Posts Tagged Windows Live Writer
Windows Live Writer is the unsurpassed blogging editor for its effective WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editing environment. Great strides have been made by the blogging service providers in creating themes, designs or templates with headers and backgrounds. Some of these features confuse Live Writer and do not appear in the editor as they look in the finished blog. This may be just a bother, but with some designs these features can obscure the typing in Live Writer.
The WordPress theme and custom header used with this blog is a good example. Here is how the Live Writer editor window looks with the freshly downloaded theme (Blog Account tab > Update theme).
The post title entry box is partially obscured by the header image as is part of the main text area. This is particularly troublesome when the image is the same color as the text – you can’t read your own writing!
Here is another example, this time the background image in the actual blog is overlaid with a semitransparent text area. Live Write is confused by this and it shows the background in its full glory. Seeing the entered text is difficult.
If you are bothered by such a situation, here is my work-around solution.
When the blog theme is downloaded from the blog site the header and background images are placed along with other material into a folder named “blogtemplates”. The trick is to modify these images so they will not be bothersome when used by Live Writer. My solution is to just draw a white or light gray box in the appropriate location. With that done the Live Writer window looks like this:
Now the Live Writer edit window is completely useful and preparing a post is fast, easy, and convenient. The modified local image files will not affect the blog, you see these images only in Live Writer.
The first step is to locate the folder “blogtemplates”. The easiest way is to open Windows Explorer (File Explorer in Windows 8). Then click Local Disk under Computer in the navigation pane (If you renamed your main dirve look for that name. It is usually your C: drive). In the search box enter blogtemplates. The folder will be found in C:\User\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Windows Live Writer. Of course, you can step through the folders and get there that way.
Now it gets a bit interesting. Computers are completely tasteless when it comes to naming folders. If you have more than one blog, as I do, you will see a weirdly named folder for each blog. Of course, there is no indication as to which belongs to what. You can look through the folders to find the header or background image, you will recognize it more easily if you set the file listing display to large icons. An easier way is to download the theme for the blog of interest, the folder will then have the current date and time as the Date modified. (See below.)
There will be two subfolders in the the blog template folder. It is the second subfolder that contains the offending images (at least on the computers I tried it on it was always the second folder.)
You can load the header or background image into Paint and there draw a light-colored rectangle over the area where text entry will take place. My approach was to get the correct width by doing a screen capture of the open blog in a browser and then clipping out a bit of the text area and pasting it to the appropriate location in Paint.
Note of caution: Both subfolders in the theme folder in blogtemplates will have the header and background images. If you make the changes in the wrong one, you will not see the correction in Live Writer. I have not explored the reason for two subfolders and how the contents is used. If you mess up royally just update the theme to get new files downloaded and start over.
© 2012 Ludwig Keck
Boilerplate (Wikipedia: Boilerplate (text)) … any text that is or can be reused in new contexts or applications without being changed much from the original. …
For blog posts some repeating text, especially with graphics and hyperlinks, can be very useful to provide credits, references and links to other sites or pages. For posts here, I use such “boilerplate” to provide links to my home site and to my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages. Here, then, a quick tutorial on making and using boilerplate.
There are a number of plugins for Windows Live Writer that make inserting boilerplate very easy. I use Text Template Plugin for Windows Live Writer by Greg Duncan. Plugins can be be found on the Windows Live Plug-ins site (trust it is still there by the time you read this).
Creating the boilerplate
1. First, of course, you decide what the boilerplate should say, look like, and do. For this quick tutorial I will use my “created with Live Writer” slug (once more Wikipedia: Slug (typesetting)). Write down the text and make a sketch of any graphics and list any links.
2. If your boilerplate is to include an image, you must first create the image. I used Paint to prepare the text with the graphics. Here is what it looked like (frame added for illustrating the graphic). My original image was 1287 by 180 pixels. As you can see, it contains text and an image of the Windows Live Writer logo.
