Using Microsoft Word to Write Your Blogs


The first thing to know about creating a blog in SharePoint 2013 is that blogs are separate sites, not just web parts on an existing site. If you haven’t created a blog site yet, you need to go to the Site Contents page for the site that will be the parent site for the blog. In the second half of the Site Contents page under the Subsites section, click New Subsite. On the following page, supply a title and web address for your site and then select the Blog template from the Collaboration tab in the Template Selection group. I recommend inheriting parent permissions initially. You can break inheritance and create custom permissions later. You can also decide on this page whether you want the blog name to appear in the top link bar. If not, you must supply another way to navigate to the blog site on your own. The following image shows a completed blog site form.

After creating the blog site, SharePoint automatically opens it for you and you should see a welcome blog entry. In the left navigation area, SharePoint also provides a set of four categories which you can use to group your blog entries. Of course you can easily remove these and add categories of your own that may be more appropriate for your blog site. SharePoint also keeps an Archive by month of your blogs to make it easy for readers to go back in time to find an older blog entry.

In the top-right column SharePoint displays a set of blog tools that allow you to do everything from create a new post, manage existing posts, manage comments to the posts, manage the categories used to group posts, change the post layout, and even launch a blogging app. What is a blogging app you ask? Let’s click the link and find out.

After a few seconds, a dialog appears asking you to enter information, a URL, to register your SharePoint blog account. Fortunately, you do not have to figure out what the URL is as SharePoint automatically fills in the Blog URL text box for you. Simply click the OK button to continue.

You should get another dialog informing you that the account registration for the blog site was successful. In the title bar of this dialog, you get your first clue that the blogging app referred to by SharePoint is Microsoft Word.

At this point Microsoft Word opens, not with a blank page, but with a blank blog template as shown below. Since you are creating the blog entry from within Word, you have all the standard

Word functionality from formatting your text to inserting tables, pictures, hyperlinks, and more. In fact, if you want to create a blog with images in it, using Microsoft Word can actually save you time.

How? Normally you have to upload any images you want to use on a web page into an image library before you try to display the image on a page. That is because the image must be on either the same server as SharePoint or on another web server that your SharePoint Server can reference. SharePoint will not display an image on a page that only exists on your local computer. After all, what would happen if your computer was not turned on or perhaps not even connected to the network anymore? Therefore, you have to first upload the image to a picture or image library. Then you need to capture the shortcut link to the image to the clipboard. Returning to the page where you want to display the image, you first must edit the page, then insert an image web part or perhaps a content editor web part into which you can paste the link for the image now stored in a library. That is a lot of work.

However, using Word, you can simply create your blog entry and include the image directly in the text as shown below:

Next, click the Publish option from Publish dropdown menu in the Blog group of the Blog Post ribbon shown to the right.

Finally, returning to my blog site and refreshing the page, I see my most recent blog entry at the top of the blog that displays not only the blog text, but also the embedded image.

What did SharePoint do with the image? Open the Site Contents and look in the Photos library. More next time on advanced permissions for blogs and how to create a private vs. public blog site.

As an interesting side note, I can also use Microsoft Word to publish to other common blog sites such as WordPress. To do this, begin a new document using the Blog Post template. If I did not see this template, I could download it from Microsoft’s template site by using the search box to search for: Blog Post.

After opening a new document with the Blog Post template, click the Manage Accounts button in the Blog Post ribbon.

In the Blog Accounts dialog, click the New button to display the New Blog Account dialog. The dropdown for the blog provider already contains several common blog sites. If my provider is there, simply select it (i.e. WordPress). If not, I would select: Other and Word prompts for additional connection information.

For the common providers, Word already knows the Blog Post URL and will automatically supply it. I will have to enter my specific blog URL along with my user name and password and any other information my provider requires.

After clicking OK, Microsoft Word attempts to connect to the blog provider. If all the information is correct, I should see the following dialog after a few moments.

I can now set the new blog provider as my default provider.

Or I can simply change the account when I begin a new blog post. Note in the following figure that I can also insert a category for my blog. However, I do not have the ability to select multiple categories like I may do when logged into my actual blog provider.

As with a SharePoint blog, the main advantage of creating my blog in Word, especially if I have embedded pictures like this example and all of my technical blog posts, is that Word handles uploading not only the blog, but also the images to the appropriate media library. (You are looking at the final result.)  I don’t have to first upload the text, then upload all the images and finally reinsert the images back into the text.  This is a huge time saver.  Using the dropdown for the publish button in Word, I can either publish immediately, or I can publish as a draft. Publishing as a draft allows me to connect to my provider and select additional categories for my post as well as schedule the publication for a different time.

That’s it for this time. C’ya.

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4 comments on “Using Microsoft Word to Write Your Blogs

  1. So, using sharepoint2013 and word 7, I get a message ‘word cannot publish the pictures in this post’. Any ideas why?

  2. Mike,
    Thanks for the article. I have a question regarding when the Word template opens. For us, it opens both a template, and a second “Blank” word document. We are in the process of upgrading from SP2010 to SP2013, and it does it in both environments (as is upgrade).

    Any easy ideas?

    Thank you in advance,

    Tony

    • You can write your blog in the regular Word template if you want and then just copy and paste the text to the Blog template or simply write the entire blog in the blog template to being with. You must submit the text from the blog template though. Note however, that you can submit the text as a draft or final blog. That’s up to you.

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