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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Windows Live Essentials 2011. Windows Live Writer.

Of all the programs included in the Windows Live Essentials suite, Live Writer was probably the most obvious one to benefit from the use of the ribbon interface. Before this update, it was amazing just how many had been using Live Writer for their blogs and were not aware of many of the features contained within it. To give one example many users did not realise they could add a watermark to their photos from within Writer or alter their photos by applying different effects. These features were all tucked away out of sight under the ‘Advanced’ area in the sidebar originally, but now that they are offered to the user in easy to see icons across the ribbon when they click on a picture or photo, they are constantly visible and only one click away to access.

The Home Ribbon.

The Home ribbon contains all that you need in order to compose and edit a blog post and includes Paste, choosing a font including its size,colour, bold, underlining etc, choose bullets, numbering and quotes and alignments for your paragraphs, your headers and their size, all depending of course on your particular themes settings, and also to use the spelling, word count, find and select all when editing your post. Inserting a Hyperlink, Picture or Video is also available from the Home ribbon as well as under the separate Insert Ribbon.

Home ribbon in Writer

Being able to dispense with the sidebar has meant that the entire width of the screen can now be employed for your blog theme and post in the editing window. Wisely, the categories box, tag box (in Wordpress) and the set post date have now been moved above the edit window allowing them to be constantly in view and so not as easily forgotten about and at the bottom left are three tabs, Edit. Preview and Source.

Full Writer edit window now full width

The Insert Ribbon.

Accessing the Insert ribbon by clicking on the Insert tab allows the user to quickly have access to all of the following, Horizontal line,Clear break, Split post ( not also added for Blogger as well as Wordpress) Table, Hyperlink, Picture, Photo Album, Video, Map, post tags, emoticon, or add a plug-in and plug in options. To add a single photo or picture, you simply click on that icon from the ribbon, choose from ‘your computer or the Web, then add your photo. Once its added to your post, you are then offered lot’s of choices in the Picture Ribbon which appears whenever you click on a photo or insert one into your post.

Picture Tools Ribbon

This Picture Tools ribbon contains all the features that you could possibly need to make your included photos and pictures look both attractive and to position them as you see fit inside your blog post. Crop, resize, rotate, tilt, different borders to apply, picture effects, contrast, place a watermark in  your picture which in the  new version already includes the copyright mark. Next you can add properties to your photo such as a link or apply alternative text. Alignment allows you  to position the picture to the right or left of any text (word wrap) or centre the picture. Lastly Margins allows you to place an ‘invisible’ margin around the picture so that your text doesn’t butt right up to the edge and look unsightly.


Blog Account Ribbon.

This ribbon actually looks rather sparse at the moment, but its here where you can have full access to your blog account. This contains Blog Options, shortcuts to your blog such as View the site, Dashboard (in the case of Wordpress) Manage Comments, then under Theme, Blog theme and Update Theme. The latter is very useful if you happen to have carried out a fairly small change to your blog such as changing the font  for example or the background.

Blog Account Ribbon

Tucked away under the very top left hand corner icon are the File options and choices. These are in a drop down list, accessed by clicking on the icon and include New post, Open local draft, Open recent post, Save (draft or post as draft online) Delete a local Draft, Publish, Print, Options and About Live Writer.

File and Blog choices

I would much prefer that most of these choices were instead added to the Ribbon interface, maybe the Blog Account one which at the moment looks very empty. New users to Live Writer are still going to find these choices hard to find, tucked away as they are under the very tiny file icon at the top left hand side.

All in all, Windows Live Writer has benefited greatly from the use of the ribbon interface, especially in the area of inserting pictures and photos to your blog post. Now all of those features that tended to be overlooked by many users previously are now easy to spot and accessible via ‘one click’ icons in the Picture Tools ribbon interface. I certainly wouldn’t dream of blogging without Live Writer, it makes all of those online editors seem very clumsy and basic.  Best of all, once you have inputted your blogs credentials into Live Writer, you can see exactly how your post will look once published as it is able to sync with your blogs chosen theme on any of the major blogging sites.

