Aaron\'s Live Writer Blog

March 20, 2012

An update for Windows Live Writer–Wave 4 is now available

Filed under: Live Writer 2011, Wave 4 — Tags: , — Aaron Bregel @ 1:38 PM

While I am no longer working on Windows Live Writer I still talk with that team and today we announced that there is an update to the Windows Live Essentials suite — http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/windowsexperience/archive/2012/03/20/update-for-windows-live-essentials-2011-now-available.aspx.

When talking with the Writer team they said they just made QFE level bug fixes and did not add new features to the product.  As always I would recommend updating as things should be more stable than what you have today.  You can get the new version from http://get.live.com

As an aside working on the Photo Gallery team we did make some improvements when working with web services in that users of flickr, Facebook, or Geo-tagging will enjoy and that should be reason enough to update your build.  Smile

February 21, 2012

Shorten YouTube URLs are not friendly with Windows Live Writer –- A solution

Filed under: Live Writer 2011, Wave 4, YouTube — Tags: , , — Aaron Bregel @ 10:06 PM

About a year ago I blogged about how the URL created for sharing of a YouTube video would not work in the Insert Video dialog in Windows Live Writer.  Well it turns out that between now and then Google has changed things again, hence this blog post.

If you want to insert a YouTube video via the URL you have to use the long version of the URL and not the short version which is the default.  Once you have found the video you want to embed in your blog post on the YouTube site click on the Share button.
Share button on YouTube

Next check the Long Link button. 

Long link in YouTube settings

This will change the link from something beginning with “http://youtu.be” to beginning with “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=”. Copy that longer URL and then paste it into field on the From Web tab in the Insert Video dialog.

Windows Live Writer Insert Video dialog

July 6, 2011

A new version of Windows live Essentials 2011 is now available

Over on the Inside Windows Live blog, Arthur de Haan announced the availability of an update to Windows Live Essentials 2011 (Wave 4).  While I did not work on this directly for Writer I know there were a few changes for Writer and Writer technologies.  SSL was a big part of this of this release for Windows Live Mail and photo mail which runs the same code as Writer was updated to enable SSL support.  This means that when your photo mails are created the images linked to SkyDrive now use SSL.  This holds true for images you add to your blog posts in Writer that are saved to SkyDrive. 

You can go download the new bits via http://explore.live.com, search for them in the Microsoft Download Center, or wait until before month’s end when you will be prompted to optionally update the suite when you boot one of the applications.  Across the board this update is worth the download.  SSL support means things are more secure for you and there are bug fixes to almost every application that just makes life better.  My team worked on the Photo Gallery changes and help a bit with the Movie Maker updates and there are some great fixes there that make things more stable.

May 21, 2011

New plug-ins

Filed under: Develop, Live Writer, Live Writer 2011, Plug-in, Wave 3, Wave 4 — Tags: , , , , , — Aaron Bregel @ 10:33 PM

Maybe the needed plug-ins for Windows Live Writer have all been written as there has been a big slow down in what has been submitted to be posted to http://plugins.live.com over the last few months.  Since the beginning of 2011 there have three plug-ins added plus an update to an existing plug-in.  Since there is not RSS on the site you have to go looking for them but if you do you can find some great plug-ins.  Here are the ones added/updated in 2011:

  • Twitter Update – this plug-in is a little more extensible than the plug-in published from Microsoft and allows for tweeting to three accounts on post of the blog entry.
  • Amazon Book Linker – Do you blog about books? Add your Amazon associate id and if people click through from your blog to buy you will get your commission.
  • Source Code Formatter – this is an update to a plug-in that has been available for awhile that allows you to added formatted source code to your blog entry.
  • GeSHi Server Blocks – This is another source code highlighter that works with many server side plug-ins for GeSHi.


I hope to see many more plug-ins submitted for Windows Live Writer to the plug-in site.  There are many things you can do when you are blogging.

February 10, 2011

IE9 Release Candidate fixes the known issues with Windows Live Writer

In the past I had blogged about a few issues with IE 9 that might have you second thinking beta testing IE 9 on the same machine that you blogged with Windows Live Writer.  I am happy to say that with the Release Candidate that came out today all of the know issues between IE 9 and Live Writer have been fixed.  If are still having issues with the release candidate and Live Writer or Live Mail please make a comment in this post and also report the issue in the forums.