3. Scale the image to the actual size that it should be in use and save it as a JPG file. Mine is 360 x 50 pixels.
4. Upload the image, or images, to a site so you can use the graphic repeatedly without having to upload it each time. The easiest way is to insert the graphics into a post in Windows Live Writer. Set the Size to Original and the Link to option to No link so WLW will upload only one copy. Upload the post as a draft to your blog.
5. Now you have stored the image or images in an accessible online site.
If you are using WordPress, find your image by going to your WordPress Dashboard > Media > Library. Find the graphic, click Edit. Copy the File URL. That is the web address for the graphic that you will re-use again and again.
If you are using Blogger your graphic will be in your Picasa Web Albums. Click Show All Albums, find the album titled Windows Live Writer – your newly added graphics should be at the end. Click the graphic to show it it large on a page, right-click the image and click Copy image URL (this may be different depending on your browser). Now the URL is on your clipboard, save it for later use (I use NotePad for this).
6. Set the boilerplate in a new Windows Live Writer post. Type the text and insert the graphics with Insert > Picture > From the web. Use the URL for the graphics. Insert any hyperlinks. Make all the positioning adjustments so the boilerplate looks just as you want it.
7. Click the Source tab in the lower left of the Live Writer window. Copy the source code. This is what you will need. I pasted mine into NotePad and saved the file. You can reuse this saved code from this file or you can install it in a plugin. If you wish to use a plugin, read the next section, otherwise just skip over it.
Prepare for reuse with a plugin
2. Go to the plugins download page, install a plugin you like. I found Text Template in the Other content insertion section.
3. As they used to say in school, the remainder is left to the student as an exercise. Since the details vary, depending on which plugin you choose, I will not go through the installation and setup procedure. You will find your way easily enough.
Reusing your boilerplate
When you come to the place in a post where the boilerplate should appear you can insert the code form the saved file or install it using the plugin.
Directly install saved code
- Open the saved code file.
- Copy all the code – select all > copy with Ctrl+C.
- Click the Source tab in Live Writer. Scan down to the end. Paste the code (Ctrl+V).
- Click the Edit tab. Your boilerplate will be there in all its glory.
Install with Plugin
- Click the Insert tab.
- Click the plugin. Select the slug. Click OK (This may vary depending on the chosen plugin).
- Your boilerplate will be there in all its glory.
Now, wasn’t that easy? Actually, you will find it easier to do and faster than you might think. Go do it!
Take a moment to admire my boilerplate here. It consists of some text and several graphics with hyperlinks. Go ahead, give me a thrill by trying the links.
© 2012 Ludwig Keck
This post created with Windows Live Writer
Show that you are using the best, easiest blogging tool, Windows Live Writer, at the end of every post. Give others a link to get their own copy of the greatest blogging tool out there!
You are welcome to copy the image that I am using at the bottom of this post.
Below is my code for my WLW credit line. You are welcome to use this as is. It grabs the image from my site. That’s OK I will keep it there. Of course, you are welcome to upload an image of your own to your file store.
Here is what the code looks like. Do not copy and paste this, as some of the characters will get mangled:
<p><a title=”Windows Live Writer” href=”http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-live/essentials-other-programs”><img style=”background-image: none; border-right-width: 0px; padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; display: block; float: none; border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; margin-left: auto; border-left-width: 0px; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px” title=”Windows Live Writer – download your own copy” border=”0″ alt=”LiveWriter-credit-360″ src=”http://ludwigkeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/livewriter-credit-360.jpg” width=”360″ height=”50″></a></p>
© 2012 Ludwig Keck
A blog post is a short article posted on a blog site. What you are reading now is a post on the Live Writer Basics blog. In this article I want to take my newer blogger friends a little bit behind the scenes to help them learn the details and mechanisms of a blog post.
First a bit about blog sites and services
A vast number of blogs are hosted by WordPress, as is this blog. There are other blogging services and they differ in many respects from WordPress, but I will quickly go over how a blog functions on WordPress. A blogger sets up an account by clicking the “Get started here” button on WordPress.com. With the account comes a blog site. In setting up the blog, the blogger selects the site address and name. This blog has the address “https://livewriterbasics.wordpress.com” the name of the blog is Live Writer Basics as you can see at the top of this page. The blog consists of one or more pages. Typically the “landing page”, the one you get to with the blog’s URL or web address, shows the posts, the short articles, with the most recent one at the top.
