How to Make a WordPress Blog Post With Windows Live Writer: Detailed Steps

Download-Windows-Live-Writer-2011Windows Live Writer (WLW) is a free, offline blog editor, part of the Windows Essentials suite of applications.  This CyberKenBlog post tells the steps to take to publish a WordPress blog post using WLW.  The post will cover the following:

  • Installing and configuring Windows Live Writer
  • Preparing a .txt file of the post content
  • Placing this text content in the Windows Live editor window
  • Inserting and formatting pictures
  • Formatting and styling text
  • Adding search engine tags to the post
  • Publishing the post
  • Retrieving, correcting, and republishing a post with WLW
Now, for the details:

Installing and configuring Windows Live Writer

1.  Download Windows Essentials and install Windows Live Writer.
2.  Log into the Dashboard of your WordPress website.
3.  In the left hand column of the Dashboard page, at the bottom, hover your cursor over the blue word, “Settings”.  Then in the drop-down menu, click on “writing”.
4.  On the “Writing Settings” page, scroll down to the bottom and put a check mark in the box beside the words, “Enable the WordPress, Moveable Type, MetaWeblog, and XML-RPC publishing protocols.”  Then click the save button at the bottom of the page.  This setting will enable you to configure Windows Live Writer to communicate with your website.
5.  Using a word processor or text editor, type out your entire blog post. Don’t include any indentations or text stylings.  (You will put these in later using Windows Live Writer).  Save your post text as a plain text document.  In other words, save it as a .txt file.  It’s good to start with this preliminary step rather than compose in Windows Live Writer directly, because this gives you a separate copy of your post text, to which you can return later if anything goes amiss in formatting the post in Windows Live Writer.
6.  Launch Windows Live Writer.  Just to the right of the “Publish” icon you will see a black circle with the WordPress W on it, and to the right of that black circle, a downward facing black triangle.  Click on that triangle and in the drop-down menu, select “Add blog account”.
7.  Select “WordPress” and fill in the Web address of your blog, and the user name and password that you use to log into your WordPress website. Note:  To find the Web address of your blog, go to the blog page of your WordPress website and highlight the Web address of that page which is in the URL window at the top of your Web browser.  Then copy that highlighted text to your clipboard by pressing the Ctrl key and the C key together.  Next,  Insert your cursor in the “Web address of your blog” window and press the Ctrl and V keys together.  This will paste the clipboard text into that window.  Finally, click on the”Next” button.
8.  Windows Live Writer will then communicate with your WordPress website and you will be notified when the connection is established.

Preparing a .txt file of the post content

9.  You are now ready to make your first blog post with Windows Live Writer! Open the .txt file that you typed earlier and hold down the Crtl and A keys together.  This will select all the text in the file.  Now hold down the Crtl and C keys together.  This copies all that text to your clipboard.
10.  With Windows Live Writer open, at the top left corner click on the downward facing white triangle on a blue background and in the menu which appears click on “New Post”.
11.  In the window that says “Enter a post title” insert the title you choose for the post.

Placing this content in the WLW editor window

12.  Put your cursor onto the blank page just below the title and press the Crtl and V keys together.  This will paste all your post text onto the page.  Now is the time to make any word changes you may wish, but don’t do any styling of the text yet.  That’s a later step.   Why?  If you try to style text at this stage, the later step of inserting and formatting pictures may knock the style coding out of the copy.  Next, go again to the top left menu and select “Save ” and then  “Save a local draft of this post”.  It’s a good idea to repeat this save step as you complete stages in preparing your post, because it insures that your work gets updated and preserved.

Placing and formatting pictures

13.  Now you’re ready to place pictures in your post. It’s best to work with pictures that have been sized to 400 pixels in width, which is approximately half the width of a computer screen.  This will give you a big enough picture to insure good clarity, but your pictures will not be so big that Windows Live Writer has problems handling them.  It’s a good idea to store post-ready pictures in a folder in your Pictures library, so that navigating to them isn’t difficult.
14.  Insert your cursor at the beginning of a paragraph in your Windows Live Writer editing window.  Then click on the “Picture” icon at the top right and select “From your computer”.  The Pictures library window should open automatically, but if it doesn’t, navigate to the Pictures library.  In that library double left click on  the folder where you have stored your post-ready photos, then click on the thumbnail image of the photo you want to insert and click “open”.  The picture now appears on your post page with its top left corner where you placed your cursor.
15.  Notice that a new tab has opened in your Windows Live Writer, the “format” tab.  This is where you format the placement of that photo which you just placed on the page.  Toward the top right of this page you will see an orange icon and a little black triangle, giving you access to several formatting choices which govern the way the text will appear in respect to the picture.  For instance, one choice places the picture at the left hand of your post page and runs text up the right hand side of the picture.  Another places the picture flush right on the page and wraps the text up the left hand side of the picture.  Another centers the picture and runs text up both sides.  Experiment with these choices, selecting the one which is most pleasing to your eye.
16.  Now you need to insert some white space between your picture and the text.  Click on the “Margins” icon to the far right in the editing window.  You will see four windows:  “top”, “bottom”, “right”, and “left”.  Entering a number in any of these boxes will put a white margin of that may pixels between the picture and text.  Generally, setting 5 to 7 pixels leaves a pleasing space.
17.  Now’s a good time to save what you’ve done so far.  At the top left of the editing window click on the little white downward triangle and select “Save” and “save a local draft of this post”.  This overwrites your previous save and updates your local copy of the post.
18.  Place any remaining pictures for the post by repeating steps 14-16. It’s best to start placing pictures at the top of your post and proceed to the bottom.  When you have all pictures placed and formatted, again update your local copy of the post by saving it.

