  Many of my readers know that I often insert an Emoticon into my blog posts and one of my favourite plug-ins to enable this is the Cool Emotion one so let’s download that as well.  Yet another very useful plug-in for writer is the TweetMeme plug-in coded by my friend Scott, and this will place a button inside your post once its published that allows your visitors to click onto it in order to send a Tweet about that particular post.  To find more Writer plug-ins, just type in the name of the plug-on if you know it into the search bar at the top, or alternatively select Writer from the Gallery list on the left hand side of this webpage. The plug-ins such as the TweetMeme and the Twitter Notify plug-in will not be visible in the Insert list in Writer, you enable them in the Edit Blog Settings under the Blogs tab.

The Cool Emotion and the Polaroid Picture plug in will now have been added to the Insert  list. Let’s try the Polaroid Picture one.  Click on Polaroid Picture and all of your picture files will open in another window in Writer. Now simply choose one of your pictures from your files. When you click on it once it is placed into your post, you will see a familiar Menu appear on the right hand side. This is the Polaroid Picture Menu. At the top you can choose your pictures size, followed by a Caption box where you can add a caption to your Polaroid picture including choosing the font and the size of font to use, you can then choose to tilt your picture to the left or right by varying degrees, have the text wrap around your picture either to the left or right hand side, and lastly add some corners to your Polaroid picture so that it looks as if it is placed in an album.  Try them all out in your blog post.  The Cool Emotion plug-in contains loads of Emoticons for you to add to your posts. Just simply click on it and check them all out.

Cool Emotion plug-inIn order to invoke  the Twitter/TweetMeme/Digg/or Facebook plug-ins in your blog post you will need to enable them by clicking on the Blogs tab at the top of Writer, choosing Edit Blog Settings from the list and then clicking on Plug-ins. You then just need to tick those that you wish to invoke as you publish your post. NOTE. At this time the TweetMeme plug-in will not work at the same time as the Digg This plug-in, you will need to choose just one of them.

settng up your plug-ins for your blogSo there’s a lot of choice in available plug-ins for you to add to Live Writer in order to enhance its already great features. Have a browse in the Gallery and try some more of them out.

TG

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Blogging with Windows Live Writer.8

Inserting a Video.

There are bound to be times when you need to include a video into your post. You may own a video recorder, see a video online that you would like to post about, or maybe you have made a video using your favourite pictures using the excellent free Windows Live Movie Maker  included with the Live Essentials suite of programs.

Live Writer makes it so easy to add a video to your blog post so here’s how!  First of all, you will need to be subscribed to YouTube if you do not already have one  on there because Writer uses YouTube in order to be able to have access your videos inside your blog posts.

Next decide whereabouts in your text or blog you would like to place your video. After making sure that your cursor is positioned at the exact place, click on Video from the Insert list. You will then see the Insert Video window appear with three tab choices at the top which are as follows, From Web, From File and from Video Service.  As From Web is the default tab in use when you access this window, then all you need to do is type in the URL of your chosen video that you would like to add to your post  into the URL box below the three tabs.  Your chosen video will then appear in the window, and all you need do is then click on Insert and it will be inserted into  your post.

Inserting a Video

The From File choice allows you to place a video into your post from the video files that you have on your computer. This becomes especially handy if you make a lot of home videos yourself using Movie Maker for example.  In order to do this, click on the From File tab and you will then see another window open with lots of details to fill in.  First you need to input your YouTube user name and password so that Writer can upload your video file.  Next by clicking on the small box to the right hand side of the Video File box, you will be able to choose from all of your available video files that you have currently stored  on your computer.

The title of your video will automatically be inserted if you have already named it, but you can alter this if you wish and also add some tags to your video. Then decide a Category for your video from the list provided and lastly you need to tick the YouTube terms of use followed by  clicking on Insert.  Your chosen video from your files will then  be uploaded to YouTube and then inserted into your text.  NOTE. You do need to be patient as the upload to YouTube can take quite some time!

From a File If you already have quite a few videos available on YouTube, then the From Video Service is probably the better choice to make. Clicking on From Video service will then allow you to quickly access to all your videos available on YouTube, and you can just click on the one that you would like to insert into your blog post.

