Windows Live Writer. the new Wave 4 version.
June 29, 2010 5 Comments
I have recently been putting the new beta version of Live Writer through its paces, and I thought that some of you might be interested in my findings. For most WordPress users there are some very useful new features available in the Ribbon Interface and I will feature some of these now.
The first welcome addition for WordPress users is the ability to not only go straight to your dashboard from the ribbon, but also to be able to manage your comments as well as go straight to your blog. I think that WordPress users will really welcome this new feature.
As in the previous version, your WordPress Categories, publish date and tags can all be set up in the separate boxes assigned for each, and these are now less likely to be forgotten because instead of being placed at the bottom of the edit window, they are more prominently placed at the top directly underneath the ribbon.
Your different headers and how they will look are now viewable inside the HTML styles area of the HOME ribbon, so you are given some idea of exactly how a heading will look in contrast to the rest of your text as you choose it. Word count has also now been handily placed at the right hand side of this ribbon in order to provide easier access and provide you with instant information for your blog content so far.
So to change some text into one of the header styles, you simply highlight it, click on your chosen header such as Heading 1 or Heading 2 and the text will then change allowing you to see exactly how it looks in your post. A return or Enter then returns you to the Paragraph format. All formatting of your text such as the font used, the size of font, Bold, Italic, highlight text, colour, bullets, numbering, block quotes and alignment of your paragraph are also simply one click away on the HOME tab ribbon.
The Insert ribbon has gained some interesting additions in this build of Live Writer. Beginning on the left of the ribbon, you can insert a Horizontal line, Clear break, and in WordPress a Split post where you will enable only a brief introduction to your post on your Home page which allows readers to continue to a full page of your post by clicking on More. Its also from the Insert ribbon where you can add a table to your post, a Hyperlink, Picture, a Photo Album, a Video, a Map using Bing Maps, add some tags to your post using most of the current tag providers, add some of the new Emoticons and also add any of the extra plug ins such as the Polaroid Picture plug in. You can also go online to find some other plug ins from this Insert ribbon area.
I personally have found the new Split Post most useful for both of my WordPress blogs, because this new feature allows you to fit more of your blog posts into the Main Home page on WordPress which in turn enables more of your posts to be made visible to your readers from that page. Neither of my current themes support this feature by default either, so this is a very welcome addition to the new version of Live Writer.
The last version of Live Writer introduced the new concept of Photo Albums so that users could add a whole album of photographs for their readers to view, and in this version, some new Photo Album themes have been added which really do look fantastic. Not only that, they allow the reader to click through from the blog post to download the whole Photo Album if they wish or alternatively view it in a Slideshow format.
As previously, you can shuffle the photos around inside the Photo Album, set up its privacy and decide on the size of the included photos or pictures. Text wrapping is also available with your inserted Photo Album and you can also resize it by clicking on it and then dragging each corner until its the size you prefer.
Another very welcome new addition to the Watermark feature that is available to add to a photo that you insert into your post is that the copyright symbol is now included by default.
Once you have inserted a photo that you wish to copyright, you simply click on the photo in question, select the watermark feature from the Picture Tools ribbon, insert your chosen copyright name into the first box after the copyright marker and then choose your font and size and also position in the photo where you wish your copyright watermark to appear. This is a brilliant idea for those users who wish to copyright all of their included photographs.
In the actual photo area, lot’s of new photo effects have also been added to the ones that were available in Wave 3. I will try and demonstrate some of the new ones here.
Here is the original photo of the wooden house on the Isle of Arran. I am going to apply some of the new effects to it so that you can see what is available from inside the new Windows Live Writer. All you need to do is click on the picture to bring up the Picture Tools ribbon, and then click on Picture Effects.
The first choice in this drop down Menu is Recolour which contains small icons showing all of the different colour options such as cool, black/white. sepia etc. That choice is followed by Sharpen, then Gaussian Blur which adds a very old photo effect to your picture and finally emboss. You can see some of these applied to my photo below.