I am posting this using Windows Live Writer, a free application from Microsoft that you can use for writing your blog posts and publishing them to WordPress, Windows Live Spaces, SharePoint, and many other blogging platforms.

I hadn’t considered trying Windows Live Writer until I read this post on BloggingTips.com. That day I downloaded the program and installed it on my laptop, and I was immediately impressed at some of the ways in which it makes my WordPress posting a lot easier and more enjoyable.

1. Text formatting

The WordPress WYSIWIG editor only exposes a few text formatting functions (eg bold, italics, strike-through). Anything else you would like to do with your text such as headings and sub-headings needs to be done using the code view and manually entering HTML tags such as <h2> or <h3>.

Windows Live Writer makes all of this available to you via a styles selector similar to that in Microsoft Word, so it is as easy as highlighting some text and setting it to “Heading 2” or “Heading 3”. Better still, it draws the style information from the CSS for your site, so it will match whatever styling you have coded on your web site.

2. Offline drafting

If you have ever tried composing WordPress posts offline (eg on the train ride to work) you may be frustrated with the process of writing in Notepad or Microsoft Word and then pasting the text into WordPress and fixing up all of the formatting that gets destroyed in the process.

Windows Live Writer downloads your blog site’s style information and uses that as you compose your posts offline. When it comes time to publish the post you already know that it will appear properly formatted and styled and not require any further tweaking.

3. Inserting media

Inserting videos from sites like Youtube is very frustrating if you are trying to use the WordPress WYSIWIG editor. To insert the Youtube embedded video code you normally need to switch to the code view to paste it in.

Windows Live Writer has a neat video insertion tool that makes posting videos a breeze. Simply choose Insert -> Video and paste the URL of the video into the dialog box. It only needs the normal URL, not the full embed code for it to work. You can then insert, reposition, and even resize the video in your blog post without having to go into the code view at all.

4. No more code mangles

Anyone trying to do anything outside of what the WordPress WYSIWIG editor makes possible will know the mess that results from switching back and forth with the code view. Youtube video code is the most common culprit. Once you had pasted your Youtube embedded code into the post you could not go back and make further edits in the WYSIWIG view without breaking the Youtube code. Other examples such as using <code> tags in your posts would also get mangled by WordPress, requiring a lot of manual effort to get your posts looking the way you wanted them.

Windows Live Writer is much better at handling the switch between views. You can go back and forth as much as you like without destroying your formatting in the process.

5. Managing multiple blogs

If you are writing for several different blogs then you might find it difficult managing your access to each one, writing posts using different interfaces, or worse yet posting something to the wrong blog by accident.

Windows Live Writer brings all of your blogging into one application, with an easy to use interface that suits all platforms, and makes it much easier to ensure you are writing for the site you actually want to.

Conclusion

After tinkering with Windows Live Writer and now having made my first post using it I’m convinced that the program will make my blogging in 2008 much easier and more successful than before. If you haven’t tried Windows Live Writer yet why not download it now and give it a go.

About the Author

Paul Cunningham

Paul is a former Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul no longer writes for Practical365.com.

Comments

  1. Elias

    Normally I write directly into WordPress but may give the Windows Live Writer a shot. Thnaks for the article…

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  3. Dallas BK

    I think the most important feature of Live Writer are the ability to manage multiple blogs from a single interface. Well, the price is good too.

  4. ghorab

    I have disable all plugins and try to post with wlw but nothing changed !
    what’s your openion ?

  5. ghorab

    I have small problem with windows live writer
    when I publish my new post there was codes between words such as
    p texxxxxxxxxxxxxxxt/p
    and many more codes !
    what can I do to solve this problem ?
    I have try windows live writer to publish for localhost’s wordpress , the localhost blog show the post better without any codes !

    1. Paul

      Ghorab, you might have a plugin installed on your blog that is causing the problem. Compare your plugins on your website to the ones you’ve got installed on localhost and see if one of them relates to posting code within blog posts or something of that nature.

  6. VG for Oracle

    Thanks a lot for this… The best part i found useful is codes.. I just hate that part in blog.

  7. ixibo

    Thank you very much, I have been looking for a way to blog while offline. I am downloading this tool, hope this will make my life easier.

  8. Paul

    Thanks for that tip Joe, that makes it even easier.

  9. Joe Cheng [MSFT]

    Glad you are enjoying Writer. FYI, for #3 you should just be able to copy the YouTube URL and literally just paste it into your post. Writer will notice that it’s a YouTube URL and insert the video instead.

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