Windows Live Writer is a deceptively simple yet very exceedingly powerful tool for blogging. The Wave 4 beta is a refresh that brings the Ribbon interface to give users the familiarity and ease of use of Office and Windows 7 programs.
Take a look:
See, it is completely familiar. Although the new version offers no new features, it brings it to the modern look-and-feel. This is not just another word processor. Live Writer brings “what you see is what you get” functionality to preparing blog posts. It downloads the formatting that you have set up for your blog so you see exactly what the post will look like. In the illustration above you see the layout and formatting of This ‘n That where this post will be published. Let me demonstrate the power by adding another blog account.
There is a convenient Add blog account command on the Publish tab. Live Writer also has the familiar Backstage tab with the Open, Save, and other operations including Options. The Options menu includes an Accounts tab where you can add more blog accounts. Adding an account is guided by a few quick dialogs to specify the account id and information. Then you see this:
The dialog asks: Would you like to download the blog theme by publishing a temporary post? The post will be removed immediately after your theme is retrieved. This will let you see what your posts will look like online while you are editing.
This is the greatest feature of this tool! You see your edits just as they will appear in your blog. Format, color, font, everything the way you have it set up. Here are three views, three different blogs.
Note: Hyperlinks on the two tilted illustrations connect to the respective blog.
Accessing your posts is really simple. On Windows 7 if you have Live Writer pinned to your taskbar, right-clicking the icon shows you the jump list with not only your recent drafts, but the recent posts. You can click on the post and it will be retrieved from the Internet. If you just added a new blog account and the post of interest is not in the jump list, just go to Open. The Open dialog retrieves the list of your posts and you can download any one. Here are a couple of illustrations for this task.
You can see how powerful Windows Live Writer is. But there is so much more. If you inspect the first illustration above, you will see (at the bottom of the window), tabs for Edit, Preview, and Source. Edit, of course, is the wysiwyg (“what you see is what you get”) editor. Preview shows you what your post will look like on your blog site. Source shows the HTML code. You can edit, write, or modify the code. I like to use this when I need HTML code somewhere. I just set up what I want in Edit mode, go to Source and copy the code.
Live Writer makes inserting pictures, even videos, maps, and photo albums, just as easy. You can import from your computer or from the web. Then you have a full set of Picture Tools.
If you are using your blog sites online editor, you are missing the convenience, easy, and the many features that Live Writer provides.
This is really a fantastic tool. Try it!