4 Alternatives To Windows Live Writer For Blogging

windows live writer shrunk thumbnail   4 Alternatives To Windows Live Writer For BloggingWindows Live Writer’s future is uncertain at best. Microsoft recently announced the end of the Windows Live brand, and Windows Live Writer was noticeably absent from the list of Windows Live products that would be renamed. In response to concerns, all Microsoft is saying about Windows Live Writer is it will “work great on Windows 8” – not whether development is being halted or not. With such an uncertain future, you might be wondering what alternatives are out there.

One thing that became clear to me while writing this post is how few alternatives there really are – many older blog editors have had their websites shut down and have vanished from the Internet. Windows Live Writer was (and still is) the best desktop blogging client out there. It’s a shame they seem to be moving to kill it after cornering the market.

WordPress Built-In Editor

While many of us here at MakeUseOf are Windows Live Writer fans – personally, I think the easy addition of images without going through WordPress’s upload form is a killer feature – quite a few of us think that WordPress has become good enough. If you haven’t recently tried the built-in editor in WordPress, you might be surprised just how slick it’s gotten.

writing a post in wordpress   4 Alternatives To Windows Live Writer For Blogging

If you’re using a modern browser (not Internet Explorer 9, which doesn’t implement the file upload API), you can drag and drop images directly onto the file upload pane to quickly upload them. This saves some time, although it’s not quite as convenient as drag and dropping images directly into Windows Live Writer without accessing any dialogs.

wordpress upload files   4 Alternatives To Windows Live Writer For Blogging

The built-in editor is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, just like Windows Live Writer, so writing and formatting your posts is pretty easy. One feature that it lacks is automatic recovery of the post you’re writing if your browser crashes. For this, you’ll want to try the Lazarus extension – available for both Chrome and Firefox — which restores text if your browser crashes. You’ll also want to manually create back up copies of the posts you submit, just to be safe – when you write a post in Windows Live Writer, you get a local backup on your computer.

Zoundry Raven

Zoundry Raven seems to be one of the most popular desktop blogging clients after Windows Live Writer. It’s a pretty decent application, although it isn’t quite as slick as Windows Live Writer. As a tech blogger who works with screenshots a lot, I was disappointed that you can’t drag-and-drop image files directly onto Zoundry Raven’s editing window. You have to use the Insert Image File option and browse to the image file on your system.

Zoundry Raven has some features Windows Live Writer doesn’t. It can be installed as a portable app, for convenient on-the-go use. It also includes a media storage wizard that allows you to upload images to a different location – including Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, ImageShack, or even a custom FTP server. For more information about Zoundry Raven, check out our in-depth review.

zoundry raven editing window   4 Alternatives To Windows Live Writer For Blogging

BlogDesk

BlogDesk is another decent option – in fact, Tina’s used it to write posts here. BlogDesk has a focus on simplicity and distraction-free writing. Unfortunately, this might make it a bit limited if you want to format posts with more complicated formatting. For example, I couldn’t find an easy way to format certain lines as headers without inserting the HTML by hand. BlogDesk also failed the drag-and-drop-an-image-file test. You have to use the Insert Image option here, too – although BlogDesk does provide some image-editing options, allowing you to crop and resize the image when inserting it.

For more information about BlogDesk, check out our BlogDesk walkthrough.

blogdesk   4 Alternatives To Windows Live Writer For Blogging

ScribeFire

ScribeFire is an extension for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. It allows you to blog right from your browser, a feature which Ryan enjoyed in his review. ScribeFire’s split-pane interface is particularly useful if you blog about things you find online – just select some text on a web page, right click, and select Blog This. You can add your take on the subject and easily send a post straight to your blog. If you want to blog more often, ScribeFire is a great way to reduce the friction.

Ryan’s also written about using ScribeFire to create blog post templates and write quick blog posts.

scribefire in action   4 Alternatives To Windows Live Writer For Blogging

Should You Switch?

The best solution may be to stick with Windows Live Writer itself for the moment. In fact, I wrote this post in Windows Live Writer – it still works fine, and Microsoft assures us that it will even work fine in Windows 8. Still, it seems like Windows Live Writer has come to the end of the road – it will likely become increasingly dated and stale from here on out. What a shame.

Don’t discount the built-in editor if you use WordPress, though – it’s surprisingly good.

