Windows Live Writer is an amazing, free blogging application and ships as part of the Live Essentials package, for now. Microsoft is moving to end the Essentials products with the vision of transitioning people from Windows Live Writer to Word to blog.
While this isn’t yet enforced, I decided to try living in the future and try out blogging from Word 2013. Sadly the experiment was very short lived. After registering my blog with Word I was all set start being productive. After writing a post, I went through the standard insertion of an image at the top of the post.
Unfortunately Word 2013 still presents image dimensions in cm instead of pixels as WLW does. Blogging is done in the digital domain, not in the print world, like Word was designed for, so cm make no sense here. I have a default size for the primary graphic of 700 pixels wide, which I then needed to jump into Fireworks to translate to cm and back. Once the post went up, I found the image positions after 3 lines of text, before all the text as it showed in Word.
The next issue was categories. Over the years of blogging and thousands of articles, I’ve created a lengthy list of post categories. It seems Word 2013 only brings in the first 10, these aren’t the 10 most common, just the first 10 in an A-Z list. This isn’t scrollable and instantly makes this unusable. Having to jump into the WordPress dashboard to add categories afterwards defeats the whole point of using a application.
The next issue was theme support, or lack of. In Windows Live Writer it has a neat trick when you first configure your blog. It goes and detects the theme used on your blog and pulls in a preview of that, so you’re images and content can be arranged to fit in the content column dimensions. No such feature exists in Word. Users are simply left with a full-width white area to create content in, with no ability to see what fits and what doesn’t.
Overall Word 2013 is not mature enough to be taken seriously as a blogging application, nor is it ready to replace Windows Live Writer any time soon. Given ‘Blog post’ holds such a prevalent position in the New Document menu, Microsoft are clearly positioning Word to be a strong contender in the blogging space. With some more work, it’s possible it could get there, but the road is a long one.