Choosing from your videos on YouTubeWhen your video has been inserted into your post you can alter its size, its position within your text and also give it a caption as well if you wish.  In order to do this, click on the video to bring up the Video Menu on the right.  You will see the same Layout choice as you have used with your pictures. You can place the video inline, to the left or right (to allow text wrapping) or in the centre of your text which is useful if you prefer the video to be the full width of your blog.  You can also add some margins around your video in the same manner as with your pictures  if you want to avoid your text from butting right up to the video area.

You can alter the size of the display of your video by clicking on it and then click on one of the corners, hold and drag across until you are happy with its size. As my video already has a title ‘Trip to the Dentist’ I am not going to bother adding a caption, but if you wish to do so, simply type in your chosen text into the top box in the Video menu and it will be added below the video.

I do hope that this post has helped you to see how easy it is to add a video inside your post using Windows Live Writer. Next post we’ll take a look at Adding some  very useful plug-ins that make Writer even more versatile than it already is! I’ll run through some of my favourites and show you how to use them.

TG

Blogging with windows live writer. 7

Inserting a table.

When would you want to insert a table into your blog post?  Well, you might be wanting to post up a Recipe for example and need to keep all your ingredients lined up in a well formatted and attractive manner and  inserting a table allows you to do this. Many think of a table as just for numbers but in fact you can use it for anything where you need to keep the contents separate from each other and lined up in a neat and orderly manner so that the presentation looks neat and attractive.

So let’s me show you how inserting a table can help!  First of all I need to decide how I want my table to look. I only need to keep my content in two separate lines (or columns) so I’ll choose to use that format for my table.

MyTableI click on Table from the Insert tab after making sure that the cursor is placed inside my post exactly where I want my table to appear.  The Insert Table window then opens where I can now decide how I want my table to look.  As I only require two columns for mine, and one row I choose 2 columns and one row.  Next I must decide how wide I require the table to be. I need it the width of my writing space so I’ll choose 600 pixels wide for this blog. Now I can begin to insert my content into each column.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream
Mini Marshmallows
Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate flavoured fudge sauce
Chocolate Flake

 Hmm.  Each ingredient is fairly close to the next one in the list so I think I will keep them all separate from each other by giving each ingredient a separate row. That  will then give me more control over the distance for each ingredient in the list and how it displays. So I am going to change my table to 2 columns and three rows.  Here is my new table. 

Vanilla Ice Cream Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Ice Cream Chocolate flavoured fudge sauce
Mini Marshmallows Chocolate Flake

 Now I can alter the distance between each ingredient by altering the size of the area between each row by simply ‘padding out’ the distance between them. I do this by altering the size of the ‘Space between cells’ and making it a larger amount. I have changed mine from 2 to 10. You can make yours any number you like of course.

Vanilla Ice Cream Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Ice Cream Chocolate flavoured fudge sauce
Mini Marshmallows Chocolate Flake

 That looks better!  Next I need to format the contents of each ingredient because I want them to display centrally in each cell so that it looks neat.  In order to do that I just right click on the table, select Column Properties and then choose for the Horizontal alignment Centre, and for the Vertical Alignment the middle and then press OK. All of your cells within your columns will now format the text inside them in the middle centre of each cell.

Now that looks more or less how I want my table contents formatted apart from the text.

Vanilla Ice Cream Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Ice Cream Chocolate flavoured fudge sauce
Mini Marshmallows Chocolate Flake

 I want to use a different font and text size from the default. One more in keeping with a recipe or Menu for example. I can do this by highlighting the whole table and then choosing a different font and size.  I’ll choose Brush Script MT size 24.

Menu grab for fonts

 I can even change the colour of the text if I wish for this particular recipe so that it looks ‘chocolaty’. Now my ingredient list is complete. All I need to do now is make the table ‘invisible’ so that the text looks as if it is simply lined up without having used a table and then my neatly lined up ingredients can be displayed under a title for this recipe.

In order to do this I simply click inside my table and untick the box next to Show table border and then the whole table will now become invisible inside my post.  I just need to add the title above it for this Recipe like so

Completed Menu 

And that’s my finished Chocolate Indulgence recipe ingredients!  You can also insert a picture into a table as well if you wish.   I hope that I have shown you how useful inserting a table into your post can be allowing you to easily create pristine looking Menu’s, recipe’s or anything else that needs that extra formatting of your text. Try it out yourself and see what you can come up with!