Showing full sync of a theme in Writer



  1. I LOVE Live Writer and as usual, you've explained it so well. What I don't love is once you've hit publish and then go to your blog and find the tiniest of errors. You want to correct it, so you hit edit in blogger. Once that happens, all your photos move and leave the spot you originally put them in. The only way to bypass that is to completely delete your blog entry, go back to Live Writer, fix the error and publish again. Lots of work for a fix. Now if I'm going around the fence and don't know it, tell me, TG.

  2. i stopped using Live Writer when I stopped blogging on Spaces. I was unaware that I could use it for blogger as well. Now I have to investigate! Thanks.

  3. Thankyou TG for the info. I still have the old WLW as I wasn't sure on the new upgrade, and didn't want to mess anything up.Sounds like it is okay and will at some point switch to the upgrade. You have been very helpful, thankyou for all your helpful information. I do like WLW and I like how you can switch between blogs when posting.
    Take care and have a great day.
    Dianne :)

  4. Hey Jenny if you save a draft and then post from WLW, you just go back to the draft and edit it and then rehit post and it corrects the mistakes without having to do it over again. At least that is how I do it. Dianne :)

  5. Hi TG thanks for the links to download Live writer, I've done so on my laptop but not thad the time to explore it yet, but I will, if I get stuck I'll know where to come for help, you're a star.

  6. Woohoooo! I saw what you said, Dianne, and I am beyond thrilled! Thank you ever so much!

  7. Jenny don't use the online editor! If you publish a post to your blog with Writer, then spot a mistake, simply return to Live Writer, your post that you have just published SHOULD be still there. (If it isn't then always keep saving it as a draft post on your computer) simply correct the mistake in Live Writer, and then republish! Easy peasy! Your edited post will then 'overwrite' the original one with your edited post instead. That's what I do.

    If you notice a mistake in a post days later, then simply go into Live Writer, click on File, open recent post, choose the post in question (it's probably the last one but can be any) bring down into Live Writer, edit as needed. DO NOT alter the post date. Leave it blank. DON'T be tempted to fill it in. Then simply republish! I have edited posts for years back in Live Writer this way.

  8. Boston Boy, Live Writer works with all of the major blogging sites and now uses Wordpress as its default blogging site. It works with Wordpress (both AND, Blogger, Typepad, Live Journal, etc.

  9. Thanks for your comments Dianne and Arlene. I have done loads of how-to's for Live Writer and will in all probability be doing some more for the new version.

  10. Heh. I hate the new WLW update so much that I threw a fit and rolled back the update. Now I'm going to be plagued for the rest of time by Windows telling me it wants to update. I hate ribbons and they absolutely slow me down. I'm really proficient with Excel and Word and have the same problem with ribbons too. I don't know anyone with expert levels of proficiency in these programs that prefers the ribbons (but that is not to say they don't exist).

  11. And there Emm is your answer! You are obviously proficient in using Word and Excel pre ribbon (i.e before Office 2007. The ribbon has been proved to lessen the time taken to learn someone who is NEW to that program to use it and use all of its features.
    Surely being able to easily see every feature a program contains and then only have to use one click in order to access that feature is preferable to having to search for things or worse use those old fashioned misnamed 'shortcut keys'?

  12. :o) I use my keyboard about 95% of the time and even used them with inserting images into my posts (ctrl+k, then tabbing through the options and alt+tab through the menu). There is probably a whole world of keyboard shortcuts for ribbons that I am not aware of but my bloggin would suffer badly while I figured it out so no WLW 2011 for me for the moment!

  13. Exactly. You are used to using keyboard shortcuts. But if you were learning new users to use Word or Excel or any of the Live programs, then what do you think would 'speed up' their learning? Teaching them all those keyboard shortcuts, usually involving pressing at least two keys together or simply clicking on INSERT tab on the Ribbon interface, then clicking on SINGLE PHOTO or PHOTO ALBUM? Two clicks only to access their photos/pictures and easily visible in front of their eyes.

  14. Your series on the new features of the Windows 2011 updates is great by the way. I hope you get to convert many more people over the Windows Live Writer as it really is the best blog updating program out there. I just need to get my head around the changes.


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