Windows Live Writer: Working with the Default and Theme Templates

Windows_Live_Writer_theme_messed_up

At times it's hard to explain the issues of why Windows Live Writer can't display a theme correctly. It's multifaceted, but it can be explained with a little effort.

The support forums for Windows Live Writer ask these questions from time to time and it's good to have an example to draw from. In this post I provide the location of the default theme in Windows Live Writer and the location of where the dynamic themes are stored.

Depending on what the sore spot is, the average person should be able to read this and then make some small adjustments, or just create a BASIC theme for themselves.

Default Theme…

Location of the default template; the one where you edit without theme information, is kept here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Writer\template

Windows_Live_Writer_template_default

If you're having issues with your theme, or need to troubleshoot, turn off the theme and try editing without it.

   In Windows Live Writer
    » Blog Account [tab] » Blog Theme button [toggle on/off]

These are the default files and template information. These files can be modified and changed to fit whatever you'd like. You can change the CSS to add special options and behaviors, but the changes here aren't reflected on the theme when you upload to the blog; it's only local.

Default.htm

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<!-- saved from url=(0013)about:internet -->
<HTML>
<HEAD>
<META http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; utf-8">
<LINK href="{0}" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet">
</HEAD>

<BODY>

<DIV class="post">
    <DIV class="title">{1}</DIV>
    <DIV class="body"><P>{2}</P></DIV>
</DIV>

</BODY>

</HTML>

 

Defaultstyle.CSS

html
{
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
}

body
{
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
}

h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 { font-weight: normal; }
h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, p, ol, ul, pre, blockquote
{
    margin-top: 10px;
    margin-bottom: 10px;
}


/* page layout */

body
{
    font-family: {body-font};
    font-size: 11pt;
}

a { color: #696; font-weight: normal; }
a:visited { color: #696; }
a:hover { color: #acb613; }

ul ul
{
    margin-top: 1px;
    margin-bottom: 1px;
}

blockquote
{
    margin-top: 19px;
    margin-bottom: 19px;
    margin-left: 40px;
    margin-right: 40px;
}
/*blockquote p { padding: 0px; }*/

/* the post */
.post
{
}

/* title section of the post */
.title
{
    margin: 7px 5px 10px 5px;
    font-family: {title-font};
    font-size: 14pt;
}

/* content section of the post */
.body
{
    margin: 5px 5px 5px 5px;
}

 

Dynamic/Downloaded themes…

Windows Live Writer is a cool application in the fact it can download the theme information from a blog and a majority of the time, use it as a presentation form for the user as they are composing a post. It's great when it works, sucks when it doesn't.

Downloaded themes are stored here.

If your searching for the location of the blog templates for Windows Live Writer you'll have to navigate to:

     %appdata%\Roaming\Windows Live Writer\blogtemplates

Just do START, RUN and paste that location… it should take you right there. If not browse manually. It's there.

Obviously, there's more complexity than with the baseline 'default theme' that Windows Live Writer uses. but as with the default HTML and CSS, it can be modified.

 

HTML files…

What you need to understand about Windows Live Writer here is that Windows Live Writer is a horrible house keeper. each time you refresh your theme, it creates new files and folders and NEVER cleans up behind itself. Lots of duplication and orphaned files.

BUT typically, the most recent HTML files are the ones used. One HTML file is for editing and the other is for preview. Simple.

Windows_Live_Writer_theme_HTML_files

To be honest, it's a lot easier to view these with a true HTML WYSIWYG editor; like Kompozer or NVU; or Microsoft FrontPage. Changes to the HTML files can be done very quickly.

 

CSS files…

If you're using theme's with Windows Live Writer [and you probably are], the thing you need to understand is that Windows Live Writer gets images, fonts, layout, formatting behavior and many other things from your blog's CSS [cascading style sheet]. And the CSS for your site will 'typically' override what HTML you put on your site/blog.

If you want to change the images, layout, font, line spacing or stuff like the return carriage behavior; you need to start with your site/blog first [change what you need to] and then download the theme with Windows Live Writer. If you still have issues, then move on to Windows Live Writer... attempt to change the CSS in Windows Live Writer to behave the way you want it to.

To read more on CSS, go here:

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/CSS/Getting_Started/How_CSS_works

 

The style sheets from your blog are downloaded and used in Windows Live Writer for dynamic theme editing. Sometimes the downloaded themes work great, others— no such much. No joke here, CSS can be overwhelming to some, but you should be able to review it for a few minutes and get the gist of it.

Windows_Live_Writer_theme_CSS_files

Like this for the body text…

Windows_Live_Writer_CSS_body_text

and like this…

Windows_Live_Writer_CSS_example

Basically, the CSS tells the various portions of the HTML what to do.

Between the HTML editing and the small edits to the CSS, you should be able to bend Windows Live Writer in to shape, OR create your own template.

 

Make your changes and save the files, and then restart Windows Live Writer and if that fixes you up.

I hope this helps...

 

Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.
LEHSYS.com 

...via Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12

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