If you have been using the IE 9 beta it is recommended that you uninstall it before installing the release candidate.   Once you have done the uninstall you can find the new version at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/#/download.

Ed Bott at ZDNet has a great write-up about IE 9 and tweaks you might want to make if you find a few things different from what you are used to in IE 8.

February 3, 2011

Maps with Live Writer are more than just the address to a location

One of the nice things about inserting a map into your blog post using Windows Live Writer is that you have the full capabilities of the Bing map services for Virtual Earth. This means you do not have to enter only an address as the location but you can also enter landmarks.  For example, in the location field in the map dialog instead of an address for the Space Needle you can just enter “Space Needle” and hit the search button.  At this point you see a map for the location of the Space Needle in Seattle.

Live Writer Bing map dialog

Another nice feature is that in many places you can select from the Road, Aerial, or Bird’s eye view of a location of the map you want to insert in your blog.

Bird's eye view of Space Needle

Of course the best part of inserting a map in your blog is that for the readers of the blog they can click on the image like a hyperlink and they are taken right to the Bing map website where they could get directions to the location you are blogging about from where ever they are.  Click on the images/maps below and you can map a trip to the Space Needle, Disneyland, or the Taj Mahal!

Space Needle -- Seattle, WA


Disneyland -- Aniheim, CA


Taj Mahal -- Agra, India


I should note that depending on the language of Live Writer you are using the Bing map service might behave differently.  Different countries have different guidelines for what is displayed in maps and fun things like border locations.  In these cases Live Writer matches what you would find if you just went to Bing maps in your browser for that country.  Not all places have a Bird’s eye view.  In a few cases you might not see Aerial view, only the road view and that might not allow you to zoom in to the same detail as other locations.

January 26, 2011

Embedding YouTube videos in Windows Live Writer (IFRAME problems)

Recently there has been an uptick in the number people asking about how to embed videos from YouTube into Windows Live Writer so that you can include the video in your blog post.  The problem stems from the fact that YouTube is using <IFRAME> as the default for their embed and Liver Writer is not really happy about the <IFRAME> tag in the Source view or pasted into the Insert Video dialog.  There is a couple of reasons for this but one of the main reasons is that not very many blog servers support IFRAMEs and if you were to publish with one it would just get stripped out of the source and that might cause data loss for you.  Off of the top of my head Blogger is the only one I know that lets you add an IFRAME in their blog editor.  This post is about how to help you add a YouTube video to your blog so let’s move on.


If you are on the YouTube site you should be able to just copy the URL from your browser and paste it into Live Writer and it should convert it to a video and the location you have pasted.  Alternatively you can select to Insert a Video from the web and paste the web address.














A problem can occur when you want to use the embed created from within a YouTube web page.  The embed can contain more options beyond what you get by just pasting the web address into the Insert Video dialog.  You used to be able to just copy that embed and paste it onto the Insert Video dialog or change to Source view and paste it there.  Since YouTube has gone to IFRAME by default in the embed instead of an OBJECT tag this no longer works but there is a quick way to get it working with Live Writer.



When you click on Embed on the YouTube page check the check box to “Use old embed code” and this will switch the embed source from an IFRAME to an OBJECT which Live Writer can work with.  This way you can paste it right into the Insert Video dialog in Live Writer or into the Source view.  As you can see you have a lot of flexibility when pick the embed option in YouTube.  You can pick a specific size for the video or elect to play the HD version as examples.



If this was helpful for you please leave me a comment in this post.

January 19, 2011

How to get Lightbox, Thickbox, etc. to work with Windows Live Writer in WordPress


If you host your own WordPress server one of the plug-ins you may have installed is one for image effects such as Lightbox or Thickbox so that when a reader of you blog clicks on an image it might do a fly-out and fill the screen.  A common question is “How do I make this work with Windows Live Writer?”

