Posts Tagged SkyDrive

Sourcing SkyDrive photos may fail

SkyDrive has made recent changes (August 2012) that may cause sourced images to not show.

Especially for my “boilerplate” at the bottom of posts, I source little images from a SkyDrive album called “Utilities”. Prior to August 1, 2012, the sharing of this folder was set to “People with a view link” and worked perfectly across my various blogs. image

Then all my links on the bottom suddenly no longer showed the little pictures, my links at the bottom looked like this:

image

The links worked fine, of course the readers had no clue unless they moved the pointer to the image placeholders.

Changing the sharing setting to Everyone restored the images to operational status.

If you notice that your SkyDrive sourced images no longer show up in your posts, check the Sharing setting.

imageClick Sharing to display the settings, click Share folder.  In the next dialog click Get a link. Click the Make public button.

You can ignore the public share URL provided.

Continue to source images as before:

Click the image, in the information pane on the right click View original. Then copy the URL from the browser address bar (Ctrl+C).

This does mean that your sourced images have to be public, and when people get into your SkyDrive they can see the pictures. It also means that Microsoft is more careful with the access controls, and that is really a good thing.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

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Linking to SkyDrive Albums

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

the Insert Photo album toolLive 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. Insert Photo Album dialogIn 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.Photo Album Tools

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. moving SkyDrive foldersThe 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

Picasa collage toolThe 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.

get URL of SkyDrive albumNow 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

view album of 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.

view blog post 'Tall Ships in Savannah'

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

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Sourcing photos from SkyDrive is now easy

For some time there was no straightforward way to get the URLs of photos in Windows Live SkyDrive albums. With the recent update (November 2011) there is now easy access to the original photos stored in SkyDrive.

imageThe information pane for a photo now contains a “View original” link. So with just one click the browser goes to and displays the original. The URL can be easily copied from the browser address bar.

image

SkyDrive web addresses, URLs, are incredibly long, typically more than 140 characters. No way can you write those done, so just copy the URL with Ctrl+C and then paste it to the destination with Ctrl+V. This works just fine with the Live Writer InsertPicture tool. imageimageClick From the web… to open the Insert Web Image dialog.

The photo is previewed in the dialog window. Click Insert to place it into your post.

The image will be inserted in full size and most likely overflow the blog margins and the Live Writer window. In the Size group of the Picture Tools ribbon click Lock aspect ratio, then you can resize the image to fit as you like. Remember you can replace the size value to obtain a custom size, you are not limited to the presets of Small, Medium, or Large.

image

If you forget to click Lock aspect ratio the resized image will be stretched or squashed, just redo the operation.

By default, for an imported web image, the Link to: setting will be None. If you wish to link to the actual image in SkyDrive or to another web address, click the down arrowhead next to the option, then select Web address… the Insert Hyperlink dialog opens. imageYou will need to paste the URL of the image or whatever you want to link to. Be sure to fill in the Title: field. If you don’t see the field, click Advanced. The text in the Title: field will be shown in a text balloon when a viewer hovers the pointer on the image in your post.

If you wish to link to the image in your album as shown in SkyDrive, use the image address for this photo, do not get and insert the Embed code (offered in the information pane). The embed code is an “iframe” set that is stripped out by WordPress for wordpress.com blogs. imageIt can be used on webpages and self-hosted blogs. But that is really another topic.

One note of caution: The SkyDrive sharing system has been extensively revised. The prior settings have been “grand-fathered” in. I urge you to carefully learn the new approach to sharing. Files and photos take the share setting of the containing folder (or album), they can also be shared individually. For sharing images in a public blog, be sure that the image sharing is set to Everyone, either for the photo or for the containing folder.

As you can see in the illustration at the right, the new, simpler system is anything but. Sharing is sure to cause a lot of confusion and there are bound to be changes soon.

.:.

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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Using SkyDrive Photos in Your Blog Post

UPDATE 10 December 2011: SkyDrive has been updated, URLs are again easily accessible. See Sourcing photos from SkyDrive is now easy.

Windows Live SkyDrive offers a good amount of storage – 25 Gigabytes – and has nice photo albums. Unfortunately, at present there is not an easy way to determine the web address, URL, of images in SkyDrive. One work-around is explained over at This ‘n That: Getting the real URL of a Photo on SkyDrive. If you need to get the URLs of several photos this becomes a real pain. There is an interesting way to get the web address of all the photos in a root level SkyDrive album that has sixteen or fewer images.  Still not easy or straightforward, but it works.