How do you blog? Do you use the built-in editor, are you a Windows Live Writer fan, or do you prefer another editor?

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51 Comments -

0 votes

Joel Lee

I write my articles in Word and format them as necessary inside WordPress itself. For my personal blog, though, I use Windows Live Writer and it gets the job done. I may have to give ScribeFire a try–it looks spiffy.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

It’s nice for just popping it open right in the browser and blogging, but it doesn’t have the feature-filled “feel” of some of the other options. Definitely not on the level of Live Writer. I’m still torn between which of those listed in this article to use!

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I would definitely use ScribeFire if I had a personal blog, I think. Looks like a big time saver.

I was dissapointed that the other option pale in alternative to Live Writer — the built-in editor really seems like the best alternative.

0 votes

Peter James Escobar

I usually use Blogspot than this.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I’m not familiar with Blogspot’s built-in editor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was pretty good!

0 votes

Scott

There is a great WordPress plugin called Faster Image Insert that adds a drag and drop image uploader right below your post edit window so you might want to try that out.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That sounds awesome. Unfortunately, I can’t really install WordPress plug-ins on MakeUseOf as a lowly writer — still, it’s something I’d check out if I could! Thanks for the useful tip.

0 votes

Scott

There is a great WordPress plugin called Faster Image Insert that adds a drag and drop image uploader right under your post edit window.

0 votes

Richard

You can also use Word 2010 to blog. It’s not half-bad. Not as good as WLW in its heyday but it works well. Open it up, select “File > New”. Then select “Blog post” from the Available Templates list. Give it a try, you might like it.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Huh, I never knew Word has built-in support for this. Can you upload posts to your blog platform of choice directly from Word?

0 votes

Richard

Yes. You can save your credentials and upload directly to your blog.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Wow — I guess Microsoft sees Word itself as the alternative to Windows Live Writer. Very interesting — thanks for sharing that!

0 votes

rtpHarry

They have had this option for a long time. One of the big selling points of WLW over Word for me is that WLW is one of the best tools out there for cleaning up the extra html that Microsoft Word leaves behind when you copy paste.

0 votes

Loren Smith

Recently I started using OpenOffice (a free, open-source office suite you can find at http://www.openoffice.org/) and overall, I am happy with it.

There is an extension for OpenOffice called Sun Weblog Publisher (located at http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/swp). According to their description:
“The Sun Weblog Publisher allows you to quickly create, edit and publish weblog entries on many popular Blog servers. It is easy to use so that any user can start blogging right away! Use the advanced word processing features of the Writer to create blogs with tables, bullets, hyperlinks, graphics, and spellchecking via the office suite’s spellchecking technology. Supports a number of Blog platforms, including Roller, WordPress, Generic ATOM and Generic MetaWeblog.”

I haven’t used it yet but am happy to have both of these free alternatives to work with.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Sweet – didn’t know about that and I’ve installed Open Office! Will have to give it a look. Nice tip Loren!

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Wow, very interesting to see that both Word and OpenOffice appear to have options for doing this. Unfortunately, that extension looks a bit dated and other users are reporting problems in the comments over there. Still, worth a shot!

0 votes

Eric Pulsifer

I used ScribeFire several years ago and liked it, but it was sometimes slow and buggy back then. It might have improved since then. Now I just use a text editor, copy and paste directly into WordPress.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

ScribeFire feels pretty slick. I think a lot of casual bloggers could benefit from it.

I think more and more people are moving to WordPress’s built-in editor, though.

0 votes

carie

This is really sad. WLW is actually a brilliant app. I have tried all the options listed here and quiet a few others to boot, as well as some of the linux options and the fact is while collectively, they do what WLW does, as single apps they all miss something.

With WLW, microsoft managed to keep the whole thing amazingly easy to use and set up, while offering WYSIWYG features, a host of more advanced ones too, not to mention the fact that it does not inject useless, unwanted code into the posts, as seen when using word.

All in all, very sad to hear the end of development for WLW.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Hopefully they’ll reconsider — they haven’t announced the end of WLW, but their silence on its future is deafening while they tell us about the futures of all their other products.

It makes sense, really. IT was originally an editor for Windows Live Spaces, Microsoft’s blogging platform, which was shut down long ago. It doesn’t really make sense as a Windows Live application and it doesn’t fit in Microsoft’s strategy.