The formatting, layout and style, of the blog is defined by a “theme” provided by the blogging service. WordPress has hundreds of themes to choose from. There may be a header image in addition to the blog name and byline. Most blogs have “sidebars” with various items of information. Typical items in the sidebar are links to prior posts, a search box, archive, links to other blogs, and other items that are automatically updated so the blogger does not need to worry about accessibility to information on the blog.
There may be other pages, reached with links on a menu bar, very much like any typical website. The pages in a blog contain more permanent information such as the About page here. There may be some advertising. This post may be followed below by an ad that WordPress places. This is how WordPress can make blogging free or very inexpensive. The blogger using a WordPress.com blog may not place any ads in the blog.
The “front” page may be quite long, showing a number of the recent-most posts. One such page is illustrated at the right. Posts and pages can be created in Windows Live Writer.
The blogging service, in this case WordPress, provides summary pages reached by the category and tag links.
Possible the most important part of a blog is the ability for readers to leave comments at the end of each post. This provides two-way communication between the blogger and the audience.
What does a post consist of?
Each post has a title. This is followed by the text or the article, maybe photos or other content. There is a post date showing the date, and often, the time the post was “published” or placed on the blog site. Typically a post is also marked with a topic, called “category” at WordPress, and “tags” that describe the topic details in more detail. Such categories and tags link to similar content in the blog and, more importantly, to other blogs. WordPress provides for such tagging. In addition there may be tags using another service. This blog also contains “Technorati” tags – you can see them illustrated below and real ones at the end of this article.
Here is an illustration of a typical post title, post date, and all-important first paragraph.
The end of that post looks like this:
The article ends with an “end of Ludwig’s story” mark, a copyright notice, links to the author’s website and social sites. This is followed by a group of Technorati tags. Each tag links to a Technorati page showing blogs on that topic.
There are a group of links to allow the reader to share the post and to indicate a “Like” to the author.
The gray links are the WordPress categories, marked “Posted in” that link to pages showing posts of that category, and tags introduced with “Tagged”. These also link to pages showing posts on those topics.
The last item in the gray WordPress items is a link to the comments on this post.
The skeleton of a blog post
In spite of the complex and and well-manicured look, the actual post consists of just HTML code. It is the reader’s browser that puts it all together and makes it look the way it was intended.
This is the code produced by Live Writer. Of course, when writing the blogger uses the “Edit” mode which shows the post pretty much as it will appear to the reader. Note that there are no images in this code, the pictures are defined by hyperlinks and are not stored with the post code. Live Writer takes care of those details and a novice blogger can be unconcerned – it just works.
When writing the text the author has “HTML styles” available to define the elements of the text and a limited set of font and positioning commands.
Normal text is called “Paragraph”, there are six “heading” styles. The actual appearance is defined by the blog theme and, once selected for the blog, is not further controllable. There are, however, additional controls for font, type size, and text placement. These are also limited. In Live Writer fonts can be set to any available on the bloggers computer. They will work just fine if the reader has that same font available on the computer used to view the blog. That last sentence contains the reason why a blogger must be very careful about setting the font. There is no assurance that it is available to the reader.
This is a quick look at the mechanics, the anatomy, of a blog post. A blogger is assisted by Live Writer in putting it all together so it works. It is easy to prepare a blog post, writing a captivating, informative, helpful, and timely article, well, that is another story.
© 2012 Ludwig Keck
Photo-blogs are a great way to show photos. With Live Writer you have pretty good control over the size and placement of pictures. Here are some tips for arranging the images just the way you want.
First, be sure you know the width of you blog. This helps you to plan your layout in advance.
Arranging photos side by side
To position several images in a row proceed as follows:
- Insert the left-most photo. In picture tools set the Alignment to Left.
- Insert the next photo. Again set its alignment to Left.
