Windows Live Writer dates from ancient history by modern standards, it was born back in the days when Microsoft offered “Spaces”. That was a personal web site and blogging service. Live Writer offered a a WYSIWYG, “what you see is what you get”, interface to make preparing blog posts really easy and accessible to everyone. Images were stored on your Spaces site.
Spaces is long gone, the online storage became SkyDrive and changed name more recently to OneDrive. Live Writer is part of Windows Essentials and hasn’t been updated in two years. Still, Live Writer is the best blogging editor there is. Nothing else comes close.
Does Live Writer work with OneDrive?
Absolutely, and beautifully too! OneDrive, unlike other “cloud” photo storage services, is organized in folders and sub-folders just like the file storage system on computers. There have been many changes and improvements in OneDrive cloud storage but no matching updates to Live Writer, so it works as it did years ago. Some compromises are required and some new quirks have been introduced, but these you can live with. In the next section I will take a look at the various features and describe how they work nowadays – mid-year 2014.
To check the current operation, I prepared two blog posts to illustrate the features and problems. I first prepared and published the post on Gallery Ludwig. Here is a screen capture of the way it looks. I incorporated a number of the unique features that Live Writer offers for managing the appearance and layout of illustrations. After publication to Gallery Ludwig, a WordPress blog, I opened the post in Live Writer and selected another of my blogs, Café Ludwig, that is very different in layout, so I made scaling changes to fit the post into the narrower layout of that blog, and published it to Café Ludwig, a Blogger blog.
Live Writer has some nice picture effects like tilting the image, applying frames and more. Most of these effects are only available when the image is sourced from the computer as you prepare the post. Specifically frames, tilting, watermarks, and picture effects require local photos. Live Writer adds these changes to a new copy of the image. This new image is uploaded to the blog site when the post is published. In fact Live Writer may upload two copies, a “thumbnail” and a “source picture”. If the blog is hosted by WordPress the images go to the Media Library. When hosted on Blogger the images are sent to your Google Photos album to an album by the name “Windows Live Writer”. The images in the post are the “thumbnails”. Live Writer will provide a hyperlink to the “source picture” if that is selected in the properties section.
My preference is to use the “Source picture” option very little, because the browser display it in just a plain, ugly view of the photo. I prefer to link to a photo in a OneDrive album, or folder. This gets us to sourcing from OneDrive.
Sourcing images from OneDrive
OneDrive has become an easy to operate online file storage system. Sourcing photos from a OneDrive album is best done by accessing it in a browser. The image must have sharing set to “Everyone”, that is public. This is best done by having the containing folder set to public sharing. When the photo is displayed in OneDrive the URL in the browser address bar provides a link to that page.
The illustration above shows the URL selected to be copied (Ctrl+C) so it is available for use in Live Writer.
To link a picture that was sourced from the computer, click on the picture, then click Insert > Hyperlink. The copied URL will already be in the dialog.
If special features on the image are not needed, it is easy to source the image right from OneDrive. This way Live Writer will not need to upload the photo to the blog site. For this approach click “View original” when the photo is viewed (see the illustration above). This shows the photo by itself. The URL may now be copied from the browser address bar.
In the post draft in Live Writer select Insert > Picture – From the web. Then paste the URL into the dialog. Click Insert. Then you can position the image, resize, set the margins on the Picture Tools ribbon (click the picture to bring up this ribbon).
You can arrange the layout as you like. Remember that you downloaded the blog layout settings when you added the blog account to Live Writer.
One of the beautiful features of Live Writer is the ability to add a collage of photos from an OneDrive album.
Adding a collage from a OneDrive album
Live Writer can prepare a collage right from the pictures in a OneDrive album. There is one important catch: The album must not be a sub-folder. It has been this way from the earliest days of Live Writer, so this is nothing new. If you are newly uploading the photos to your OneDrive, just make sure you do it in a newly created folder right on the first page. Make that folder public. If you already have an album that you wish to use, move it to the first page. After you have prepared the post in Live Writer you can move your album to any folder or subfolder as you wish. Don’t worry about breaking links – none will be broken. That is part of the charm of OneDrive!
Time and “improvements” in OneDrive have made the links that are on the collages operate not as expected, but close. The “VIEW SLIDE SHOW” link just gets you to the OneDrive album. You don’t get a “Play slide show” option until you click one of the pictures. The links of the individual square thumbnails get you to the “View original” display of the full sized image in a plain browser window. This, by the way, is lost in the translation to another blog. You can check that in the Café Ludwig post. Guess that is asking just a bit too much of Live Writer.
So as you can see, OneDrive and Live Writer work very nicely together. That you can move folders around in OneDrive without breaking any links is a really nice feature. After preparing the first post with the two collages I moved the folder from the main page to a sub-folder. As you can easily ascertain, the links work fine.
© 2014 Ludwig Keck