The Ribbon UI in general gives us the ability to show users functionality that used to be buried deep in menus and dialogs. It also allows to better show UI that only needs to be there when the user needs it. In this post we will explore the Tools tabs in the Windows Live Wave 4 Beta. If you are an user of Office 2007 or later you should already be familiar with Tools tabs. Tools tab appear when you have specific things selected within a document. In Office you may see more than one ribbon tab appear but in the case of Writer we only have one Tool tab per selected item.
Tables Tools – Layout
When you insert a Table in Live Writer or select one you will see the ribbon tab show above as available. This should look a lot like the Layout tab in Microsoft Word for a table. All of the editing of a table is just one click away. Like Wave 3 you also have all of the table editing available on the right click context menu.
Picture Tools – Format
In Wave 3 Live Writer the options to format a picture were in the side bar and were in spread across three different tabs. Many people did not know you could do things like add watermarks to images. You also had no visual representation of picture effects.
There are a lot of nice picture styles to select from the gallery. If you expand the gallery it looks like this:
You can have pictures inherit formatting from the blog settings, apply a drop shadow border, apply effects like reflection or rounded corners. You also have effects that make the photo look like an instant photo.
The picture effects look like this:
You can also adjust alignment and margins for pictures in an easier to use UI:
Photo Album Tools – Format
In Wave 4 we added a new album style called Squares which is currently the new default. It really complements the album styles we had in Wave 3. Photo Albums are saved to SkyDrive so that you can share your photos with your friends. Much of this UI was buried in the Insert photo album dialog before. The large button drops down to allow you to pick a few different sizes for the images to be uploaded in your album.
Here is an example of the new Squares album (in picture form – not an actual album):
You will also notice that photo albums now have links to allow readers of your to launch right into a slide show or download the pictures to their own hard drive from SkyDrive. You have ability to set album privacy settings giving permissions that are set on SkyDrive.
Video Tools – Format
The Video Tools tab is really straight forward. View online will toggle to a button to stop an upload if part of inserting a video into your blog is uploading it to a hosting service like YouTube.
This wraps up the set of posts on the ribbon UI in Windows Live Writer Wave 4 beta. In my next post or two I will talk about new features in Live Writer that are not part of the ribbon.