I have been writing this blog using the new Windows Live Writer since the past week and am a bit surprised to find that, except for a couple of cosmetic changes to the interface, there’re no new features in the software.

Windows Live Writer - Main Window

Writer now sports the ribbon with contextual tabs and therefore almost feels like part of the Office family.

If you are a power user, who likes working with keyboard shortcuts, you can always minimize the ribbon and get more writing space. You’ll however still need the ribbon for inserting pictures in the your blog posts because the good old CTRL+L shortcut has been reassigned for left alignment and I don’t know if there’s a new shortcut for insert pictures except for Alt – > I – > E – > C.

Manage Drafts in Writer

The sidebar in Live Writer is gone and some of the common tasks, especially those related to drafts, have moved to the main menu. If you also prefers saving drafts online instead of the local disk, you may find the new location a bit inconvenient.

Personal bloggers will love the new image enhancements in Writer. You can now quickly add new effects and borders to your pictures without requiring an external image editor. The downside is that Writer, like in the previous versions, adds inline CSS styles to your pictures and there’s no way to disable that setting.

The input boxes where you add tags and categories to a post have moved up and the advanced post properties – like post slug, post excerpt, etc. – are now hidden by default under the “View all” menu.

Maybe the Writer team is trying to widen the appeal by making the interface more simple but if you have been using this software for a length of time, you may be a little disappointed as some of the regular tasks now require a few extra steps.

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