TG

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Blogging with windows live writer 6.

Hyperlinks and Tags.

In this post we’ll take a look at the Hyperlink choice in the Insert list of the Sidebar Menu on the right. What is a Hyperlink? It’s a link that takes your readers to a website or page, or even another of your blog posts when a particular word or sentence is clicked on. It’s useful to give your readers more information than they would normally get by just reading your post. For example, let’s say that you are blogging about a day trip that you just enjoyed to Carlisle. So that your readers can glean far more information about Carlisle than you could include in your post, you simply give them all the info they need about Carlisle by associating a ‘hyperlink’ with that particular word so that every time it is clicked on it takes the reader to a site with more information about Carlisle.

Let’s set that up in Writer shall we?

First of all, you need to find an information page about Carlisle, so go online and type into your search engine the word Carlisle. You should be able to find lot’s of great sites that describe what Carlisle has to offer. I am going to choose www.historic-carlisle.org.uk as my Hyperlink for the word Carlisle in my post.

Once you have decided which webpage to choose, just copy its URL by right clicking on it and choosing copy from the drop down list,  then return to Live Writer and click on Hyperlink under the Insert List.  A small window will open. In the top box, right click and then paste in your URL that you copied previously.

Auto link to this textIn the second box, type in the word Carlisle. Now you must decide whether or not you want that word to always take your readers to that particular site whenever it appears in your text.  If so, tick the lower box to always link to that word, then click on Insert. Most blogging  themes will automatically make the linked text either stand out from the rest of your text by highlighting it in a different colour or making it bold.  If this doesn’t happen you can do that yourself by highlighting it with your mouse (click and drag across the word or sentence)  then selecting Format from the top Menu tab and then either making it bold or choose a different colour. As you can see, this theme makes all Hyperlinks and links appear in green.  Now whenever someone clicks on that word in the rest of this  post, they will be able to find our more about Carlisle and what it has to offer. NOTE. Any Hyperlinked text is always underlined.

You can use a hyperlink for virtually anything you like. A shop, a town, I have used a hyperlink for a steam train journey I travelled on so that my readers could see more information about that particular engine. You can also link your readers to a previous post that you made some time ago as well.  You might be making a post and want to refer them to one of your older posts so just click again on Hyperlink, but this time instead of typing in an URL, click on the Link to box next to it and then select  Previous Post.   As long as your previous posts were made using Windows Live Writer they will be made available to you to link to. Your  last 50 posts will be available by default but you can alter that to up to 200 posts if you so wish!

In order to demonstrate this, I’ll do a Hyperlink to my very first post about Live Writer and I’ll link it to this sentence I am writing now. This is a link to my first Live Writer post.  You can also perform a Hyperlink simply by highlighting a word or sentence within your text and then right clicking on it. The list will include Hyperlink.

Linking back to a previous postNow let’s look at inserting Tags. What are tags? They are words describing your blog post and its contents that can easily be used by a search engine such as Technorati. Anyone wanting to see blogs about a particular subject would then be easily able to find your blog if that subject word has been included in a tag. In these posts, you’ll notice that I include the tags Windows Live Writer so that anyone trying to find posts or blogs about Live Writer would easily be able to find these posts via a search engine.

inputting some tags

Click on the Tags icon in the Insert list. In the large area is where you type your tags. What tags you use for your post is entirely up to you, but it makes sense to concentrate on just a few with key words that describe your blog post. Each word has to be separated from the next word by a comma. The search engines used for tags in Writer are Technorati, Live Journal, Flickr, del.icio.us, Ice Rocket, 43 Things and BuzzNet. And here are my tags.

TG

Blogging with Windows Live Writer 5.

Inserting a Photo Album.

One of the most attractive features of Windows Live Writer that you can insert into your blog post is the Photo Album feature. This was introduced during the last big update to Live Writer in Wave 3. When would you feel like including a whole Photo Album into a post? Well, you might have been on a day trip or a holiday somewhere or just simply visited a place where you took quite a few photos. Maybe you attended someone’s wedding or christening or a family gathering. You don’t have to include lot’s and lot’s of photos either in order to make use of this feature, it still  works just as well if you only have about five or six photographs or pictures that you would like to include in your blog. So let’s add a Photo Album shall we?

