Broken theme in Windows Live Writer? You can fix it!

One of the nice things about Windows Live Writer is that lets you edit your blog in the same style your readers will actually see.  However, often times, Windows Live Writer cannot detect a blog theme or it incorrectly detects a user’s theme.  These problems can make users angry, and rightfully so.

If you have fallen victim to this problem, I have good news for you!

I have created a tiny application to help you create a theme file for Writer. 

Download the Windows Live Writer Theme Fixer

Step 1: Open the ThemeFixer.exe and select the blog you want to fix in the top left corner. 


Step 2: Navigate to a single blog post on your blog by clicking a link or entering a URL in the textbox and clicking ‘navigate’.


Step 3: Click ‘pick title’ and hover your mouse over the title of your blog post.  When you see the element selected, click on it.


Step 4: Click ‘pick body’ and hover over the body of your post, make sure all of your post is highlighted.  Your post title might also be in the selected range, that is fine.


Step 5: Click ‘save’ button and wait while it downloads all the html and images for your template.ss5

If you still have problems after using this application, you can click the ‘Open template folder’ button where you can edit the HTML file yourself.

Comments (20)
  1. technogran says:

    Brandon, I know that this is ‘off topic’ to this post, but I have used the tables in Writer to create a newsletter. (see my post) however, once I begin inputting text, and formatting that text into each column (two column set up) the table width becomes unstable and begins widening from it set width.

    The same thing occurs to each column, so if I have them set to 350 say, then slowly creep past that to 360, 370 etc. Eventually the table widens. I wan’t it to be stable and remain at the width that I set it to no matter what I place in each column.

    For now, I have found a work around is to place a picture inside each column set at the width I desire. This then helps to ‘hold’ the column at a fixed width.

    Also I wish that I could save the whole set up as an empty template for future use, so I didn’t have to construct it all again each time I want to publish my newsletter.

    Why does the table and columns do this? Why doesn’t it stay at the width that I set?

    The titles are formatted central and the body text left.


  2. Stephanie says:

    Brandon, Hi. Can you write a fix for the "unable to download theme" error. This version does not fix that error.

  3. Rishi says:


    Thanks for the tool but it throws an error on my setup stating –

    Unhandled exception has occurred in the application …

    ************** Exception Text **************

    System.IO.IOException: The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.

      at System.IO.__Error.WinIOError(Int32 errorCode, String maybeFullPath)


  4. Marco says:

    Exactly the same error message like Rishi 🙁 After the 250 error messages, I can click "ignore" and then it’s stuck with "Downloading all the images for your template… please wait" message. Images all exist, servers are all online.

  5. Marco says:

    ps: there is no .html file inside the folder. Just hundreds of images and several .css files.

  6. Joss says:

    Hey, I’ve been trying to do this, but am receiving the same error as Marco.

    I’ve created my wordpress theme using Artisteer and have all of the html and images for the theme, but cannot get WLW or your theme fixer to make it work.

    Is there a simple way to fix this?

  7. MC says:

    It doesn’t work. Even the Open the HTML Folder doesn’t work. Just error messages. I think we need to wait for the next version of the Theme Fixer.

  8. TG. I had the same problem when I first started using tables in Writer. I noticed the creep factor aswell so what I did was just set the table to be just a bit smaller then it should be. This allowes for some creep but if for instance you did’t get creep, it would’nt be noticed when published.

    I’m glad you realised that it was the text formatting that pushed the margins out a little. Placing a picture inside the table can push the margins out aswell if you make it too big.

    Having said all that, the table is the best way to ensure that your blog stays the size you want it to be.


  9. Aquaricat says:

    For those of you getting the unhandled exception error (at least in Windows 7 RC x64 bit, though similar steps should work for other versions of Windows) – look at the dialog that pops up.  If you’re lucky, you’ll see a path in the first three or four lines similar to C:users{YOUR-USER-NAME}AppDataRoamingWindows Live Writerblogthemes{LONG-NUMBER/LETTER-SEQUENCE}{FILENAME}

    If you navigate to this folder – you can take a shortcut to it by opening a Windows Explorer window and entering ‘%APPDATA%’ without the quotes in its address box – you can manually create the needed folder.  Just open the blogthemes directory, create a new folder, and copy the portion marked {LONG-NUMBER/LETTER-SEQUENCE} above EXACTLY.  Note that there’s only Zero’s in this sequence, and no capitol Oh’s to confuse, and you do want to match letter casing.

    Once the folder is created, you can open up Windows Live Writer, go to the View menu item, and select Refresh Theme, then wait for WLW to do its thing.  If it all works, you’ll see your blog theme appearing in the directory you created above, and it’ll work properly in the Preview tab or Edit tab too.

    It looks like the problem is that the folder proper isn’t being correctly created when you go to download the theme.  It could be a permissions issue, the path information might not being correctly passed, there’s any number of reasons why.  For now, though, this method will help WLW to work properly, even though the ThemeFixer ‘doesn’t work.’

  10. Julie says:

    I would like to use it but even with administrator rights I have some error saying that it can’t open the jpg files. An ideo on who to fix it ?

  11. zimmi says:

    What if it still doesn’t work? 🙂

  12. Hermann says:

    great. Today I installed the ThemeFixer and start it. Without any problems it runs at once. I am very happy because now I haven’t to repair so much mistakes like bevor. Thank you very much.


  13. lehenryjr says:

    I was reading your article and your right. Windows Live Writer has some issues with themes and I’m offering this as a link/solution to help them with those theme issues.…/windows-live-writer-creating-a-custom-template

    I hope this helps…

    Until next time,


  14. Mark says:

    That is the single most awesome fix I have ever seen!  Thank you so much!!

  15. Bob says:

    I've been getting the unhandled exception too however the folder location is there and populated with the CSS files and images – but no HTML files.  Any ideas?

  16. Justin Germino says:

    This doesn't seem to work in Windows 7 64bit or with the latest Live Writer 2011 as it just keeps crashing upon execution even when running compatibility mode.

  17. Steven Buehler says:

    NO GO. Crashes immediately on startup in Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

  18. the nerdy nurse says:

    disappointing this doesn't work in windows 7 64

    the nerdy nurse

  19. Gopinath says:

    Images of this post are broken. Can you please fix them?

  20. Scott Lovegrove says:

    For those trying to run it on a x64 version of Windows, I have rebuilt it (Brandon kindly gave me the code) to work on x64 and can be downloaded from my SkyDrive.

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