Writing posts for Blogger in MS Word (etc)

This article is about how you can write the content of your blog posts when you are not connected to the internet, and actually post them later when you are connected again.

Why write off-line?

Filzstifte1Some people like to prepare their posts while they are off-line:  This may be because their internet connection costs are very high, eg on a cruise ship as a passenger or as crew, or because their internet connection in unreliable. Some people just find that they can be more creative when they're not connected and being interrupted by chat and emails. Others may have documents that they wrote before they knew that Blogger (or even the internet) existed, that they now want to put onto a blog.

If you copy-and-paste from MS Word (and other Microsoft programs too, eg Excel, PowerPoint), then a lot of extra codes are added to your text.  These characters can have all sorts of effects, eg I've seen a help-forum post about a page element in the sidebar changing colour unexpectedly which was finally tracked down to a copy-and-paste from Word.

So, to be safe, the advice is DON'T copy and paste from Microsoft directly to your blog.

Which leaves people asking, how can I:
  • Write the contents of  blog posts when I'm not connected to the internet?
  • Convert existing word-processor documents into to Blogger posts?
  • Load content from another tool into your blog?

Some options:

Use a text editor:
The simplest approach is to write your document contents in a text-editor (eg Notepad) without any formatting.   You can copy-and-paste from there into Blogger when you are ready, and then you apply formatting after the text is put in the blogger editor.

Double copy-and-paste:
Another approach is to write in MS Word (etc).  When you're ready to post, copy the text into a text-editor (eg Notepad) first, and then copy it again from there before you past it into the blogger editor.   You will lose any formatting (bold, italics, indents etc) that you did in Word:  they will need to be re-done once your post is in the Blogger editor.

Write externally and link to the file:
You may decide not to load the document contents into Blogger at all.  Instead, load it to a file host (see File-hosting options), and link to it from your blog post with some anchor text.  
Anchor-text is the set of words that are used to link to something - for example, in the last sentence, "file-host options" is the anchor text, and "http://blogger-hints-and-tips.blogspot.com/2010/01/file-sharing-hosts.html" is the link
If you do this you want to be sure that the people who will looking at the file will have software that can read it.   One good option can by to save it as a PDF file - if you use some file hosts, you can even get the HTML to display the PDF embedded in your blog (using option two from Putting external HTML into your blog).

Use a Blog-friendly editor:
One tool that you can use for off-line work is Windows Live Writer.  I haven't tried it myself (yet), but this article about it is from a person who generally gives very good advice.   That said, if you're going to use WLW, you need to keep using it, because there are some issues with switching back to the regular Blogger editor later on.

Another possible tool is MS Word version 10.   This has an option to publish blog posts.   It may not work in all situation - eg in some companies, the network may be set up so that you cannot make the necessary connection between Word and Blogger.  Also, I'm fairly sure that it will use the Live-Writer approach, so it's likely that posts originally written in Word 10 (and higher) may not be easily edited in Blogger.

A similar approach is to use a Blogger-friendly converter, ie a piece of software that takes a Word (etc) document and turns it into the type of HTML that Blogger can handle.   Google Docs is one option - there's a separate article for this approach, because it's so new and has so many potential options and challenges.  But so far, the feedback is that this works well.

Related Articles: 

File-hosting options.

Using Windows Live Writer (external link).

Converting Word documents to Blogger via Google Docs

Showing a PowerPoint presentation in your blog

Putting external HTML into your blog


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