October 26, 2012 6 Comments
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!