Windows Live Writer. What happens now?

 

On Wednesday, Chris Jones outlined Microsoft’s plans for Windows 8 and also the rebranding of Windows Live Essentials suite of desktop programs. Windows Live as a brand is to be dropped, and he included a table showing the old named programs and their equivalent names going forward. What was most noticeable from this table was the absence of any Live Writer app for Windows 8.

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As Windows Live Writer has become a well loved blogging editor by many users over the years since its beginning, it obviously raises questions as to any long term plans for this wonderful program, which in my case I use extensively for all of my blogs and without which I would probably be lost. 

Live Writer has always made use of every aspect of other programs such as Photo Gallery, SkyDrive to save your photos and photo albums, or including a Bing map to give just a few examples. Moreover, during its lifetime, its team has always been one of the most helpful to its users and also been at the ‘cutting edge’ for introducing new and innovative feature into Writer.

They set up a Live Writer forum especially to help users having problems and gain feedback from them for features they would love to be included. Once when I was having some difficulties getting Writer to sync with one of my blogs, I was contacted by one of the team via email. Wherever possible, users requests for features were incorporated into Writer in the next update, and it now contains many features that other blogging editors can only dream of. For example, they were the first to incorporate Photo Album into the product, which allows you to include a full album of photos in a blog post so that your readers can then go and view every photo in that album on SkyDrive by simply clicking on it inside your blog post. The album can be attractively presented in many innovative ways and contain as many photos in it as you like, yet is kept in the size of your blog post. This brilliant idea was then subsequently ported over to online Hotmail posts and also Windows Live Mail.

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Live Writer is also one step ahead of Photo Gallery by allowing you to add a watermark to any photo that you include in a blog post, and there are many more instances where the Writer team have ‘led the way’ with new features where other teams have been lacking. Not only that, you have been able to ‘tailor’ Writer to how you use it by the inclusion of Writer ‘plug ins’ which add many useful features that may not have been included in Live Writer at the time. These include such additions as being able to add a Polaroid picture into your post or add images from your Picasa Web Albums, Facebook or Flickr if you tend to store your pictures there. Some of the more popular plug ins were then subsequently added to Writer by the team, such as being able to add an assortment of smileys to your post or the very popular Polaroid photo feature.

The Writer team have always been open to suggestions for new features from their users and have always been willing to help users when they have encountered problems. In fact, previous versions of Live Writer actually included a ‘help’ button to allow you to contact the team directly. It’s why I always considered the Live Writer team to be my favourite Live team simply because they were willing to listen to their users.

Now we face the fact that maybe Windows Live Writer is no longer going to be supported by Microsoft in the future, and that a Windows 8 Writer app is not on the horizon. As I own a Windows phone, I was also hoping for not only a Writer app for Windows 8, but also one for both tablets and mobiles so I could compose a blog post ‘on the go’. My great friend Scott Lovegrove who has coded many plug ins for Writer has begun a petition at http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/dontkillwlw and if you love using Live Writer as much as I do for your blogs, then please take a few moments to sign it. It could make all the difference.

Thanks TG

Windows Live Writer, Dual postings.

One if the big advantages of using Windows Live Writer to publish your blogs posts is if you have more than one blog and each is on different blogging platforms. I am in this position, I have two blogs on WordPress.com and also two on Blogger. Windows Live Writer allows me to send the same post to both at the same time, so I can do a ‘double’ posting to each one. In this post, I will be showing you how to do this, step by step.  Firstly you will need to set up both your WordPress.com blog in Live Writer and also your Blogger blog. For this how to, I’m going to use my Photo blogs in order to demonstrate how to set them up in Writer and then how to publish the exact same post to both of them.

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Windows Live Writer. the new Wave 4 version.

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.

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Blogging with Windows Live Writer. 10.

Adding Some Plug-ins. Cool Emotion, Bullets and Horizontal Line.

In this post, I intend to cover some more Live Writer plug-ins that many of you might find useful. These are the Cool Emotion plug-in, the Bullets plug-in and the Horizontal Line plug in. These three plug-ins do not have their own sidebar menu as the Polaroid Picture plug in and therefore do not warrant as much explanation.

