Hello, Live Writer!

I started using Windows Live Writer late last week to author my blog entries and have to say that I am very impressed.  In fact, the last 3 posts on this blog were all done with it.  Once configured, it is fast, extremely easy to use and focuses solely on the task of editing and posting blog entries.  This means that there is no menu/UI clutter from a bunch of bloat (yet) so it is pretty easy to find what you are looking for.

Some of the cool things I've found so far:

  • Save drafts locally
  • Save drafts on the blog site as an unpublished post
  • Publish blog entries to the blog site (kind of required!)
  • Web Preview mode that shows the post using styles and layout from your actual blog site
  • Edit and post entries to different blogs from the same editor
  • Auto-upload embedded images (if the site supports it)
  • Insert images from several sites (I use Flickr and SmugMug but there is a Community Server plug-in as well)
  • Ability to scale images using the thumbnails created by the Image Hosting site

Sample Insert menu

To make blogging even easier, I've discovered a few related goodies that work well with pretty much any blog editor.

  • An add-in for SnagIt that uploads my screen captures to Flickr right from the SnagIt editor
  • A "Send To …" utility for both Flickr and SmugMug that will upload an image file from the right-click menu

Wonderfulness (?) aside, this is still a "dot OH!" product from Microsoft so there are a few small bugs yet to be worked out as well as the occasional crash but it is a strong enough product that I can easily overlook those. I've been spoiled now and can't see myself ever going back to Word or OneNote to compose my blog posts.

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