0 votes

Endlesslove

Great new blog. I usually use Blogspot and WordPress

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

The future is with the built-in, web-based editors instead of the desktop software, I think.

0 votes

sanjay

upto now iam using WLW, never found anything drawback, losing WLW is a great drawback to me? However zoundrey raven is a portable application, I will give it a try by sysncing to dropbox to use it in my office and personal needs.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That is a big advantage of portable apps. It’s mildly annoying having to set up Windows Live Writer separately on my desktop and laptop.

0 votes

Ryan Dube

Good article Chris. I keep looking at alternatives to writing write in the WordPress editor, just so I have a good copy I can save offline. I tried Windows Live Writer and just can’t seem to get a good appreciation for it. Might actually try out Zoundry thanks to your suggestion.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Thanks, Ryan! Zoundry does look the most popular after WLW. Sadly, none of these alternatives are as full-featured as I’d like them to be.

0 votes

Zebbie

Two things:

1) Is MS retiring just the WL software suite, or are they abandoning their longtime online services too — namely Live Hotmail and SkyDrive? Haven’t they had Hotmail for close to 20 years?

2) What services/apps do you recommend for blogging anonymously via Tor? I tried signing up for Google Blogger but it detects “suspicious activity” and requires verification through a mobile # (which could, in theory, be traced to you).

WordPress’ native editor is even buggier through Tor (I use WP.com as I cannot afford a “true” WP blog). How secure is the Scribe Fire extension?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

1) Microsoft is retiring the “Windows Live” name and the software suite — check out this post of theirs for more details: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/05/02/cloud-services-for-windows-8-and-windows-phone-windows-live-reimagined.aspx

There’s a grid that shows the old products and their new names.Hotmail and SkyDrive will continue to exist. For example of a change, your “Windows Live ID” (a Hotmail account, for most people) is now a “Microsoft account.”

In the grid, Windows Live Writer is noticeably absent.

2) I think most blogging platforms will restrict you from accessing via Tor for just that reason. If you set up your own WP blog, you could access it through Tor anonymously without problems, in theory — but then you’d have to pay for hosting. It’s very problematic. You might try asking this question on MakeUseOf Answers: http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/

You’d get more eyeballs on your questions and more responses.

I can’t speak to how secure the ScribeFire extension is, really — I’m not aware of any problems, though.

0 votes

Michael Aulia @CravingTech.com

I don’t think there’s anything at the moment that can replace Windows Live Writer. Assuming Microsoft doesn’t take the product out of the market and WordPress does not change their systems, then we’ll all be sticking with it for a very long time

I find it amusing that no one else has ever tried making a nice Windows/Mac blogging app like Windows Live Writer

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Windows Live Writer was so good that other projects stalled — sort of like how Google Reader really took over the dedicated RSS reader space. That’s why it’s so tragic that we’re in this situation.

0 votes

rtpHarry

I am not that freaked out by this. First off, the app was “updated” in 2010 but what did it really get except for the ribbon? Its basically feature complete, and has a plugin architecture to extend it where needed.

Its not getting any press because its not getting a metro version. Well duh, metro is designed for consuming content not producing it. When I just signed up for it, the petition hadn’t broken 700 people after being out there for a month.

We are a niche market. Its not worth it for Microsoft to muddy the waters with non-metro announcements when they are in the hype run up to windows 8. Its not getting a metro version because its not a good fit for it. It will still work on the new windows 8 desktop mode which is where all the people that care about WLW will be spending most of their time any way.

Hands up any users of WLW that seriously expect to use metro in any place other than on the toilet or the bus? :) Hello, you are a niche of a niche.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Well, it’s possible that WLW will break in the future if they refuse to update it. Maybe WordPress will change their API and WLW will stop working, maybe it will break on newer versions of Windows — if Microsoft doesn’t update it, it’ll eventually stop working properly.

0 votes

Kirti Gautam

Hard to find alternative for Windows Live writer… But I will try Raven. May be a good substitute of it.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I’m still using Windows Live Writer for now — no need to fix what isn’t broken just yet.

0 votes

Kyle Schlichter

My experience so far with Zoundry Raven has been entirely negative. So far, it refuses to detect any of my blogs after entering in the username, password, and API URL for Blogspot/Blogger. Perhaps it’s just not as compatible with that site as the developer claims.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That’s quite possible. Sadly, most of the other desktop blogging apps out there are pretty half-baked.

