Friday, May 07, 2010

Blogging with Word

This blog is being done entirely in Word 2007 on my home computer. I've resisted using this so far because (as I've been discussing lately), sometimes retraining is hard for someone who is experienced with a tool. I am making a concerted effort to try to really use some of the new features.

I enjoy blogging (obviously - if I've been doing it here for four years). I typically use the Web interface to blog, but there are some advantages to using a new feature in Word 2007. Word 2007 will allow you to publish directly to many blog services, including Blogger (the site I use) and WordPress. For someone like me, who is familiar with the Web interface, this is not a big deal. However, let's take the case of a company that has no technical expertise. They want to add information to their Web site, and their Web person has integrated a blog in to their Web site (such as the site Jay Jaffe (who I met a number of years ago at a Pizzeria Uno in NYC) has his blog set up through WordPress. He publishes directly to WordPress, and it shows up on his Web site. Many companies want this type of ability. The only problem is that Web blog publishing can be complex for a new user. A good Web developer could set up someone up with a Word 2007 blog and avoid the hassle. If the person knows Word 2007, all they would have to do is click on the Office Button and select "New", and then select "New Blog Post". The account setup only needs to be done once, so you could very easily give a less savvy customer a five minute demonstration and get them blogging. Now this user will have all the Word tools they are used to: spell check (with their custom dictionary), formatting tools, thesaurus, symbols, tables, and all the rest. Once they type the blog, all they need to do is click "Publish". Adding pictures becomes a little more complex to set up, but can also be automated. The ability to give a customer push-button blogging that integrates in to their Web site is a great little feature.

One other issue that I see is that sometimes, people want to keep a record of their blogs. For example, there was a site named Gaia that had a blog function. A colleague of mine was blogging there for a few years, and the site shut down. In order for her to save old blogs, it became a real pain. If one were to use Word 2007 to do this, they could very easily click "Save" and keep a local copy of all blog entries as they publish them.

Here are instructions on how to set this up:

What's also cool is if I make changes, I can just type them in to Word and click "Publish", and it knows to "Republish" rather than create a second entry.

Still haven't figured out how to add tags, but overall a nice feature.

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