07 November 2010

Scrappy Genealogist Learns to Blog – Blogging Made Easier with Windows Live Writer

Getting set up to blog with Blogger is quite easy. Happily I even figured out how to insert a blog banner in a size that fit my blog. After creating my masterpiece in Photoshop Elements and finding that the original seven inch wide banner was far too big, I resized it to a tiny three inches wide by one inch tall. It fit perfectly!

Finding an alternative way to create blog posts has been far more challenging. As you might guess from my love of photos and scrapbooks, I am a visual person and like to play around with how things look. The blog writer in Blogger is quite adequate, but didn’t offer me enough variety and is a bit cumbersome when it comes to adding images. I noticed that Microsoft Word 2007 has an option to create blog posts which includes an assortment of features for presenting images in different creative ways. More importantly there is the option to just click a button to post your blog to your choice of blog service providers. Great, I thought, I can write, edit and enhance my blog posts right here in Word, then upload them to Blogger, easy as that!

Actually it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. The trouble began after I spent quite a long time writing my first Photo Clues post about the Glasgow postcard. Microsoft Word 2007 would not allow me to connect to Blogger. After spending much of  a frustrating day reading all I could find about the issue on both Microsoft help and Blogger help, I came to the conclusion that the situation is beyond help. It seems there must be some kind of incompatibility, which is beyond my limited technological ability. Even copying from the Microsoft Word and pasting into Blogger did not work. Blogger was unable to save the text without errors. One commenter in the help section mentioned using Windows Live Writer, so off I went to check it out.

Windows Live Writer 2011 is now a locked item on my task bar. I love it! It is a free application which you can download at explore.live.com. It is part of Windows Live Essentials, which means there are a lot of other components that will download with it unless you deselect them. I only wanted Writer as I already have photo editing software installed on my computer so I unchecked all of the other options, but some of them did look useful. After downloading and opening the new program, it was a simple matter of logging in to my blogger account and I was ready to go!

There are two options for publishing from Windows Live Writer 2011. Publish to the blog or publish as a draft. I highly recommend publishing as a draft. There were a couple of things I needed to do once I got into Blogger itself, one of which was returning the paragraph space breaks which had disappeared upon upload. Overall I am very pleased with the added versatility and cost (free) of Windows Live Writer and will be exclusively using it to create my blog posts, unless of course I am blogging from a strange computer, which could happen.

Hope this was helpful!

Scrappy Gen

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