When I switched from a PC to a Mac, I rejoiced over the increased speed, the slick interface, and the fantastic programs that come right out of the box. However, there’s one program that I use almost every day that I couldn’t take with me to my Mac: Windows Live Writer.
Windows Live Writer is the ultimate in offline blogging editors. It provides the familiar interface of Word along with all of the WYSIWIG features you could need when writing for the web. It’s really easy to insert and edit images in blog posts, format text (including headings), and post content to multiple blogs. It’s not available for Mac unless you’re willing to run Windows, a process that can make a Mac run quite slow.
I wanted a clean break from Windows, and I didn’t want to spend any extra money on even the bare bones Windows 7 operating system.
I write several blog posts each day between my own blog and blog posts for my clients, and I’ve lost enough blog posts to online editors and/or spotty internet that I’ve learned to rely pretty heavily on the stability of an offline editor like Windows Live Writer. For my own blog I use a lot of its formatting options that I simply haven’t found in other offline editors.
Now that I’m a blogger who uses a Mac, there’s really only one viable blog editor that comes close to the features offered by Windows Live Writer: ScribeFire. It’s also the one Mac blog editor that is overlooked in many articles about the search for a WLW substitute.
ScribeFire as a Substitute for Windows Live Writer
ScribeFire is a browser plugin that I’ve used in Chrome, but it’s available in other browsers such as Firefox. It’s a quick install, and it loads without any trouble. Although technically “browser” blogging program, it offers all of the features that you would expect in an offline editor and I can load it up when offline and save my work.
It’s easy to save drafts, insert images, post to multiple blogs, and format documents in its text editor. While it doesn’t offer header formatting options, you can easily customize your keyboard to create a shortcut. I just click “COMMAND+3” in order to make h3 headings, and could do the same for every other level of heading if I needed them.
You can remove formatting from text that is pasted in, double check formatting in an HTML editor, and then switch to the visual editor which offers all of the formatting options you’d find in a solid online editor like the one offered by WordPress.
You can’t create or edit pages in ScribeFire, but it’s simple enough to write up content and then paste it into a page template for a CMS like WordPress.
Lastly, and you wouldn’t think this should be such an issue, but you can actually SEE the text in ScribeFire since it’s easy to just zoom in a bit on the editor screen if you need larger text. I have excellent eye site, but all of the blog editors for Mac, which I will summarily dismiss below, had the significant drawback of tiny, tiny text. I searched and searched for a zoom or view option that I could change, but no dice. In fact, I was about to make do with Ecto, but I kept leaning forward and squinting to see the tiny text. All that to say, ScribeFire makes it possible to zoom in on your text as much as you like, and more customization is always better than less.
Now that I’ve sung the praises of ScribeFire for Mac bloggers, here are some other blog editor options I’ve checked out.
Online Blog Editors
Of course you could just write and edit your posts online in the editor provided by your website. I’m in the unique position that my Christian theology blog, the one I update several times a week, doesn’t have a functioning visual editor in WordPress. It’s a common problem that has many, many suggested solutions. However none of them have worked for me.
Even though my other blogs and client blogs have functioning editors, I still prefer writing the content offline and then pasting it into the online editors because I don’t want to risk losing my posts because of a cafe’s spotty wifi. I know some other bloggers have also had issues losing posts in their online editors, but I’m not certain how big of a problem this is, as the latest editor in WordPress is quite good, provided your internet connection is reliable.
Word as a Blog Editor
For many of my client projects, I’ve switched to blogging in Word and just pasting the text into the WordPress online editor. It recognizes the different heading formats (H1, H2, H3, etc.), bold/italic formatting, and hyperlinks. I’ve only had trouble with inserting images, so I just end up inserting them in WordPress through its much-improved media button.
Qumana, Ecto, and Mars Edit: The Terrible Mac Blog Editors
You really can group all of these together for the most part. They’re all impossibly tiny editors with clunky interfaces. The main difference is that you can add some custom HTML buttons (such as h3 tags) in Ecto (probably in MarsEdit I suspect) and MarsEdit and Ecto actually cost money. I even paid for Ecto because I forgot that ScribeFire was option.
The two days I spent exclusively using Ecto were dark indeed. Writing was more of a chore than a pleasure, and I promptly deleted the program when I saw that ScribeFire was an option. On a related note, if anyone wants to buy a $20 Ecto registration code from me, drop a comment below!
We Will Survive Without Windows Live Writer
This sounds kind of crazy, but I spent a couple of days mourning the loss of Windows Live Writer. I spent so much time on that program that it was hard to imagine life without it. I think most Mac bloggers can get by with Word as an offline editor and simply pasting the text into an online editor. However, if you’re like me, and you’ve grown used to WLW, save yourself some time and money by checking out ScribeFire.
Did I miss a great blog editor for Mac?
Did a new blog editor come out since I wrote this post?
Has Bill Gates taken time away from promoting knowledge and education in order to provide Mac users with the blog editor we deserve, adapting WLW for iOS???
Let me know which blog editor you use in the comments!
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