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Windows Live Writer - Guide for Power Bloggers

Windows Live Writer from Microsoft  is probably one of the best and most popular blog editing software around for Windows platform.

Have you explored all the wonderful features, tips and tricks of using Windows Live Writer ? If not, here's a comprehensive Windows Live Writer tutorial cum guide to help you become a power blogger:

Embed Video Clips from YouTube and Facebook

There's a very easy way of embedding video clips inside your blog posts - just copy the video embed code from YouTube or Google Video and paste that inside the normal view of Windows Live Writer (or simple drag-n-drop). You don't have to switch to the HTML view of Windows Live Writer as the software is smart enough to recognize the Flash video code and renders it just perfect.

Related: How to Embed Anything in your Website

Do you Paste or Paste Special ?

When you paste a block of formatted rich text in WLW using the standard Paste command (Ctrl+V), all the font styles and hyperlinks appear exactly as in the source. Windows Live Writer gives you another option called "Paste Special" that's borrowed from Microsoft Office.

Using Paste Special (Ctrl+Shift+V), you have the option to remove all HTML formatting but preserve hyperlinks and images.  Or you can try the Thinned HTML option which preserve the fonts sizes and text alignments but strips the source text of all extra formatting like CSS styles.

Not just categories, Add Tags to Your Wordpress Posts

By default, Windows Live Writer lets you add categories to your blog posts that are listed as a tree view near the status bar. In addition to categories, you can also include any number of tags in your articles by using the following syntax [not to be confused with Flickr, or Technorati tags]:

The Ultimate Tag Warrior or Simply Tagging Wordpress plugin will automatically recognize these tags and this line won't appear in your main blog. You can also use Windows Live Writer to insert the More tag for Post excerpts <!-- more -->

Use Link Glossary for Quick Access to Favorite Websites and URLs

Link Glossary is your personal repository of web pages or URL that you frequently quote in your blog posts. For instance, if you are regularly link to the Yahoo! homepage in your blog post, you can include that address in the Link Glossary.

The next time you want to add a link to in your post, Link Glossary will do that for you without you having to type the whole URL over an over again. Available from Tools -> Options -> Link Glossary or right click any hyperlink in your post and say "Add to Link Glossary".

Tumbleblog - Quick Blogging from the Web Browser

Similar to the BlogThis bookmarklets, you can select web images, hyperlinks or any portion of a web page inside Firefox or IE and quickly publish them to your blog using the Blog This feature available separately.

Windows Live Writer will automatically insert the attribution links (source URL) in the blog posts. You can also customize these HTML snippets through Tools -> Options -> Blog This. A good example would be to include social bookmarking icons, Technorati cosmos, Sphere related posts, etc.

Resize Images using the Image Handles

Most of us may know this trick but still mentioning it here since it is simply the biggest time-saver for bloggers. Sometimes that web images don't fit our blog layout so you can easily resize them right inside WLW by dragging the pointers near the image corners. Windows Live Writer will maintain a link to your source image for readers who like to view the image in full size.

To Move Draft Blog Posts from one Computer to Another

When you are composing blog posts inside Windows Live Writer, the software won't save the draft entries to you hard drive - they are only accessible from the Windows Live Writer interface. If you like to move your unfinished blog posts from one PC to another, the best option is to save them as online draft which are accessible from all computers (Goto Save Draft -> Post draft to Weblog)

Turn Off Smart Correction

When you type a string of characters that resemble a web URL or an email address, Windows Live Writer will convert that into an http: or mailto: hyperlink. You can easily reverse this change by pressing Ctrl+Z or right-click the hyperlink and says "remove hyperlink"

Insert Blog Widgets, Google Adsense Referrals and other Javascript

Switch to the HTML code view (Shift+F11) and insert any scripts or CSS code.

Important Windows Live Writer Shortcuts

  • Ctrl+K - Insert Hyperlinks 
  • Ctrl+L - Insert Images from the desktop or the internet
  • Ctrl+S - Save drafts locally
  • F7 - Run Spell Checker
  • F9 - View or Hide the Sidebar

Additional Reading: More Windows Live Writer Tricks

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