1. Click on Photo Album from the right hand side Menu column under Insert.  Firstly you are asked to give your Photo Album a name, so type in a name into the Name box.  Note the two tabs at the top of the window. The first one From Files allows you to include pictures and photos from your photo files on your computer. The second tab From Existing Photo Album includes any photo files that you may already have stored in your SkyDrive online. If you are a new Windows Live user then of course you won’t have any Photo Album files available at this time in your SkyDrive.

2. Click on the green plus sign Add Photos and another window will then open containing all of your photo files.

Adding some pictures for Photo Album3. To choose your pictures from your files just click and drag across those photos that you want to include and then click on Open. Your pictures will be included in the Drag and drop area in the window. If you wish to add some more pictures from a different folder, then simply choose another folder or photo and select it to add it.  If you decide that you do not wish to include one or more of the photos then again then just click on that photo/photos and then select the orange minus sign Remove Photos. When you are happy with your selection for your photo album, click on Insert.

.As you can see, the album is displayed as a Spread by default  with each photograph slightly overlapping the next one to it in a tilted fashion. At the moment its quite small in size and placed inline inside the blog page by default. Let’s change its position first of all. Let’s place it in the centre.

4. Click on the Photo Album to bring up the Photo Album Menu sidebar, and then under Text Wrapping, click on the small arrow and select Centre.

Now our Photo Album is in the centre but its still pretty small! Let’s make it larger. Lets make it as wide as the writing area.

5. Click on the Photo Album again but this time, we’re going to drag the photo album at one of the corners to make it larger so click on one of the corner squares, hold down the mouse button and drag the corner across the blog page in order to enlarge the whole Spread.

Ahh, that’s better! Don’t like the sequence of pictures that are showing? You can change that easily as well.

6. Simply click on top of your photo album and then select from the Photo Album menu, Change cover pictures and then keep clicking on it to cycle through the pictures on display until you are happy with their sequence. Don’t like that particular Spread display?

7. Try the other Album Styles out for your Photo Album by clicking on your photo album and from the Menu bar under album style, click on Spread and then try one of the other Styles out from the drop down list. You can also alter the appearance and way its displayed (especially the ‘Scatter’ display shown above)  by also clicking on Change Cover pictures. Try it out and see the effects! Keep clicking on Change Cover pictures until you are happy with your Scatter display.

Lastly here’s my personal favourite Photo Album display. I like this one because it looks like all of your photos are laid out like a pack of cards. It’s the Fan display. Have fun trying out all of the Album styles to see which one you like best. When you post your blog up to Spaces, the Photo Album will be saved to your SkyDrive as a complete new album of photos.

TG

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Blogging with Windows Live Writer 4.

Let’s Get Mapping!

Another very useful feature in Windows Live Writer is the Map feature. This allows you to add a map to your blog in order to show your readers exactly where you are blogging about if  a destination is mentioned in your post. Perhaps you are blogging about a day trip out, or somewhere that you recently visited. A holiday destination perhaps, or just your home town. It can really enhance the story for your readers if they can see a map or birds eye view of exactly where you are posting about or the spot where you took a photo during your visit there.

Once you have composed your story or post, decide whereabouts you would like your map to be placed. I usually place mine either at the top of my post (almost like a header) or alternatively alongside the text that mentions that particular destination. So let’s insert a Map.

Bings Map window 1. Click on the Map icon in the Insert list. A Bing Map window of the world will then open.

2. Type in the area or destination into the search box at the top of the world map and then click on the search icon. Your chosen destination will appear in the default road view. You can now choose which map view you prefer, a road view, an aerial view or my personal  favourite  a birds eye view.

3. Next you need to decide whereabouts to place your Map in your post and in exactly the same way as pictures you can place it to the left, right or centre of your text. You can also enlarge it by ‘dragging’ either of the corner arrows in order to make it smaller or larger, or alternatively by dragging  on the centre arrows to make it wider or taller.

