Tools and Techniques for ReplTalk Blog Postings and Video Captures

Tools and Techniques for ReplTalk Blog Postings and Video Captures (Heading 1)

Someone asked me to put together a list of tools and techniques we used when writing our ReplTalk BLOG posting and video clips. Sounds like a good idea so here it is!

Content Creation Tools:  (Heading 5)

We’re using Microsoft Live Writer for all BLOG content creating except video walkthrough sessions.  Live Writer provide ability to quickly create DRAFT postings with TSQL code, screen shots, and highlighted content. Best of all, just click “Publish” and content along with all the screen captures are uploaded to the blog.  It really is that easy.

                Blog posting: Microsoft Live Writer

It may not be the fanciest editor, but the simple menu selection makes it very easy to change font headings, set justification, and insert tables or links.


If we want to get little bit fancy, you can wrap the text around screen shots.  Speaking of screen shots, one trick I learned with Windows 7 is how to capture menu pop-ups in SQL Server Management Studio.  For example, if I right-click the REPLICATION folder in SSMS I would like to capture the pop-up menu options.  To accomplish this

1) Start Windows 7 Snipping Tool


2) When tool appears, press the ESC key


3) Perform action such as right-click REPLICATION folder, then press CTRL-PrtScn, screen goes dim. 

4) Using mouse drag box around portion of the screen you want to save, then PASTE into Live Writer.


For screen captures I’ll also run Microsoft Office One Note and use Windows-“S” key to capture screen shot.  This works great if I don’t want to sop and paste right away into Live Writer as each One Note screen capture will be automatically stored on a new page in One Note.  Then I can go back later and select the screen shots I actually want to keep in the posting.

INSERT SQL CODE (option 1)

SQL TSQL code inserts unfortunately take 2 cut-n-paste to get them looking right

  1. Select and Copy TSQL code from SSMS
  2. Paste code into NEW Word document or into NEW Outlook e-mail.  This preserves the wrapping, color, and font selections.
  3. Re-select the code that was just pasted into Word or Outlook.
  4. In Live Writer select PASTE SPECIAL.  You’ll get a new “Keep Formatting” option.  You don’t get this if you try and past directly from SSMS.


Sample SSMS TSQL Code pasted with “Keep Formatting”

--Code to return SQL Server Installed Version

INSERT CODE Plug-In (option 2)

INSERT CODE plug-in for Live Write does a great job formatting TSQL code.  To find the available plug-ins select the INSERT tab.


Then click “Add plug-in”.  You’ll be directed to a Live Writer Plug-in web site.  Last count there were 176 plug-ins.


Under the “Formatting/Clipboard” you find various Code formatting plug-ins.



Local Drafts (heading style 4)

The draft documents are stored on the local drive in “C:\Users\<Windows log on name>\Documents\My Weblog Posts\Drafts” and can be moved or copied to multiple computers.  For example, our SQL Replication Support team will create and e-mail me the DRAFTS so they can be uploaded to the ReplTalk blog.

Video Capture (heading style 3)

For video capture walkthrough demonstrations were using Office Community Clips Video Recorder. This is a quick and easy tool to start video capture, then save in WMV format.  Not a fancy video editor, but then for our demos were just trying to record a short 5-10 minute demonstration of some SQL Server Replication feature.

Video Capture: Office Community Clips Video Recorder

Once installed and running you get a new icon in your Window’s systray


Just a few Menu options makes it easy to RECORD Windows+Alt+R,  PAUSE  Windows+Alt+P, or Terminate Windows+Alt+T.  Normally we drop our monitors to 1024x768 or Windows 7 (MEDIUM RESOLUTION). This help ensure the playback is easier to see when displaying menu, dialog boxes, etc.


You may have noticed in the screen shot above we’re also using Sysinternals Screen Magnifier.  This tool allows us to ZOOM in on the cursor to make it easier to see a particular spot on the screen.  For example, here is the same SSMS Replication menu in ZOOM.

image Screen  ZOOM tool:

We’re also including some PowerPoint slides in the beginning and the end of our video presentations. Just a couple of slide to introduce the video, key points, then summary page. We’re using a template created for our MSDN video postings.  To display these PPT slides we use Power Point Viewer 2007.  This allows us to simply double-click the PPT files and they automatically open in “presentation mode”. This is much simpler then trying to “run” in full PowerPoint.  (internal MS employees reading this BLOG can contact me via e-mail for a copy of the MSDN SQL PPT templates.)

PowerPoint Viewer 2007

We hope you continue to find our ReplTalk blog postings and video walkthroughs helpful as you plan and use SQL Server Replication.

Chris Skorlinski
Microsoft SQL Server Escalation Services

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