Getting the URLs for up to 16 photos in a SkyDrive album

imageWindows Live Writer has a neat tool for including a SkyDrive album. On the Insert tab in the Media group click on Photo album and select Add online album… This opens a dialog that allows you to log into your SkyDrive and then shows icons of your albums. imageNote that you cannot reach an album inside an album, this works only for root level albums. Click the album you want and then click Insert. Windows Live Writer downloads the photos from the album. Only sixteen will be downloaded if the album is larger than that.

The default album presentation shows a large thumbnail and a group of smaller ones. You can leave that nice grouping as part of your post, but for this discussion we are after the URLs of the photos. Click the Source tab (lower left) to view the HTML code of the post. For the album Live Writer will have generated a large block of code that includes the actual web addresses, URLs, of the photos in the thumbnails.

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The Live Writer Find command does not allow copying the found text with the search box showing, so it is not of much use for this task. imageI copy the block of code and paste it into Notepad. Searching for the the URLs and copying them is much easier there. There are a number of URLs that are not of interest (the “VIEW SLIDE SHOW” and “DOWNLOAD ALL” links) so I like to search for “livefilestore”. Be sure to copy the address from “https:” all the way to the next quote mark. imageActually the last part after the image file name is not needed, the text “?psid=1” can be safely removed from the address. Copy those URLs and save them in a document so you will not need to go through this exercise again. Also make sure that the addresses work. I always paste the first one into my browser address field and take a look. The address should take you to the image all by itself. The image on the right links to the full size photo on SkyDrive, click on it to view it large.

Using the SkyDrive Photo URLs

Once you have the URLs to your photos you can use those addresses to link to the SkyDrive image. Of course, the primary use will be to show the photos in blog posts. imageThere is some bad news I have to share. If the photos are large, Live Writer cannot handle them. Let me explain. To insert a photo you select From the web… on the insert Picture command (on the Home or Insert tab). The URL is entered in the Insert Web Image dialog. If Live Writer is unhappy with the image you get an error message “Preview is currently unavailable.” imageYou can click OK and then Insert. This may or may not succeed.

For photos in posts the image size need not be screen-filling, and Live Writer handles smaller images just as you would expect. The photo below is just 640 pixels in the larger dimension. This also has the advantage that it loads quite rapidly.

The photo below comes from the album collection inserted farther down, but it links to a larger photo in another album.

When you include the album feature, a viewer has access to your public albums (and documents!). Using the URLs by themselves provides no such exposure, and allows you to lay out your post just the way you want.

One other downside: Microsoft is constantly “improving” SkyDrive and Windows Live applications. The procedures given here worked as described in October 2011. They might not work by the time you read this.

.:.

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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A SkyDrive Photo Album in your Blog Post

Sometimes a single photo just is not enough. Windows Live Writer offers an attractive way to insert a link to a SkyDrive album. You can select from a number of layouts to show thumbnails from the album.

Here is an album of photos from the Georgia Botanical Garden. This is a working link, of course, just click on any part of it to see the SkyDrive album.

Here is the procedure:

As you are writing your article in Windows Live Writer , click the Insert tab. In the Media group click Photo Album, then select Add online album… The command is illustrated here.

SDalbums01If you are signed in to Live Writer the insert dialog will download information from your SkyDrive. You can change to another account by clicking Switch user.

SDalbums07

 

 

Select the album that you wish to insert by clicking the thumbnail, then click Insert.

The default layout, called “Album style”, is the first one shown in the Photo Album Tools Ribbon which comes up when the album set is clicked. Note that there is a Shuffle photos command to change the order of the thumbnails in the set.

Illustrated below is the Photo Album Tools Ribbon and a selection of the album styles that are available. Just click on another style to rearrange the looks of the thumbnails.SDalbums08

The title of the album will be shown as it is on SkyDrive. This can be edited by just editing the text – as you can see in this article.

There will be two links added to the thumbnail set, “VIEW SLIDE SHOW” and “DOWNLOAD ALL”. These cannot be removed. The “VIEW…” link with take your viewer to your SkyDrive album. There the visitor can step through the photos – unfortunately the automatically running slide show is no longer available (as of July 2011). Your visitor can download the album from the blog or from the SkyDrive album. Please note that visitors have access to all of the public folders in your SkyDrive.

