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Workspace roadmap for WPF projects

Expression Studio 2.0
This page applies to WPF projects only

The Microsoft Expression Blend 2 workspace is customizable and uniquely scalable. You can change panel orientation, dock or float panels, resize the panels by dragging the edges, zoom the artboard, and toggle the snapping of objects on the artboard.

You can change the workspace color scheme (theme) or zoom the workspace by using Theme and Workspace zoom in the Options dialog box (on the Tools menu).

The workspace looks slightly different depending on whether you are working on a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) project or a Silverlight 1 project. Open the WPF SmoothBlends sample from the Welcome Screen (on the Help menu) and then follow the roadmap in this topic. To run the sample when it is open in Expression Blend 2, press F5.

A WPF project open in Expression Blend, using the Animation workspace in Split view

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Toolbox

The Toolbox contains the tools you’ll need when you work in Design view, such as selection, artboard, brush, and object tools with flyout menus (pictured) from which you can select other common objects. The last Toolbox button opens the Asset Library that contains all other system controls, custom controls, local styles, and media that you have added to your project.

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Project panel

All of the files that are in your project are listed under Files. You can use the context (right-click) menus to add new files, to add existing files (such as media, 3D objects, fonts, project references, and so on), or to manage your project in other ways. Available data sources and the tools to manage them are under Data.

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Interaction panel

All of the objects on the artboard are listed under Objects and Timeline in a tree structure that determines Z-order (front-to-back layering). If you have a storyboard open (pictured), animation timelines also appear here. If there is any user interaction configured, the trigger and resulting action appear under Triggers.

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Properties panel

When in Design view, you can view and modify the properties of any object selected under Objects and Timeline. The properties are organized in collapsible categories. You can use the Search window to filter the properties. Whenever you change an object on the artboard with your mouse, the Properties panel reflects the changes.

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Views

In Design view, you work visually on the artboard. In XAML view, you can modify the markup that exists behind what you see in Design view. Split view (pictured) shows both. You can change the orientation of the windows under Split View Orientation on the View menu, and you can resize the windows by dragging the edges.

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Resources

When you create a custom style for a control, or convert a brush or other property to a reusable value, you create a resource. In the Resources panel, all the resources that are available to the open document are displayed. You can drag them onto the artboard, or move them (such as into a resource dictionary, which is available to the whole application).

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