With the recent changes to SkyDrive there is good reason to review and expand on linking to SkyDrive albums in blog posts.
Windows Live Writer has offered a very nice tool for a long time. It still functions just the way it always has. Old links to SkyDrive albums operate just as they did when they were placed into posts.
A quick review
Live Writer provides a tool on the Insert tab, Photo album, that downloads images from a SkyDrive album, creates a collage of thumbnails, and generates the necessary hyperlinks to the album. The illustration here shows the command location.
There are two options, “Create online album…” and “Add online album…” For most occasions the second option, to link to an existing album, is the preferred route. The album should be public, or in the vernacular of SkyDrive “Shared with Everyone (public)”.
This option allows importing from and linking to a SkyDrive album that resides in the root of the SkyDrive. That is, you cannot use albums that are sub-folders. This may seem like an unreasonable restriction, but farther down I will show workarounds for that.
You can use any SkyDrive that you have full access to, you are not limited to just one or to your own. If you have the credentials to a SkyDrive (login name and password, and, of course, the right to do so), you can use it in Live Writer. In fact Live Writer will store the credentials so selecting the SkyDrive you want is just a few clicks. The Insert Photo Album dialog is shown here. The first step is to sign in. The dialog asks for the Windows Live ID, this is now called Microsoft account. Note the drop-down arrowhead at the end of the field, this brings up stored credentials. Once you are signed in, the dialog downloads album information. As already mentioned, these are albums in the root location of the SkyDrive. Click on the album you wish to insert and click Insert.
Next, images are downloaded and the default collage is generated. Clicking on the collage enables the Photo Album Tools tab. The ribbon shows the available arrangements and clicking on an “Album style” instantly rearranges the thumbnails. There is also a “Shuffle photos” command – each click re-arranges the size and location of the thumbnails.
The code for the album link already contains the hyperlinks to the album. This is simple and straightforward. It gets a little more complicated if you wish to link to an album that is a sub-folder in another album.
Linking to SkyDrive sub-folders
The approach outlined above does not work for sub-folders, they are simply not shown in the Insert Photo Album dialog. So there are two approaches you can take.
Relocate sub-folder to root
Move the sub-folder temporarily to the SkyDrive root. The latest version of SkyDrive permits moving any folder to any other or to the root. This is very quick. Do be careful that there are no naming conflicts, if necessary rename the folder first before moving it.
After the folder, or album has been moved to the root the Live Writer insert tool can be used as described above. Once the post is completed and saved, the folder can be moved back to its original location. SkyDrive is smart enough to internally take care of all the links. Yes, that is right, you do not have to worry about the folder URL.
Make your own collage
The other method is to make your own collage, insert that as a picture, then link it to the SkyDrive album. There are numerous ways to make a collage, one of the easiest is using Picasa.
Picasa lets you set the background color (or a picture) so you can match your blog background. Each photo can be sized, rotated and shown on top or sent to back. Making a collage this way lets you arrange it just the way you like. Title the completed collage with whatever message you want to show in the tooltip. Then insert the collage picture into the post in Live Writer.
Now all that is left is to link it to your SkyDrive album. That is also quick and easy.
Open your SkyDrive album. Click on the first photo so it is shown large. Click on the URL in the browser address bar. Click Ctrl-C to save the URL to the clipboard. Then use the Hyperlink tool in Live Writer to assign that link to the picture.
Here is how such an album link would appear. I chose the title “view album of Tall Ships in Savannah”. Try it.
Tall Ships in Savannah
For a post in my photo blog Gallery Ludwig click on the picture below. This photo was inserted and then rotated in Live Writer. Live Writer has an array of useful Picture Tools.
© 2012 Ludwig Keck