Blogging has taken the world by storm. All kinds of people keep blogs (short for "web logs"), and for all kinds of reasons: to offer professional tips; to tell quirky, real-life anecdotes; to start sober, respectful political conversations (yeah, right). If you can imagine it, there's a blog for it.
If you have a blog of your own, or if you’re thinking of starting one, you can use Word to create and edit your posts—and then put them on your blog directly from Word. Word works with the most popular blogging services. Once you’ve registered your blog with Word, you can publish your blog post with a single click. You can even set up Word to work with multiple blogs.
Setting up a Blog with Word
Before you can use Word to write blog posts, you need a blog account somewhere on the Web. Popular blogging services include Blogger, WordPress, TypePad, and Windows Live Spaces. If your organization hosts a SharePoint site, the person who manages that site can set up a blog for you there.
After you’ve set up a blog account, the next step is to introduce Word to your blog. You need to give Word the user name and password you use to sign in, for example. When it has that info, Word can contact your blogging site, sign into your account, and help post your thoughts to the world.
The first time you start a blog post in Word, Word asks you to register your blog.
- Select File➝New➝Blog Post➝Create (Alt, F, N, O, N).
A window opens for you to write a blog post. Word also displays a dialog box (Register a Blog Account) informing you that it needs that user name and password info.
- Click Register Now.
The New Blog Account dialog box, shown in Figure B-1, contains a list of blog providers that Word can work with.
- Choose your blogging service, and then click Next.
Word asks for information about your blog account.
- Type in the user name and password you use to sign into your blog.
Word can store your password, so if you don’t want to type that in whenever you put up a blog post from Word, turn on the Remember Password checkbox.
- Next, tell Word how to handle posting pictures to your blog; click the Picture Options button.
This opens the Picture Options dialog box, shown in Figure B-2. Many bloggers add pictures to their posts—that much you already know. But where do you get the pictures you want to add, and where do you store those image files so they appear in your post? That’s what you tell Word in this dialog box. From the “Picture provider” drop-down list, choose the appropriate option:
——None—Don’t upload pictures. Select this if you don’t plan to use photos on your blog, or if you’ll insert them directly using the blogging service’s own blog post editor.
——SharePoint blog. If you’re using a SharePoint site for your blog, Word preselects this option for you. You’re all set for uploading images via Word—leave the “Picture provider” drop-down menu set to this option.
——My blog provider. If the drop-down menu shows this as the preselected option, it means your blogging service can work with Word to add images to your blog posts. If you want to upload pictures through Word—that is, if you want to select images stored on your computer and add them to the posts as you write them—leave this option selected.
——My own server. If you use a third-party site, such as Flickr or PhotoBucket, to store pictures and want to upload them to your blog from there, select this option. The Picture Options dialog box expands to include two new text boxes: Upload URL (type or paste in the web address you use to upload pictures to the third-party site) and Source URL (type or paste in the web address you use to view pictures on the third-party site). The addresses you use to upload and view pictures might start with HTTP or with FTP; if you’re not sure what address to use, check with the service that hosts your pictures.
Tip: If you’re using pictures that you’ve uploaded to a photo sharing site like Flickr, make sure you’ve made them available for anyone to view before adding the pictures to your blog.
- Select your picture provider, give any required additional information, and then click OK.
The Picture Options dialog box closes.
- Back in the New Account box, click OK.
Word contacts your blogging service and does a test sign-in to your account. If all goes well, Word adds this account to your registered blog accounts, and you see a dialog box that tells you that the registration was successful.
Writing a Blog Post
Writing a blog post is—and isn’t—like writing any other document in Word. You position the cursor and start typing, press Enter to start a new paragraph, and use the formatting buttons on the Home tab (here, though, it’s called the Blog Post tab). But you’ll notice some differences, too. Word in blog-post mode is stripped down, with fewer tabs on the Ribbon. Basically, Word redesigns itself to focus on the things you want to do in a blog post: Type and format text, apply styles, and insert pictures and other graphics.
When you’re done writing your post, save it as you would any other Word file. (Do this, for example, if you want to keep backup copies of your posts.) But the whole point of writing a blog post is to put it on your blog, so read on to find out how to do that.
Posting to Your Blog
When you’re ready to publish your post online, make sure your computer is connected to the Internet, and then select Blog Post➝Publish (Alt, H, P, P). If you haven’t told Word to remember your password, you see a dialog box asking you to provide your sign-in info. Type in your user name and password, and then click OK. Word connects to your blogging site, signs in, and uploads your post. At the top of the document in Word, you see a notification that the post was published, along with the posting date and time. Now the document is on your blog for all to see.
You can also upload the document to your blog as a draft. When you choose this option, Word uploads the post but doesn’t publish it yet. Instead, you can find the post where your blogging service stores draft posts (you can find it by clicking the link you use to edit posts). You might want to upload a post as a draft if you’ve been writing in Word and want to finish it later from a different computer, or if you’re having second thoughts about publicly declaring your love for Lady Gaga.
To upload a Word blog post as a draft, go to the Blog Post tab and click the Publish
button’s down arrow, then choose Publish as Draft (Alt, H, P, D).
Editing a Blog Post
After you’ve published a post, it’s not sitting there carved in stone on the Web. If you have a brilliant thought you want to add or if you notice a typo, it’s simple to pull the post back into Word, edit it, and repost it.
To do that, create a new blog post document or open one you’ve saved in Word. On the Blog Post tab, click the Open Existing button (Alt, H, O). The Open Existing Post dialog box, shown in Figure B-3, appears, listing the blog posts on your site (all your posts appear, even if you didn’t write them in Word). Select the post you want to edit, and then click OK.
In a new window, Word opens the blog post as a document—go ahead and edit away.
When you’re done, publish the post in the same way you’d publish a brand-new one.
Managing Multiple Blogs
Some people have a lot to say—words of wisdom to dispense, recipes to share, political opinions to express—and keep multiple blogs on several topics. If you have more than one blog, you can manage ’em all from Word. To add a new blog, open a new or existing blog post document and then select Blog Post➝Manage Accounts (Alt, H, M). The Blog Accounts dialog box, shown in Figure B-4, opens, listing the blogs you’ve registered with Word.
From the Blog Accounts dialog box, you can take these actions:
- New. Register a new blog account with Word. Click this button and follow the steps on page 2 of this appendix, starting with step 3. (Registering a blog gets easier after you’ve done it once—honest!)
- Change. If you’ve got more than one blog on your favorite blogging site, click this button to change which blog you’ve registered with Word. (Of course, you can register all your blogs with Word if you want.)
- Set As Default. As Figure B-4 shows, the blog at the top of your Blog Accounts list has a checkmark to its left. That’s your default blog—the one Word publishes to if you simply click the Publish button. To change the default blog, select the one you want, and then click this button.
- Remove. If you want to remove a blog that you’ve registered with Word, select the blog, and then click this button. Removing a blog from Word doesn’t affect your account with your blogging service.
When you’re done, click Close to close the Blog Accounts box.
When you’ve got more than one blog registered with Word, you need to tell Word which blog to upload to when you publish a blog post. To help you keep multiple blogs straight, Word adds an Account drop-down list to each new blog post you write, as shown in Figure B-5. This list doesn’t show in your blog post, but it lets you select the blog you want to post to before you publish. If you’re posting to your default blog, you don’t have to do a thing. If you want to post to one of your other registered blogs, select the one you want before clicking Publish.
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