You can really dress up a post with these thumbnail sets and make your photos in SkyDrive available to your readers.

 

.:.

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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Sourcing images from the new SkyDrive

UPDATE 10 December 2011: SkyDrive has been updated, URLs are again easily accessible. See Sourcing photos from SkyDrive is now easy.

Illustrating blogs with images makes them more interesting and informative and Live Writer makes the process of inserting pictures very easy. You can use photos from your computer and Live Writer takes care of uploading them to your blog file store. Images can also be sourced from other locations on theimage web. My post “Sourcing blog post images from SkyDrive” explained the process in detail.  The recent facelift of SkyDrive introduced changes that necessitates these revised instructions.

The look of the new SkyDrive has been handsomely improved, more of that is covered in my post “The new SkyDrive – Bouquets and Brickbats”. When you display an album the thumbnails are larger and show the image in correct proportions. The next level is similar to the slide show view in the previous version.

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There is no additional view, as before, that shows the image in an otherwise empty browser window. That is where one got the image URL in the past.

Sourcing with “Embed” code

REVISED AFTER POST – The “embed” code does not work! It is stripped during publishing.

DO NOT USE THIS METHOD!

Before inserting an image from your SkyDrive, make sure that the album containing the photo is shared publicly. imageThe easiest way to bring a picture from SkyDrive to a blog post is the “embed” method. Note the Sharing group in the information pane to the right of the photo. There is a link “Embed”. Click it to obtain the code. In the next page click in the code box. It will be selected, highlighted, and you can copy it with Ctrl+C to the clipboard. Then, in Windows Live Writer, just place the pointer where you want the image and press Ctrl+V to paste it in. You don’t need to do this in Source view, this works fine in Edit view. Here is what you get:

It looks like this and there is a hyperlink to the SkyDrive page of this image. It work in Preview, but during publishing the code appears to get stripped.

image

Nice, quick, you couldn’t ask for more. Or could you? Click on the image and the tools in the Ribbon are greyed out. There is no Picture Tools tab. You cannot change the size, location, nor specify text wrapping. Yes, clever blogging geeks can make changes to the code in Source view, but even that is a rather aggravating. If you can be happy with an illustration as shown here, you can use this method. There is one nice feature: A hyperlink is already present that takes the reader to the full view of the image in SkyDrive, with access to the other pictures in the album (and other public albums and files). If this is not to your liking there is another way.

When this is published all you get is an URL text that may or may not connect to something. So this method does not work! Here in Windows Live Writer is an image that looks right and works in preview, but see what you really get in the actual published post:

https://skydrive.live.com/embedphoto.aspx/Blog%20100105/2009-09-07%20McDFP-90907%20002%20526%2051024×6826.jpg?cid=d2dab0a6f31577f8&sc=photos

 

Sourcing the image directly

To get control over the image size and placement you can get the address to the iimagemage – sort of. In the full view SkyDrive, right-click the image. You may see Copy image location, or Copy image URL, or Copy image address. Some browser do not offer the image address (URL) directly, including Internet Explorer, but you can get it by clicking Properties at the bottom of the menu and then copying it from the properties listing. This address can be used in the Live Writer Insert Picture dialog. imageClick Picture in the Insert group of the Ribbon, then click From the web… In the next dialog paste (Ctrl+V) the address of the image. A preview of the image will be shown. If you don’t get the preview, you did not get the address correctly.

Click Insert and the picture will be inserted full size into your post. It likely will spill over beyond the post margin. Click on the picture to select it, the Picture Tools tab will be displayed. Click Lock aspect ratio, then select a size, Small, Medium or Large. You can manually set the size, of course. You can set the alignment and margins around the picture and a simple frame, or none, as is usual with web-sourced images. Do not attach a hyperlink to the address you used for the picture. It will not work. You cannot show the image full-size in a browser window. You can get the address of the image in SkyDrive from the browser address bar. This will give your reader access to that image in your SkyDrive and all other public material.image

If you do not wish your reader to have access to your SkyDrive album (and more), simply set the link setting in Picture ToolsProperties to No link.

Sadly, the self-running slide show feature is no longer available in SkyDrive. Let’s hope that this is just a temporary shortcoming.

.:.

© 2011 Ludwig Keck

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