Formatting and styling text

19.  Finally, you’re ready to format and style your text.  To do this you must return to the “home” tab in Windows Live Writer.  Across the top of the editing window you will see several tabs: “home”, “insert”, “blog account”, and “format”.  Click on the “home” tab.  Incidentally, although this article does not cover much under the “insert” tab, you might want to check out the icons on that page to see other items you can insert in your blog posts, such as tables, maps, videos, and more!  You will want to link key words in your posts to other resources on the Web.  This increases the value of your post to the public.  To use the Hyperlink button first highlight the text which you want to make into a link, then click on the “Hyperlink” button.  This brings up a window asking for the Web address of the page or media resource you want to link to.  Fill in that URL and the words you want your link to say in the post, then click on the “insert” button. This makes your link live.

20.  You are now at the “home” tab of the editor.  Change the look of your text by using the word-processor like buttons along the top of the editing window.  You can bold text, italicize or underline it, change fonts and the color text, etc.  Rather than indenting the first line of paragraphs, simply separate paragraphs by pressing the Enter key to insert a line break.  This is a cleaner, modern style for paragraphs, and makes makes later changes to the post easier to accomplish.   If you want to make bulleted or numbered lists in the text, press the Enter button after each line in the list and then highlight the entire list with your cursor and click on the bulleted list or numbered list icon.  This automatically inserts bullets or sequenced numbers into your list.  Experiment with all the formatting and styling buttons on this page.  Windows Live Writer can even check your spelling!
21.  When you have finished formatting and styling your text, update your post copy by saving it as a local copy.

Adding search engine tags to the post

22. To help people find your newly published posts, its a good idea to tag them with search terms that you think people are likely to use in search engines. To assign tags to a blog post using Windows Live Writer, click on the “Insert” tab in the editing window and then on the “Post Tags” icon. The names of several websites which index tags appear in the drop-down menu. “Technorati”, the default one, is a good choice.
26. While I have recommended that you publish your posts initially with Windows Live Writer, so that you can retrieve them later to make any necessary additions or corrections, you can also use the online editor of WordPress to tweak your published posts. Sometimes I find that I can troubleshoot a post with the online editor which I couldn’t do with Windows Live Writer. This is particularly so when I need to make a coding change, via the html tab of the online editing window. But that’s too complicated a matter for this article. Suffice it to say that once a post is published with Windows Live Writer, feel free to edit it online in the back end of your WordPress website. Using the online editor as a complimentary tool to the offline one works well.

Publishing the post

23.  Now you are ready to upload your post to your WordPress website.  This is very easy.  You can choose either to upload it as a draft, which places it in the “All posts” list accessible via your WordPress Dashboard, but does not yet reveal it to the public.  Or, you can publish it by clicking the large Publish button at the top left of the editing window.  (Notice, the “Post draft to blog” icon is just to the bottom right of this.)
24.  When Windows Live Writer publishes a new post it automatically opens your default Web browser and shows you that published post.  Another way to see how the post appears on the Web is to click on the “Blog account” tab in Windows Live Writer and then on the “View site” icon.  This opens your default Web browser and shows you the page (provided you’re connected to the Internet).  In the back end of your WordPress website, published posts will appear in the “All posts” list, accessible from the left side of the Dashboard.

Retrieving, correcting, and republishing a post with Windows live writer

25. If you prefer using WLW to composing your posts in the WordPress online editing window, then publish your posts with WLW FIRST, not the WordPress “back end” editor.  You can make additions and corrections to a published post using Windows Live Writer, but only if you have published it initially with Windows Live Writer.  If you publish a post first with the WordPress online editor there will be no way for your WLW to connect to that post on the server, because there will be no record of it in WLW. To retrieve a published post with WLW so that you can make additions or corrections to it, open WLW, go to the top left menu and select “Open recent post” and then click on the title of that post.  WLW will fetch the published copy from the server and open it in its editing window.  You can then make your additions or corrections.  To publish them, click on the “Publish” button.  This overwrites the server copy of the post and the public sees your corrected version.

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