Gimme some space

Windows Live SpacesSpaces is one of the most flexible and quirkiest members of the Windows Live family of services. Perhaps that’s why it’s so often misunderstood…and misused. With a myriad of applications, it’s a venerable tool for newbies and pros alike. Most users initially set up a space to keep a blog, but it also provides a personalized landing page, a guestbook where your visitors can leave general comments, custom list management tools, and several other niche modules. While most of those modules are truly optional and can easily be hidden or disabled, the main page and the Blog module are inextricably linked.

Normally, the Blog module is featured center-stage on your space’s main page. However, your space is your playground – for better or worse – and you have the creative license to arrange the main page as you see fit. Some people (like yours truly) choose to keep their layout simple and focused on the blog. Others prefer to design their main page as a more generic dashboard, filled with enough flashing modules and gadgets to induce epileptic fits in errant passers-by, but otherwise separate from the blog. I won’t attempt to debate the principles of good design in this post, but you may decide that you’d rather not see much of the blog reflected on your main page. How do you go about separating the two?

Your first instinct might be to simply hide the default Blog module on the main page. Seems like that should work, right? You and your plucky optimism. Unfortunately, hiding the Blog module disables the blog altogether. You can’t even create a manual link to it, as the /blog subfolder just redirects back to your space’s main page when the Blog module is hidden. No worries though, all entries are restored as soon as the module is returned to the main page. Crisis averted.

So, you can’t remove your blog from the main page altogether. However, by configuring options and the Blog module’s layout, you can minimize its footprint considerably. Here’s how:

  1. Click Options 4 Blog, reduce the number of blog entries shown on the main page to 5 (the default and currently the fewest entries you can display), click Save, and return to your space’s main page.

  2. Click Customize 4 Change the Layout, select a layout for your main page that has at least one narrow column, and click Close Tab.

  3. Drag the Blog module into the narrow column and click Save.

Your blog, only slimmerInstead of displaying the entire contents of the blog entries, the condensed Blog module will display only their titles (which are clickable links to the full entries). Older entries can be accessed easily by clicking the More… link at the bottom of the module. At last, your space’s main page is free to host all the glitzy modules you can shoehorn into it.

– Greg

PS: Can’t decide what to throw in all that empty space? Check the Windows Live Gallery for some ideas.

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2 thoughts on “Gimme some space

  1. Good post Greg. It’s one of Spaces better features that you can arrange everything on it just as you want. Any module can take presidence or not for focus, its entirely up to the user how they have it all arranged. Hence the name because its ‘your Space.’

  2. Wouldn’t half be nice to have everything tab-clickable to find it, like you get on your browser! Tabs save so much click time. Since we ain’t getting tabs, this is nice. Cheers, Greg.

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