4. Once you are completely happy with the placement and size of your inserted map, you can add a caption to it. Just click on it to make the Map menu appear in the right hand column and then add  your caption inside the Caption  box at the top. Under Options if you click on ‘Customise Map’ you can change it to a different view.  You might decide to insert a pushpin in order to illustrate the exact spot where you took a photo or stayed during your visit or holiday.  In exactly the same way as I illustrated  previously with pictures, you can also add margins to the Map so that your text does not butt right up to the edge of it, making it look so much neater and easier to read.  Using the Birds Eye view gives your readers a fantastic view of a place that your blogging about. Take a look at York Minster for example from the air!

A Birds Eye View
A Birds Eye View

And here’s an Aerial view complete with a pushpin showing exactly where I stood when taking the following photo of York Minster.  

York Minster SNC13723
York Minster

Next post I will tackle adding a whole photo album to your blog post using either Live Photo Gallery and a SkyDrive account on Windows Live. I’ll also show the different ways that you can choose to display that Photo Album inside your post as well.

TG

Blogging with Windows Live Writer. 3

Let’s try some picture effects!

Now that we have tried positioning our pictures into our post let’s take a look at some other cool things that we can also do in Live Writer with our pictures that we insert.  It’s all about making a post look attractive to our readers and giving it that certain something that encourages our readers to return  again and again.  Maybe you are posting about a holiday that you have just taken, a wedding, a night out, a birthday celebration, or maybe you just want to illustrate your post with pictures to accentuate its content. For whatever reason, with Writer there is no need to just insert a picture and that’s the end of it, you can do so much more.

Black_and_white_cat 

 Here is a gorgeous picture of a black and white kitten.  It’s ideal for illustrating what you can do with the picture effects in Live Writer.  First of all, I shall place it to the left of this text and then I am going to apply Tilt to it, give it some contrast and crop it all from the Advanced tab in the Photo Menu.

 

Black_and_white_cat

Firstly I give it a Photopaper border. It now looks like a snap.  I also give it a Margin of 10 to the left hand side so that my text doesn’t butt right up to it. Next I click on the Advanced tab in the Picture menu which becomes available in Writer every time you click on a photo or picture, and then I shall  enlarge the picture to 350 Width.

 

 Next I am going to give my picture some Contrast so that it really stands out by clicking on  Contrast and then adjust the sliders to 20+ for contrast and –5 for brightness followed by clicking on OK. Following that,  I will  add a watermark to the picture. I click on @Watermark from the Advanced tab. In the topmost box I type in my Watermark ‘Black and White Cat.’ followed by choosing my font Kristen ITC. Hmm.  It is hard to see at the moment as by default its positioned at the bottom right hand side of the photo. So by  moving it to the top left hand corner I can make my Watermark easier to see.  

  

Black_and_white_cat The other choices in this Advanced tab are Rotate, Crop  and Tilt. Let’s try the Tilt one. This feature  allows you to tilt your photo either to the left or right in varying degrees. It looks very attractive if you do this when you have a line of photos in your post as well.  I will tilt my picture to the left by 5. Note how your text moves over to the side as you tilt your picture if you have text wrap. Next we will try some cropping of our picture and ‘home in’ on the cat’s face.

 

Cropping can be really useful if you have a photo or picture but it contains background information that you don’t want to include, or perhaps you just want to focus on a particular aspect of that photo. What you probably will notice as you drag the cropping lines around your photo is how the ‘ratio’ of the photo changes. However, you can keep the same ratio of the original  by choosing ‘original’ from the drop down box at the top left of the cropping window, or alternatively you can choose your own size from the drop down list if you wish. Note as well that you can always reverse any cropping by simply  choosing ‘Remove Crop’ at the bottom.

 

Completed Cropped picture in WriterNext let’s  move onto the third tab in the picture menu, the Effects tab.  When clicked on it shows an empty box with a green plus sign and a red minus sign.  By clicking on the green plus sign, you will be presented with a list of effects to try out on your picture. These are as follows; Black and White, Sepia Tone, Adjust Temperature, Colour Pop, Sharpen,Gaussian Blur and Emboss.  Why not try them all out to see what effect suits your picture best?  You can always remove any of the effects if you are not happy with any of them by clicking on the minus sign.  So that you can see all each of the effects, I am showing my Black and White Cat picture below with each of the different effects applied.