1. To add them, Click on the Add a plug-in from the bottom of the Insert list in the Sidebar menu. You will need to search for them by inputting their names into the search box on Windows Live Gallery. Once they are installed on your computer, they will appear in the Insert list in Windows Live Writer. Firstly, we’ll take a look at the Cool Emotion plug in.

2. Click on Cool Emotion from the list. The Cool Emotion window will then open.  You have a total of 13 separate pages of different emoticons to add to the text of your blog. Emoticons are useful to give your readers that extra insight about how you feel personally regarding the content inside your blog post or just to add a bit of fun!

Inserting lots of cool emoticons3. You can add as many emoticons at a time as you wish. Simply click the ones you wish to add to your text and then  click on Insert. To access the other pages, click on the number box at the top and choose another page number. Try them all out! They’re so cool!

    


4. Next well try the Horizontal Line plug in which is really simple to use and all you need to do if you wish to insert a horizontal line into your text is simply make sure your cursor is at the position where you wish the line to appear, and then click on Horizontal Line from the Insert list. (See above and below.)


5. The last one well take a look at is the Bullets plug in. What on earth are bullets? Well, if you wish to list some points inside a post for example, you could use either numbers to do so or bullets. You would normally use numbers if you were doing a blog post about something where you needed the reader to know which step was before the next one. (like in many of my how-to’s)  However, if your content was not necessarily sequential or ‘step by step’ for the reader to follow but simply a list of points that can be read in any order, then bullets are normally used.  Normally bullets are usually simple black ‘dots’. The Bullets plug in allows you to ‘spice up’ your points that you wish to make inside your blog post so that they look more attractive as I will illustrate below.

     Here is my very first point.
     And here is my second point.

6. You can specify how many bullets you wish to use from the Bullets window, choose which bullet to use, how much space you wish to place between the bullet and  your text and also add your own customised bullets in the Custom Bullets tab.

Bullets!

  These star one’s look pretty cool.
  Don’t they?
  Or don’t you like them? They are found in the Custom Bullets tab.

  • Here so that you can compare is the usual ‘bullet’ which is simply a black dot. So to sum up the bullets plug in allows you to use some more attractive bullets to your points made inside your blog post.

In my next post, we’ll take a look at the other kind of plug-in for writer. The one’s that are not visible in the Insert list, but instead are invoked only when you publish a post and/or are included as a ‘button’ in your post for your readers to make use of so that they can ‘spread the word’ about your blog. 

TG

Digg This
Digg This

Windows Live Writer 11.

Changing your blog theme.

In this post I intend to cover re-syncing Windows Live Writer if you ever decide to change the theme in your blog.  We all tend to do this from time to time especially me, I am always trying out different themes for my blogs, especially on Blogger.  Once you have set up your new theme on whatever blogging site you happen to use, then its very important to update your blogs Windows Live Writer  settings so that it can fully work with your new theme or the formatting etc will be incorrect for any of your new posts.

At the moment I am using the Journalist theme on this WordPress blog, and to give Windows Live Writer a very tough test in its syncing abilities, I intend for this post to change it to a much wider theme.  I’ll take some screen grabs of the Live Writer compose screen before and after in order to illustrate how this works . First of all, here is my current theme inside the  Live Writer compose window. 

My Current theme in Live Writer

Next I will go and choose another theme for this WordPress blog. To really tax Live Writer I have changed from an average width theme  to a much wider one . See the next screen shot of my new chosen theme in WordPress.

New theme in WordPress

Next I need to update Live Writer  so that I can see exactly how my posts will look like inside the compose window. In order to do this  I click on the View tab and then select Refresh Theme from the drop down list. Live Writer will then attempt to  sync itself with your newly chosen  theme. As soon as Live Writer has completed its download of your new settings for your new theme, it should then appear in Writer’s composing window.

Allowing Writer to pubish a test post to your blog NOTE. If Live Writer asks you if it can publish a temporary post to your new theme then click on YES. That post will be automatically deleted once Writer has the full configuration of the new theme.

New Theme inside Live Writer

To illustrate this, here’s a picture of my new WordPress theme inside the Windows Live Writer compose screen!  Now isn’t that clever?  I can now see exactly how my posts will look inside my new theme. Next post I’ll show you how to set up all those plug-ins that only tend to function as you publish your blog post to your blog such as Facebook Notification, DiggThis, Twitter Notify etc and TweetMeme.

 TG

 

 

 

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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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