Brilliant Blogging Tools: Windows Live Writer

Overview

All bloggers should use the free utility Windows Live Writer.  It’s an excellent tool for writing blogs offline.  It’s built in word counter and spelling checker make it a very useful.  I actually prefer to use it then writing directly to my WordPress sites direct.

Let’s Go:  Using Live Writer

So I’m sitting in the lounge.  I’ve just had a nice meal.  The telly’s on and my wife’s offered of make a cup of tea. There’s some programme on where some American serial killer is killing.  But we all know that the CSI  NCIS, the Law and Order team are going to solve the case somewhere between the last set of ads and the end of the programme.

So out comes the notebook. Switch it on and click on Live Writer.

I can then quickly belt out an easy post on a subject that doesn’t require a lot of research.

I’ve got wifi, but I don’t need to use it.  I just write, save to disk.  I can then upload later when I’m connected.

The interface

The interface is like a simplified Microsoft Word.  There’s a whole host of controls on the top of the screen and a nice area below where you can enter your text.  You can also add images and video. However, be warned the package quickly gets complicated when you try and do anything clever with images.

From a simpler to use set of controls than WordPress you can add hyperlinks, change the styling, add bold, italics and underline, change text colour, alter text alignment and switch on or off lists.

Links with your blog

The publishing section of the interface allows you to build links with your blog or blogs.  The package allows you to link up with a wide range of blogging platforms including WordPress, Sharepoint, Blogger and Typepad.

When setting up a blogging site you have the option of letting the system download a copy of the theme.  With a simple theme Live Writer will display an approximation of your theme’s layout and with a more sophisticated theme you’ll get a display of the styles, such as headings and customisation of text.

Posting your posts

The utility allows the user to post direct to the blog or post to draft.

There is a simple menu bar that uses a drop list to set up a category, tags and a click down calendar to set the date of publishing.

And guys and gals it’s free

OK you’ve got to have either Windows 7 or the deadbeat system Vista.  But if you have then the package is free.

For a download go to the Live Writer site.  Click and download.

You’ll find that the download will also try and load the entire Microsoft Essentials package, which includes a photo gallery, a video editor, Live Mail, (which allows you to link all your mail programs), and parental control system and Mesh, which allows you to synchronise all your computers.

Personally I only use Live Writer I’m sceptical of allowing Microsoft too much control over my computers and my life.

So when you install, then please use the customise option, so that you can select the options that you want, rather than what Microsoft wants.

Conclusion

If you’ve got Windows 7 and blog then you should be downloading and using this very important blogging tool.  It will improve your productivity greatly, particularly if it is used in conjunction with focus booster, which helps you focus on the job in hand.

My one complaint is that the image processing section is quite good if you want to enter a simple image, but to be truthful I just don’t like it.  I prefer to import my images directly into WordPress because I can standardise the image size and my theme, Freelance, from StudioPress, does clever things with the WordPress system.  But then there’s a problem.  If I then try and update the blog from Live Writer my images disappear.

So for my use the package is good for making a draft of text, but that’s it.  Once you’ve published I advise deleting the post from Live Writer.

About Kenneth Byrd

Kenneth Byrd has a B.S. in Accounting and Management Information Systems and he also has a MBA. He works full-time as a consultant. He enjoys sports, freelance writing and internet marketing. To learn more about Kenneth, follow him on Twitter @kbyrdjr.