Normal view?


Some of us on the Windows Live Writer team have been debating some tweaks to the UI, and a question has come up that we’re not sure we know the answer to.

Do you use Normal view, and if so, what for?

Better yet, does anyone out there use both Normal and Web Layout views on a regular basis? If so, why?

Leave me a comment if you do–don’t be shy.

28 Responses to “Normal view?”

  1. I use “Normal View” almost exclusively – why? Because I post to a number of different blogs, and when I am crafting my post I want to focus on my writing. Then I switch to “web Layout” before I post – just to make sure images, videos, etc show up correctly.

  2. PS – I wish you used the Subscribe to Comments plugin 🙂

  3. Joe,

    I don’t use the normal view right now but am currently trialling writing posts in Q10 ( ) and then moving into WLW and working in Web Layout view. The reason is similar to Rob’s comment – focusing on efficiently developing content rather than aesthetics. Normal view is the closest thing WLW has to a Q10 style mode but it still has too many distractions.

    I’d suggest you improve normal mode by:
    – allowing Q10 style colour schemes, and minimalistic layout. The “no distractions” motif is really practical
    – more keyboard shortcuts (esp. bullets, numbering, headings) so you can quickly add those fundamental layout elements
    – provide a full screen mode that hides sidebar, menubar, toolbar, status bar – similar to that available in Word and Excel
    If you did this then I probably wouldn’t bother with Q10, though I would miss some of the other functionality (e.g. timers to drive more productive writing habits).

    Web layout mode is good for conveying the overall feel of the content, but I wish it more completely reflected the blog aesthetics as you would see it in Web Preview mode. I would just use the preview mode but alas its read only.


  4. Hi Joe,

    I write my post in Word and copy it into the wlw. The reason, I have blogs in three different languages and the spell check in the wlw work only for one language.

    Yes I’m using the normal view (Word) and the Weblayout for the design.



  5. Hi Joe,

    I use the web view and the html view. No normal view for me.

  6. Weblayout for me, sometimes HTML view, but only for extra tweaking.


  7. DANG!

    I realize now that I’ve long WANTED normal view, but of course I didn’t know it existed.

    It’s great, I’ll use it routinely from now on. I’d like it be my default.

  8. I’ve never used the Normal view. I’ve looked at it once or twisce, but I always end back in Web Layout View, the one I use the most. Next I use the HTML View because I need to for HTML that Live Writer doesn’t provide or messes up. I occassionally use the Web Preview when the Web Layout View is doing something I don’t understand and I want to confirm what it will really look like.

  9. Hi,

    I also wanted to chime in about needing to use HTML view. I often need to touch up the HTML generated by switching to that mode, though I will need to do it less now I know about the shift + enter trick and have xHTML mode configured for my blog. (BTW There needs to be an easier way to find out about these types of tricks).

    The one thing that I will still need to frequently head to HTML view for is changing a table column or row from content to header. i.e. from td to th. Haven’t found any way to do this in WLW without resorting to HTML view.


  10. I’m using both.
    Usually normal, cause it feels like “pure writing spirit”.
    Web preview is good because of larger fonts. When I’m tired, i’m using it.

  11. I used to use normal view exclusively. Then I changed my web layout and realized that web preview allows me to make sure that text and links do not go outside of my design.

    I use code view when I put in videos and stuff, but normal view is actually hardly used now.

  12. 12 jz5


    I’ve been using Web Layout for edit and preview. For preview, Web Layout is usually all that’s needed.
    Sometimes, I use HTML Code view for ascertaining whether unwanted tags are inserted or not.

  13. I only use normal mode and HTML mode. Your HTML mode is the least intrusive I’ve ever seen (thank you). Your normal mode is so good/trustworthy with Typepad that I don’t even feel the need to use Web preview mode. Web layout mode seems redundant but maybe is useful for other blog services.

    Would love to see the plugin library browseable from within WLW … and maybe a GUI to help explain or manage trackbacks, pingbacks, etc.

  14. 14 GoOrange

    I’ve never used normal view. I use web layout almost exclusively and once in a while web preview.

  15. Back again.

    As a result of this conversation I’ve started using Normal view for posting and found it quite useful. Its not Q10, but it does reduce the distractions inherent in Web Layout view making it easier to focus on the content instead of the aesthetics. My latest post flowed more easily and I think this was a major factor.

    On a more practical level, normal view helps you make the most of the available screen real estate. My theme restricts the post content to 510 pixels wide, so Web Layout view does as well. In Normal view you can fit a lot more on the screen at once which makes it easier to write/edit.

  16. I use Normal View almost exclusively. Sometimes I’ll switch to code view for some tweaking, but Normal is absolutely my standard editing environment. I write for a number of blogs and normal view let’s me focus on what I’m writing, not the aesthetics.

    One thing I wish would be that there be something a little more visual in the normal view to remind me that I’m writing on the correct blog before publishing. Usually I rely on the categories displayed to remind me I’m on the right one.

  17. I use normal view almost exclusively… my web view reformats to make room for my widgets and menu bar, which I don’t really care about when composing. Normal view allows me to use the full window for typing and editing without any clutter or any funky formatting to get in my way. If I’m posting something complex (lots of placed images, tables, etc), I’ll switch to the web view right before I post, but I always use normal for the initial writing, regardless of what bells and whistles I add later.

  18. 18 Alex

    I always use the normal view.

    P.S. I hope you guys add support for Xanga at some point. I know that this dude managed to get it done: so you should be able too as well.

  19. Alex, we’d love to support Xanga but we can’t until they have an official API that’s intended for third parties to use. The plugin you pointed to uses screen-scraping, which is treading on legal thin ice.

  20. Ah. Fair enough. Would it be possible for someone to develop a plugin to accomplish that? Not officially supported by Microsoft of course.

  21. Alex–not possible using WLW’s current plugin model, but someone could write a Xanga-to-MetaWeblog gateway if they were so inclined and not afraid of receiving a cease-and-desist letter.

  22. I usually switch between Normal and HTML views and rarely use the others. But each of our brains functions differently. I think that one reason that WLW like many of MS products is widely used is that there are several ways to accomplish the same thing. The more of that the better in my mind. I would strongly recommend against becoming so rigid that there one and only one way of doing things.

  23. >>Xanga-to-MetaWeblog gateway
    Joe,will WLW support API level plugin?

  24. duyu, sorry, not in the immediate future. Generally, blog platforms that actually want to support third-party clients use one of the protocols we support (though there are a couple of exceptions–Vox uses Nokia’s LifeBlog, and there are a couple of east-Asian blog providers that have invented their own protocols).

  25. I use Normal View ONLY.

  26. I go between HTML and Normal, but have modified the template for Normal view to suit my own font preferences in an editor.

  27. 27 byrningbunny

    When WLW was working, I used the normal view frequently. I used it because it put in paragraph breaks and correct line spacings for me, let me format font, and was easier on my eyes. I’d use the html view when things went wacko or there was some specific thing I knew how to do. When I was done, I’d pop in to blog view so I could see if it would turn out properly when I posted.

  1. 1 Normal oder Weblayout?

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