webDotWiz talks Windows Live

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Did you know – Insert picture options in Live Writer (and what they look like)

Windows Live Writer (the 2009 Release Canddiate released in December 2008) has many and varied options to give you lots of opportunities to layout photos in a blog entry. Although the latest Wave 3 version (December 2008) of Live Spaces enhanced the Add photos option, Live Writer is still the best way to give your photos all the glory they deserve when you’re publishing onto your Live Space.

Getting started

So start up Windows Live Writer, type a few lines of text and press Enter to start a new paragraph, just as webDotWiz has with this post. Now either click Insert from the top menu and choose Picture… or click Picture… from the Insert option in the right-hand task pane of Live Writer.

writer_insert_picture_01 You’ll be taken to your My Pictures (Windows XP) or Pictures (Windows Vista) folder from which you can select the photo you want – click the Insert button at the bottom of.the Insert Picture window. Your picture will appear in Live Writer as shown in the screenshot to the right.

Notice the placeholders around the picture – this tells you it’s selected. As well, the right-hand task pane changes to show you what changes you can make but more about that in a minute.

You might be tempted to resize your photo at this stage by grabbing a placeholder and moving it to get a larger (or smaller) picture. Don’t do it!

If you look in the right-hand pane, under Layout, there’s a sub-heading called Text wrapping. You’ve just inserted your picture and that setting is automatically set to Inline which means the cursor is down alongside the bottom right-hand corner of your picture and any text you start typing will be placed there – your post will look a bit strange. Inline text wrapping is quite appropriate for small pictures such as icons but avoid using it for large photos.


Text wrapping

Other options for text wrapping are Left, Right and Center. At this point it’s worth bearing in mind that we’re trying to place images in a web page not a Word document, for example – a Word document is a completely different type of document than a web page and what’s possible in Word can only be approximated in a web page. With that said, Live Writer does a great job in making a difficult page layout problem seem easy. Web masters know from first hand how difficult it is to use web page markup language to get pictures placed just so.

Well, the easiest option for text wrapping is Center.

webDotWiz has found to use the Right setting, it’s best to type a few lines of text then place the cursor at the beginning of the paragraph, Insert the picture and finally choose the Right text wrapping option. That should work for Left as well.

You’ll see from the screenshot at right you’ve also got the option to choose different Borders – we’ll come back to those later.

The next important step you’ll want to do just about every time you insert a picture is to re-size it – that option is under the Advanced tab.





Size of the picture

writer_insert_picture_03 Under the Advanced tab (highlighted in the screenshot to the right) is where we can re-size our picture. Depending on the size of your picture, this setting will probably appear as Small but there are other options once you press the down arrow.

This is the list of all options: Small, Medium, Large and Original.

Each of these will also tell you the size in pixels. A pixel (picture element) is a small dot on your screen and together with millions of others makes up your screen display. As a guide, the screenshot on the right is 204 pixels wide and the centre column of webDotWiz’s front page on his Live Space is about 600 pixels wide. If you’re reading this post as a full page then the width is greater.

So webDotWiz always inserts his screenshots with a width less than 600 pixels. Live Writer also helps out with this because after downloading the theme and settings from his Live Space, Live Writer shows a pane about 600 pixels into which this text and accompanying pictures/screenshots are being inserted. Depending on the layout for your own Live Space, you might only have a width of about 400 pixels into which you can type your text and insert pictures. webDotWiz uses a maximum width for a photo of 590 pixels for his Live Space and 390 pixels might be the best for your site.

This means there won’t be many occasions on which you will insert one of your pictures at Original size since digital cameras these days can take your photos with widths up to about 5000 pixels.

Under the drop down list of possible sizes are two boxes, one for width, the other for height. Use the Width (or Height in certain circumstances) to manually set the width (or height) of your picture. Before entering a value, make sure the Lock ratio box is ticked so you picture isn’t distorted when you set the new width or height. Type in a value for the width (or height) you want and click the other box to set a size to your own preference.

Actions – Tilt, Watermark, Black and white Effect

DSCF0002 Look back at the screenshot above and there’s another section – Actions – which contains some interesting extras. Now you don’t want to go and use these willy-nilly. For example, webDotWiz wouldn’t be treating you kindly if he had used the Tilt… action on the screenshot above – he’s supposed to be helping you out in this Did you know not using all the whizbang features that are available. However if you have some holiday snaps you’re inserting into a blog post, then the Tilt… action can add some interest.


Another Action is the Watermark – you might like to add this to inform visitors to your site that the photo they’re viewing belong to you so you put a personal signature on the photo or you simply give the viewer some information such as the location or time and date the shot was made.

DSCF0002 Hidden away somewhat and often forgotten is the third tab namely Effects. When you click this option you might wonder where they are (the effects, that is). Click the big green plus sign + to add one of the available effects (Black and white, Sepia, and more).

A final hint: if you’re inserting a picture and want to place to the left or right of some text, begin a new paragraph by pressing Enter on your keyboard and then type in a couple of lines first. Now place the cursor at the start of this new paragraph and insert the picture. Choose Left or Right text wrapping to position the picture.

To leave space alongside the picture (e.g. you want to begin a new paragraph that doesn’t relate to the picture or insert another picture positioned with left or right text wrapping), press Enter on your keyboard until the line of the new paragraph will pass beneath the picture.

To finish up: you can create some attractive blog entries using the picture enhancement tools (we didn’t get around to using Borders under the Picture tab – webDotWiz will leave that feature as an exercise for your homework). A little experimentation will help you discover what’s possible and you’ll soon become familiar with placing your photos with an appropriate size on your page.


Posted using the 2009 Release Candidate of Windows Live Writer.


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