By default if you bring up the Source Picture Options dialog via the Link options button on the Picture tools Format tab it will look like this:


If you have installed the plug-in on your hosted WordPress blog before you configure Live Writer then it should just work and you will see additional options in the dialog.  If you have installed the plug-in on your hosted WordPress blog after you have configured Live Writer then you need to reconfigure Live Writer.  To do so from the application menu select Options.  Next select Accounts and then pick the blog that you want to enable image support for.  Click Edit and then click the “Update account information” button.  At this point just step through the wizard clicking Next and when it is finished you should now have support for your image effects plug-in.

Here is an example of that the Source Picture Options dialog looks like if you have installed the Thickbox plug-in:


This tip should also work for other blog servers that have plug-ins for image effects like dotnetnuke.

January 12, 2011

How to configure Windows Live Writer to work with Squarespace

Squarespace as a blogging platform has been around since 2003.  It was not until the 2011 release of Windows Live Writer that Live Writer really worked well with Squarespace.  Configuring Live Writer to work with Squarespace is fairly simple.

First launch Live Writer and if have already configured a blog select “Add blog account…” from the blog accounts drop down.

Step 1.

Configure blog step 1

In the first dialog select “Other services” and click Next.

Step 2.

Configure blog second step  Progress step

Enter the URL for your blog on Squarespace blog. If you do not have a blog on Squarespace you need to go and create an account and then come back to Writer and enter the URL for your blog.  Also enter your User name and password in this dialog. Then click Next.  You will see that it is setting up your blog account.  There is a slight chance that it might prompt you to do a temporary post to detect your blog theme but for Squarespace the themes are generally straight forward and you might not see the detection dialog.

Step 3.

Final step of blog setup.

On the final step you can enter a blog nickname that is show in the blog accounts drop down in Writer. You have the option to share your blog with those on Windows Live. Click Finish to complete the setup. 

At this point you can now use Live Writer as the blog editor on Squarespace.  Enjoy!

September 21, 2010

Windows Live Writer and IE 9 beta problems

Filed under: IE 9, Live Mail, Live Writer, Live Writer 2011, Wave 3, Wave 4 — Tags: , , — Aaron Bregel @ 11:37 PM

I never seen a perfect Beta and in the case of IE 9 the first public beta breaks a few things in Windows Live Writer.  In most cases the HTML changes from what Live Writer intended to publish.  You can also see this if you switch to the Preview or Source tab before you publish.  These issues can be seen in Wave 3 (14.x) builds or the Wave 4 Beta (15.x) builds.  Unfortunately there are no workarounds to the problems other than uninstalling IE 9.

Jimmy Bergmark points out in his blog that if you clear the Alt text or Title text field on a image that when you Publish (or go to the Source or Preview tab) that “alt” is added for the Alt text and “title” is added for the title.

Image alignment can change, again on Publish (or when you go to Source or Preview tab).  For example, Center an image and then publish and you will see it return to Left alignment.

What issues are you finding wrong with Live Writer used in conjunction with IE 9?  Please leave a comment on this post and we will try and pass along things as need to the IE 9 team.

THANKS for Beta testing IE 9.  It has a bunch of cool and fast features but you might not want to use it on the same machine you are blogging on with Live Writer right now.

Get IE 9


Update: Some people have jump to the conclusion that I am advocating with this post that you should uninstall IE 9.  The point of this post was to inform you that there are issues that do not have a workaround and that IE 9 is the cause.  This is the risk you run with any Beta.  As tweets and comments are showing people are running into these type of issues and thinking something has broken with their Writer install or if they are using the Live Writer Beta think that there are these types of issue in the public Beta.  I included a link on the IE 9 image to download the product for a reason with my original post.  IE 9 is a great improvement and I have been using it on my Beta machine on a daily basis.  As I started my post by saying that I have never seen a perfect Beta and y’all should be aware of the issues.  Remember that you can always post as draft to your blog server and then fix up the alignment of an image or clear the Alt text on your image in your web based editor before you publish and still Beta test with IE 9.  This is not a perfect workaround but I encourage you to continue to give IE 9’s Beta a chance.

Update (2/10/11): The IE9 RC (release candidate) was made available today and fixes the problems written about above with Live Writer or Live Mail.  Uninstall any beta build of IE9 you have and then go to http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/#/download

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