Black_and_white_cat Black_and_white_catBlack_and_white_cat  Black_and_white_cat Black_and_white_catBlack_and_white_cat

Black_and_white_cat  Black_and_white_cat

Next post we’ll take a look at including a full photo album into your post (if you also have Windows Live Photo Gallery installed as well as Live Writer) and inserting a Map into your post in order to show the place that you have visited or are blogging about.

TG

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Blogging with Windows Live Writer 2.

A picture says a thousand words!

An old saying but one that is so true especially when writing a blog!  Not only that, but including a picture into your blog post can enhance the content, breaking up those realms of text for your readers. It also makes any post look far more attractive to look at if it is accentuated by lot’s of nice photos and pictures to illustrate your story or post.  Writer allows you to quickly and easily add photos and pictures into your text. Then it also allows you to do a multitude of different things with those pictures. Place then where you want to inside your text, resize them to any size you like, add different borders and effects to them, add a caption and even add to your blog post a whole photo album if you want to!  So let’s take a look at some of the possibilities with your pictures inside Writer shall we?

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1. To add a picture from your photo’s on your computer, firstly place your cursor where you wish the picture to be placed inside your text and then select the Picture icon from the Insert list in the right hand side column. I have chosen a picture of a neighbourhood cat lazing in the sun which I took on one of our walks. By default the picture will be inserted ‘Inline’ so it will be placed on the left hand side and your text will not ‘wrap around’ it.  Any text that you insert after you have inserted the picture will simply push the picture further down the post  Added to that, it will leave a large gap in your text next to the inserted picture. By default the picture will also use the ‘drop shadow’ style of border and will be of a small size.  So let’s change its position within the text first of all.

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2. Click on the picture. The right hand side column now changes to the Picture menu to show you all the options for your picture.  Firstly let’s make our text ‘wrap around’ the picture either on the left or the right of it. Click on the small arrow under Layout, text wrapping:  and choose left or right hand side.  Now note what happens to your text.  The text will  move and ‘wrap around’ your inserted picture! 

Trouble is that it really looks rather untidy as our text is butting right up to the edge of our picture therefore making it hard to read. We can change that by giving the picture a margin at that side where the text is wrapping around it. So let’s alter that next.

 

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3. Click on the picture to bring up the picture menu and then click on the black arrow under margins followed by  selecting Custom Margins. If your picture is on the left hand side of your text, you will need to add a margin to the right hand side of your picture and if your picture is on the right hand side, then you will need to add a margin to the left.  I have added a 10 margin to my picture. Now the text is no longer butting up to the edges of the picture and is much easier to read. Next I am going to add a border to my picture.

4. Under the Borders choice in the Picture menu, you will note that it already shows as Drop shadow. By clicking on the box, you are presented with a list of  other types of border to choose from. These are as follows, None,Drop Shadow (default), Instant Photo, Photopaper,Reflection, Rounded Corners, Solid 1 pixel and Solid, 3 pixels. Try them all out to see how each makes your picture look. Some suit different pictures and also different blogs. The Instant Photo one makes your picture look like a Polaroid shot.

Instant Photo border  PhotoPaper border Reflection borderRounded corners border

Here you can see some of the different borders applied. The instant photo, the Photopaper, the reflection and the rounded corners one.  As you can see, you can really make any picture that you include inside your post look very attractive. But what if you want to make the picture larger than the default size?  No problem! 

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5. Click on the picture again, and from the picture menu click on the Advanced tab. Here you can fully adjust the size of your picture and either use the default sizes available at the top or alternatively input your own size into the boxes provided. Its a good idea to keep the Lock ratio box checked unless you want a stretched picture. the default sizes offered are small (default) medium, large and original.  You can customize these sizes if you wish but for now we will leave them as they are.  Instead, let’s choose our own size by changing the width and/or height in the Size boxes.

6. Input your new size for your picture by adjusting the number in the width and/or height boxes. Your picture will then change to your custom size inside your draft post.  I am going to change my picture to  width 600 pixels. Because I am leaving the Lock ratio ticked as I wish to keep it the same, the height will automatically be altered as well.  Now I have my new size. The text on the right moves narrower to make room for my wider picture. It now has a new border, the Solid 3 pixels one to make it stand out.

