Windows Live Writer provides an array of options for managing images in posts. Inserting pictures in a post is so easy that many bloggers never give it a second thought. There are some features that deserve a closer look. In an earlier post I described some of the details (“Insert Picture” in Live Writer – a look behind the curtain), now I will explore some of the finer points.
With the command Insert > Picture > From your computer… Live Writer allows browsing the computer and inserts a copy of the selected photo. Clicking on the picture to select it, adds a Picture Tools tab to the ribbon.
The Picture Tools ribbon has tools for cropping, sizing, and rotating the image. Other image manipulation tools include some limited effects and contrast control, and adding a watermark. See the illustration above.
Images can have a variety of border effects and alignment and margin control are also provided. These tools provide a great deal of control over how an inserted image will appear in the post. The group “Settings” on the Picture Tools ribbon provides a “Revert to original” command and a default control to apply the settings of an image to future insertions. These tools work on images that are inserted “From your computer”. For images sourced from the web most of the image manipulation tools are not available.
There is one other group of commands, “Properties”, that finally get to the crux of our topic. The first one of these is “Link to: Source picture…”, the tool tip explains: “Choose where the link goes when this picture is clicked.” This means in the published post, of course. The command provides three options for pictures inserted from your computer: Source picture (this is the default), Web address… , and No link. For an image sourced from the web only Web address… and No link (the default for this situation) are functional.
The link to “Source image” is an interesting option, you might wonder what is the source image and where is it. Live Writer creates two copies if the image for locally inserted pictures. One is the image shown in the Live Writer composing area – the one you see as it will be in the final post. This will be uploaded by Live Writer during the “Publish” phase to your blog image store. WordPress calls that store your Media Library and you can inspect and manage the contents. When using Blogger the image store is almost inaccessible, so we will use WordPress for illustrations here.
The other image, the “source picture”, is also uploaded by Live Writer, provided the link setting is to “Source picture”. Note that this can be set on a picture by picture basis. The size of this “source picture” is set by the “Link options” command. If No link is set for a picture, only one image is uploaded, and the Link options are not available.
The Source Picture Options dialog permits setting the size of this image. Choices are Small, Medium, Large, and Original. The default normally is Large, typically 640 pixels. As with the size setting for the displayed picture, the size can be manually set by typing a new value into the size boxes. The Open in new window check box, normally unchecked, allows you to specify how the source picture will be displayed when the image in the post is clicked.
The last command in the Properties group is Alt text. This brings up the Alt-text dialog for the selected picture. The “alt text” of an Internet image is a text alternative for the image. For example reader programs assisting the blind will read this text to make clear what is shown in the browser. This blog is intended for readers who are not visually impaired and I generally leave the default word “image”, or the image file name, in the Alternate text box. If your blog is intended for all audiences, be sure to put a sufficiently descriptive line into this box.
The Title box also defaults to “image”, or the file name. The text entered into this box will be displayed as the tool tip when a reader moves the pointer over the image. This, obviously, is a very useful feature. You can see how it works by moving the pointer over any image in this post.
The illustration here shows a partial listing of the images in the Media Library showing images for this post. Notice the bottom two showing the images for the large, tilted picture at the top of this post. The bottom-most one is named “LJK_3827-33-ICE-stitch1.jpg”, that is the file name as it appears on my computer. This is the “source picture” and is stored in the Media Library in its original size since that is what I specified for this picture.
The next one up has “_thumb” appended to the file name. This is the case for all images that are shown in the post. Also note that these “_thumb” images have border and tilt features that are specified, the “source pictures” do not contain those features.
You can see how these pictures are displayed by clicking on any of them. Especially do this for the top “shelter” photo. The size of this is 1280 pixels wide, this may be wider than the setting for your browser so watch how your browser resizes this picture.
When clicking on images above in this post, the linked images are shown “bare” on a browser page, that is with just white space to the the right and below. This is fine for getting information across, but when showing off your photographic masterpieces you may want a more “scenic” display. This calls for linking to display pages such as Flickr or SkyDrive.
Here is an example. The picture of the flower links to a large “lightbox” presentation of this photo. Click on it to see. To return to this post, click you browser return button. No copy of this image is stored in my WordPress Media Library because it is sourced right from Flickr. Actually both the little one here, and the large one linked to, are on Flickr. The detailed procedures for doing this have been covered in another article: Sourcing images from Flickr,
In this article I explained how Live Writer creates two copies of inserted pictures and sends them to the blog service. I have discussed the various options and controls for managing these images. There is one more caution I should point out: If you repeatedly post a draft to your blog, Live Writer will repeatedly upload the images. You can wind up with a large number of unused images in your Media Library. To illustrate the images in my Media Library for this post before completing the article, I posted a draft to the blog. After making the screen shot showing the images in the library, I deleted the draft and the images from the library. Both steps are necessary on WordPress. Deleting the draft only gets rid of the text, the pictures have to be separately removed if duplication is to be avoided.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck