Windows Live Writer 2010, Wave 4: Best Desktop Blogging Client Ever

Microsoft released the latest version of Windows live essentials suite (read wave 4) last week. If you haven’t installed the latest version of live writer yet, you can get it from explore.live.com

There are two separate installers for the new Windows live essentials suite.

To download the entire suite which will install all the software in one go, use wl-setup-webd.exe. This will install MSN messenger, Windows live photo gallery, Windows live mail, Sync, Windows Live writer and Movie maker in one shot.

To individually choose which programs you want to install, use the wl-setup-webc.exe installer.

Note: The new wave 4 version will only run in Windows Vista and Windows 7 and is not meant for Windows XP users. Windows Vista users will have to install the latest service packs along with Windows 7 program enhancer. I had some problems installing the wave 4 suite on Windows Vista but it was fixed by patching the latest service packs.

What’s New in Windows Live Writer Wave 4

The new version completely mimics the look of Microsoft office 2010 suite. The interface has been revamped but except of a few design changes, there are no new features. Here are some noteworthy features of Windows Live Writer 2010:

More writing space: The sidebar has been removed and all the common options have been moved up to the ribbon options. You get more writing space, which is useful when you are writing long posts and do not have to scroll down to read the earlier paragraphs.

Windows-live-writer-wave4[3]

Contextual Tabs: One of the major enhancements is the introduction of contextual tabs and grouping of similar tasks, as in Microsoft Office. There are three tabs namely Home, Insert and Blog account, as seen in the following image:

contextual-tabs[3]

The home tab lets you choose the blog where you want to publish a post, select font, colors, heading and subheading styles. The good thing is that they have added Spell checking and Word count shortcuts so you don’t have to pull down the menu options and perform the spell check or word count.

Ribbon options: The common tasks panel which used to appear in the right sidebar has been moved to the menu ribbon. The “Save draft” button has been removed, which is a bit annoying because it was very useful for saving posts quickly. To access the last published posts, you have to click the menu button, select open and click on a recently published post or draft.

saving-drafts-wlw

The keyboard shortcut for saving a local draft is Ctrl +S but there is no keyboard shortcut for saving a draft to your blog. Strange !

Image enhancements: A “Format” tab has been added which lets you add more image effects than earlier versions. You can adjust the contrast, brightness and add more effects e.g Blur and Emboss. The Image linking and adding of Alternate text will appear in the “Format” tab.

wlw-image-effects

Auto Capture Hyperlinks: The newer version supports capturing hyperlinks from the clipboard and placing them easily in your blog posts. It works simple – copy a link to Windows clipboard and select the phrase in your draft which you want to use for the link. Then hit the hyperlink button and the phrase is automatically linked.

Emotions: Windows live writer now supports adding emotions directly from the menu bar, click the emotions dropdown from Insert tab and select the emotion you want. No need to remember keyboard shortcuts.

The newer version hasn’t fixed the image bug yet which strips off dashes from image file names. I have been using the newer version for the past week and all the image file names were modified. However, you can solve Windows Live writer image problem using a neat workaround.

I was expecting more features in the wave 4 version but  I am really disappointed. There should be some more features like backing up blog settings, adding custom fields and comment moderation. Hope they will add them in the upcoming version of live writer.

Tip: Most Useful Windows Live writer plugins

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