 In my next post I’m going to show you other cool things that you can do with your pictures such as adding a caption, tilting them in your post, making them stand out by changing the contrast, and also trying out some cool effects on them.

TG

 

 

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Blogging with Windows Live Writer. 1.

Let’s start Blogging!

One of the  most useful programs I have found to use if you do any blogging  is Windows Live Writer. I am constantly amazed by how many bloggers are not even aware of its existence. So I intend to do a series of posts about this wonderful little program that is part of the Windows Live Essentials package. You can of course just download Writer by itself if you are not interested in the other Live Essentials programs but it does work well with the other programs in the Live suite especially Live Photo Gallery. So let’s begin shall we?

1. Firstly download LIve Writer from HERE and install it.

2. Once installed, on opening the program you will be prompted to insert the details of your blog into Writer so that it can fully ‘sync’ with it. 

Input your details

You will need to supply the URL of your blog, your user name that you supply when accessing your blog and also the password that you use. Once this is done Writer will sync with you blog, including all its settings, the theme style used, the fonts etc, so that as you compose a post for your blog, you can see exactly what it will look like when posted.  Take a look at the pictures to see it syncing with my WordPress blog. Writer also works with Blogger,Typepad, Live Journal, Windows Live Spaces and most of the popular blogging sites.

Now you can begin to insert some text.  Writer will use the font specified in your blog theme by default but you can change this to another font if you wish.  You can also give your post a heading. Any headings will also be as specified by your theme but again this can be changed so let’s make a heading, change the font and size, underline it, make it bold and then alter the font of our main paragraph.

Choosing a header 3. Once you have given your post a title (and who’s format you can’t unfortunately alter in Writer) Click on the small arrow in the box at the top of the writing area which currently says Paragraph.  A drop down list will appear allowing you to choose different headers for your chapter or paragraph.  Alternatively you can insert some text for your header (such as Let’s start Blogging!) and then highlight it, click inside the box and then choose the style for your chapter header. I have chosen Header 1 for my header. But I want to underline it as well, so again I will highlight it and then select U from the composing taskbar. Note. It is possible to alter the  font/size/style for your chapter header after you have chosen the type of header from the drop down list by simply  leaving it highlighted and then choosing Format, font, style, size.

Once your satisfied with your chosen header you can move onto the main content. If you don’t want the default font for your  main text  here is how you change that.

Selecting a font in Writer

4.  After moving you cursor from the Chapter Header to the main writing area, (Paragraph will now show in the box) click on Format from the Menu, then select font from the drop down list.  A small window will then appear where you can select a different font, its style and its size. You can also change your fonts colour here which is very useful if you wish to highlight particular text within your post.  Once you have selected your font and clicked on OK, you can begin to type in your content.  So far, Writer is working for you more or less like a simple word processor.  Now let’s change some settings in Writer for blogging.  For example, how often  you wish Writer to save your work to a draft copy so that you don’t lose any of your work.  I tend to set mine to save to draft once every 2 minutes but this is entirely up to you.  So let’s set that up next.

5. Click on Tools from the main menu bar at the very top and then select Options.  A new window will open with lot’s of different settings for you to tweak.  The top option is Preferences and here you can set up whether or not to use a single window when your editing your posts or a new window for every edit, whether or not you wish  to be taken to your blog once a post is published to it and also any reminders that you need Writer to prompt you for before  publishing a post such as Specifying a title, setting up categories and/or tags.

Editing Options6. The option that we need for now is the Editing option so click on that. I’m going to save my drafts every minute but you can choose to save a draft as often as you wish.  There are also other options that you might wish to choose here as well, including ‘show real-time word count in status bar’ which many bloggers might find useful.

There are lot’s of other options available in Writer and you might like to take a look at some of them whilst your in the Options window.  Another useful Option is the Spelling option so let’s set that up now.

Spelling choices.7. Click on the Spelling option in this window. Here you can specify which dictionary Writer should use (in my case the United Kingdom one) whether you want Writer to employ real-time spell checking, ignore words in Uppercase when spell checking, ignore words with numbers in them and/or check spelling before publishing.  Just tick each choice that you prefer and then click on OK.

We’ll take a look at some of the other settings as we need them in later posts.

Next post I will move onto inserting pictures into your post and the cool things you can do with them in Writer.

TG