- For the last photo set the alignment to Inline. This will prevent any text from being placed next to the images.
Hint: Some browsers have their own ideas, to keep them at bay set a margin value for each image. I like to use 5 pixels for the Bottom margin.
Hint: If your photos have different aspect ratios due to cropping, set the vertical dimension for all photos in a row to the same value. The photos will appear neater that way.
Hint: With photos in a row there may be a large blank space at the right. You can even the space out by setting the left margin of the first photo to about half the pixel value of the space. Or even larger if you want to move the images toward the right margin.
Placing a vertical column of photos to the right of a larger one
Having a column of pictures next to a larger one can be very attractive. This arrangement does require a little more care. Here is the procedure:
- Insert the large photo first. Set its alignment to Left. Set the right margin for this image to a small value, I like 5 px, to provide separation between the photos.
- Insert the smaller photos one be one. Set their alignment to Inline if you do not want text alongside.
- Set the top and bottom margins of the center image to balance the spacing so they will look good on the page.
Hint: If you want text alongside on the right side, set the alignment of the small images to Left. Also set their right margins to provide separation between the photos and the text.
Hint: If you want a column of text between the photos, set the alignment for the small photos to Right and set a left margin value for each.
Place the small images into text positions so they will look about right. You will not be able to make this perfect.
Hint: If you want to show bullets, the text must be on the left of the images, otherwise the bullet symbols will not show.
Arrange a column of pictures to the left of a larger one.
- The large photo must be inserted first. Set the alignment Right and set a left margin value.
- The small photos can then be placed with their alignment set to Inline.
With these procedures you can arrange your photos for best appeal. Remember, the size of photos can be changed to any horizontal or vertical value. Just be sure that Lock aspect ratio is set to avoid stretching or squashing them.
© 2012 Ludwig Keck
Maps can make an article more informative and more interesting, and an interactive map provides a gateway to enjoyable resources to your readers. With Windows Live Writer, inserting a map is just about as easy as inserting a photo.
Let me walk through the procedure with an example. Let’s say that my blog article, about a fun vacation experience, contains a photo of the lighthouse on Tybee Island, Georgia. The story can be enhanced by displaying the location with a couple of maps.
The Insert ribbon in the Media group sports a Map icon. This provides for inserting Bing maps. The Insert Map dialog starts with a world map. There is a Find location: text box which is the quickest way to show a map of a specific location. Just enter the name of the location of interest, click the magnifier “search” icon, and up comes your location..
The dialog shows a live Bing map. You can drag it around, enlarge or decrease the view, just as you can when you are using Bing Maps. Also available are “Road”, “Aerial”, or “Bird’s Eye” view. The road view, like a normal road map, is available for all parts of the globe. Aerial view, or what some call satellite view, coverage is nearly complete. The “bird’s eye” views are low level, oblique, aerial photos. Many destinations have been mapped this way. So you can select the best map for your post. In this article I have included two maps to illustrate the variety. But first the lighthouse photo, and below that a couple of maps. A road map to give provide location information and a “bird’s eye” view..
Here in this blog post, as in your blog, these maps will lead to full-size Bing Map pages when clicked. In Windows Live Writer a map insert behaves a bit like an inserted photo. When clicked, a border is shown around it and there are option in a side bar on the right.
You can see the border around the selected road map in the illustration above. The map can be resized with the resize handles the customary manner. The Customize Map… link in the side bar, brings up the customize dialog which is essentially the same as the insert dialog. You can move the displayed portion around and resize the view. You can also add a caption and customize the margins.
To make the location easier to communicate to the reader, I have zoomed out the map enough to show recognizable landmarks in the map, here Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
I have also added a “pushpin” showing the location of the lighthouse. That is a mixed blessing. You can see that in the insert and edit dialogs there is a text line under the map saying: “Tip: Right-click the map to add a pin”. A pushpin will be added at the clicked location. You can move it around and specify some additional parameters. Unfortunately, the default operation brings up the “my places editor” on the viewer’s map, which may be more confusing than helpful.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck