windows live writerThey say the best things in life are free and Windows Live Writer, the wonderful blog editing software from Microsoft, definitely proves that saying.

The software is available for Windows Vista and XP only but you may run Writer on a Mac as well via VMWare Fusion. Not sure about Linux support though.

Now if you are a Windows Live Writer fan already, let’s explore some simple hacks and tools that will make you even more efficient with Windows Writer.

1. Insert Screenshot Images

You don’t need a third-party screen capture program to insert regular screenshots in your blog articles. Minimize Windows Live Writer, press Print-Screen and then paste that image from Clipboard into WLW using Ctrl+V. You can also crop and scale the screenshot in Writer itself before publishing.

2. Backup Windows Live Writer Settings & Drafts

If you are moving data across computers and like to make a copy of all your Live Writer settings and draft posts, get this Live Writer Backup utility. You can also move drafts manually.

3. Improve the speed of Live Preview

The live preview feature in WLW provides a good idea about how your stuff will look once it gets published online. The problem is that Writer downloads your blog homepage for creating a local preview template and thus you always see more than one post in the preview tab.

The fix is simple – change your blog default settings to show just one post on the main page. Then refresh the theme in Windows Live Writer and once that’s done, switch to the original setting of ‘n’ posts on the main page.

4. Quickly Spread the Word

If you want FeedBurner and Blog Search engines to pick articles as soon as you hit publish, go to Tools – > Options – > Ping Servers and copy-paste this list of URLs:

http://ping.feedburner.google.com/

http://rpc.pingomatic.com/


http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2


http://www.bloglines.com/ping

5. Search Your Windows Live Writer Drafts

You were writing an article on productivity last week but had to abandon it half-way because something urgent turned up. Now you want to resume that story but where’s the draft?

Luckily you can add the wpost filter to Windows Desktop search and finding drafts becomes as simple as searching a text document.

6. Windows Live Writer Dictionary

While terms like Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc. are common jargon, most word processing software (Writer included) are not smart enough yet to recognize them correctly.

If you like to avoid seeing that red line under such common terms, simply open your Live Writer dictionary and copy the words in bulk.

7. Autolinking in Windows Live Writer

If you frequently link to certain web pages from your blog articles, always use autolinks as you’ll save lot of time. So the moment you type Live Writer in your blog article, that phrase will automatically link to the homepage of Live Writer.

8. Upload files to Amazon S3

If you are hosting images on Amazon S3, the S3 Explorer plugin may come handy. It’s an S3 uploading tool with a visual GUI that is invoked from within Live Writer but you may use it to upload any binary file including documents, executables, MP3s or images.

9. Variables in Windows Live Writer

This is for geeks. Using Dymanic Templates, you can do lot of cool stuff in Live Writer like insert the current date in your article with a click, let user input data, convert text selection into HTML and more.

10. Favorite Windows Live Writer Plugins

The old list of Live Writer plugins is slightly outdated as lot of functionality is now built-in plus so here’s a fresh list of favorites.

a. Zemanta – This lets you find images related to content that you are currently composing in Live Writer. (see Zemanta review)

b. Twitter – Notify your twitter followers as soon as you publish a new blog post.

c. TinyMCE – This a more powerful HTML editor for Windows Live Writer with a WYSIWYG interface.

d. Source Code – This plugin lets you insert source code with syntax highlighting – see example.

Also see: Get Productive with Windows Live Writer