0 votes

Farrukh

Well, there are users to like offline editor and I’m one of them. I’ve used some freeware blog editors like Blog Jet, Zondar, etc, but uptill this day, I’ve found Live Writer a best one, because of number of useful plugins, themes downloads and you work offline in your favorite theme environment and man other number of good reasons.

However, its source editor is badly need improvements, at least there should be some color syntax. I mostly use Visual Studio for source editing.

But still its a very good editor.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That’s a really good idea. It’s always annoying when I have to edit the HTML — syntax highlighting would be awesome.

0 votes

David Berman

I use Windows LiveWriter with TypePad, not WordPress, and I am in mourning over the possible demise of LiveWriter, which I use to compose at least 95% of my blog articles.

There must be some developer out there who could make a bundle by developing an offline blog-composition app that works as good or better than LiveWriter.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Until such time as Live Writer stops working entirely, few people will be interested, sadly.

0 votes

Mike Hardisty

One of the great things about WLW is a plugin that allows you to import images directly from Flickr into your blog. I store all of my blog photographs on Flickr and I can just call them up when required. WLW and the plugin take care of image size, linking etc. It’s one less thing I have to worry about.

Hopefully it will continue to work in the new version of Windows, but there again I haven’t seen anything that really thrills me about Windows 8, yet.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I can confirm that it works fine on Windows 8, but I wouldn’t expect much further development any time soon.

0 votes

Daniel Lang

I was in search for a mac alternative to WLW and stumbled upon your blog post. It’s well written and it was interesting to learn about some alternative, however, the basis for your post is nonsense…

Windows Live Writer will be here and updated for at least another 10 years.

Why? Because so many developers inside and outside of Microsoft and so many bloggers are using it. Microsoft will never ever just let it die. Two options: Either they continue to support it on there own (which seems very likely to me) or they make it open source. Any other thing is totally unrealistic.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I hope so, but we just don’t know. It would be a mistake for Microsoft to discontinue it, but companies make mistakes. Microsoft has made many.

0 votes

Pete A

I use MS Word…but via the blog publisher builtin to MS Word. It automatically pulls the keywords avaialble from my blog (WordPress), and MUCH of Word’s capabiities are useable. Not all, for sure. Tables are a PITA, but they are in WordPress’s editor too. Here’s a link to show the mangle made by HTML of the clean Word table. But asside from that, it automatically uploads all figures and images with clarity. EVERY entry in my blog was made this way (MS Word Blog Post Template document, formatted in word, then push button in the Word ribbon posts it on the blog. Slick and quick. Here’s the link to the Word Table => WordPress Table problem, and there’s an image of what I see in Word while construction the post.
http://www.sundognorth.com/TtP-S/?p=1005

0 votes

Andy Vazquez

I’m about to give a try to WordPress.com app on windows 8. It looks… simple, minimalistic even. Besides, being a native windows 8 app is great , for it can be used on both RT and Pro versions. I don’t know how my productivity will change, since it can’t be resized as a desktop app, but anyways, it’s good to know that there’s an official version of Windows Live Essentials 2012 with WLW in it.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Unfortunately, when I blog I need to see other things on the screen — often a 50/50 split between WLW and whatever I’m writing about. Wouldn’t work with these new Windows 8 apps, which just aren’t as good for productivity.

0 votes

leiva

all in seo pack plugin fields have to be filled in anyways in the wordpress editor, any ideas how to fill this fields in this alt editor?

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Not sure. I do some final tweaks in WordPress, even after writing in WLW.

0 votes

Peter Scargill

I use Live Writer and like others am constantly looking around for alternatives. What amazes me is that other designers still think we have time for uploading images – the Live writer tool is definitely the way to go – and I have a plug-in given to me by a fellow in Microsoft to paste in JPEGs rather than PNG files which I use constantly in several of my blogs.

It is frightening to think that no-one has come up with something better and even worse to think that Microsoft is no longer developing this – the interface does indeed already look a little out of date and it would have been great to see this taken forward.

I would not use WORD as a blog writer if my life depended on it – having been overseer for corporate pages in a large organisation and having suffered constantly at the hands of imported WORD html crap..

0 votes

Kirra Antrobus

I’ve been using windows live writer for a few months, but I’m not happy with it. I always have to go back into blogger to correct paragraph formatting. If I can’t find something I like better, I suppose I’ll just post from inside blogger.