Expression Studio 2.0

Action Bar

A horizontal pane found along the bottom of the application window that both displays and lets you change the transformations applied to one or more objects (the location, rotation, scaling, skewing, and so on). You can also use the Action Bar to change the alignment or distribution of multiple selected objects at the same time. You can hide or show this pane from the Window menu.


To make two or more sides of an object appear in the same vertical or horizontal plane. For example, you can align the left edges of two rectangles on your page.


A term to describe transparency. For example, an alpha mask determines the transparent areas of an image (the parts that are hidden). An Alpha Stop in a gradient defines the amount of transparency at that point in the blend.

anchor point

A point (sometimes named a node) on a vector path. In a Bezier curve, the anchor point appears on the path itself. In a B-spline curve, the anchor point can be on the curve (indicating a corner point) or off the curve (indicating an area of the path that is curved). In a Bezier curve, the anchor point might have handles (for a segment of the path that is curved) or not (for a corner).


The area of the document inside the document canvas. The area outside the artboard is named the pasteboard.

Attribute Dropper

A Microsoft Expression Design tool that lets you copy the fill, stroke, and effect attributes from one object on the page to another.

Bezier path

A vector path defined by anchor points and path segments between those points.

blend mode

A method of determining how an object should appear when it is positioned over another object. For example, an object that has a Lighten blend mode will be transparent wherever its color is darker than a color in a background object.

bounding box

The smallest rectangular area that will surround a path, shape, or group of objects.

brush stroke

The positioning of a vector or bitmapped image along a vector path so that it twists and turns along the path. This is also sometimes named a skeletal stroke or an artistic brush.

B-spline path

A vector path defined by a series of points that indicate the direction the path should follow. Each node on a B-spline path can be a curve or corner control node. B-spline paths resemble Bezier paths, but curves are described by anchor points positioned off the path itself.

Canvas Size and Document Size

Canvas Size and Document Size both define and describe the size of the document page on the pasteboard. This is also sometimes named the artboard. You can put an object anywhere on the page or pasteboard. Changing the page size by clicking Document Size on the File menu might change the size of objects in your file. Changing it by clicking Canvas Size on the File menu changes only the size of the page, but not any objects.


A clone is a duplicate of any vector path or shape. The clone can have different fill, stroke, or effect formatting. When the original (master) path or shape changes in shape, any clones of that object also change.

Color Dropper

An Expression Design tool that lets you copy the fill or stroke color from one object to another. Similar to the Attribute Dropper tool, but copies only object or screen color, and not object formatting.

Direct Selection tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you select and modify an individual anchor point or segment on a vector path, in addition to individual objects on your page, such as text blocks or bitmapped image objects.


The act of moving around three or more objects so that there is an equal amount of space between them.


An elliptical object defined by an arc between a starting and an ending point. When these two points are in the same location, the shape is an oval or circle.


A color or pattern placed inside the area defined by a path or shape.

Fill Transform

An Expression Design tool that lets you change the appearance of a gradient or pattern fill. For example, you can use the Fill Transform tool to rotate or scale a pattern fill inside a path or shape.


A blend between two or more colors. You can apply a gradient as a fill or a stroke to any path or shape's fill or stroke. Each color in a gradient is defined by using a gradient stop. A gradient can also include changes in opacity from one gradient stop to another.

Gradient Transform

An Expression Design tool that lets you change the appearance of a gradient fill or stroke. For example, you can use the Gradient Transform tool to change where the first and last points of a gradient should appear in an object.


A series of horizontal and vertical nonprinting lines (for screen display only) that lets you align and lay out objects on your page. In the Options dialog box, you can define how far apart the gridlines are.


Single nonprinting lines that help you align and lay out objects on your page. When you click Snap to Guides on the View menu, objects on your page will "snap" to the location of the guide when you drag within a few screen pixels of the guide.

handle, Bezier

Anchor points on a Bezier path can have handles that define the direction of the curve. In general, the farther the handle from the anchor point, the more oblique the curve.

handle, Selection

When you select one or more objects by using the Selection tool, Expression Design displays those objects surrounded by handles that let you resize, skew, or rotate the objects.

image object

An object positioned on your page that is defined by pixels instead of vector paths. Image objects can be scaled, moved, rotated, and skewed like shapes. Scaling an image object does not affect its "pixels per inch" (PPI) resolution.


By putting objects on a layer, you collect them together so that they sit above or below objects on other layers. You can also hide/show or lock/unlock an individual layer, which affects all the objects on that layer.


A vector path defined by two points and a straight segment between them.


The transparency of a fill or a stroke. The more opaque an object, the less transparent it is.


A dialog box that consists of multiple panes that let you control a set of preferences for how the application should behave.

Paintbrush tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you draw a Bezier path by dragging in a continuous flow. Some other applications name this a freehand tool.

Pan tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you pan (scroll) around your document in any direction by dragging the pointer.


An area of the application window reserved for panels, such as the Layers panel or Properties panel.


A resizable window that contains controls. For example, the Layers panel contains controls for managing layers in your document. If you click the Float button in the upper-right corner of a panel, the panel is released from its pane and floats so that you can position it anywhere on your screen. Sometimes named a palette.


The area of the document outside the document canvas. You can draw on the pasteboard.


A series of two or more Bezier or B-spline anchor points that creates curved or straight segments. All paths can be stroked or filled. An open path is one in which the first and last points are not the same. When the first and last points are the same, it is also called a shape.

Pen tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you draw a Bezier path by clicking (for corner anchor points) or dragging (for curves) a series of anchor points.


Bitmapped images are defined by a rectangular collection of square pixels. Each pixel can be any color, but all pixels are the same size in a given bitmapped image.


A shape built from a regular pattern of points and segments. Examples of polygons include a triangle, a hexagon, or a 12-point star.

polyline tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you build a Bezier path made of segments that are either straight lines or circular arcs.


A rectangular shape that can have sharp or rounded corners.

Scissors tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you split a Bezier or B-spline path at a particular location.

Selection tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you select a whole path, shape, block of text, or group of objects.


A vector path that is closed; that is, the starting and ending points of the path are the same. A shape is typically created by using one of the Shape tools: the Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool, or the Polygon tool. Each character of text is also defined as a shape described by the set of outlines to define that character.


A rectangular section of the artwork that contains selected layers and objects to be exported.


An Expression Design feature that lets you position two or more objects so that a specific amount of space separates them vertically or horizontally. You can control the amount of space in the Options dialog box.

stack order

The order in which objects are positioned in a layer. An object higher in the stack covers up (appears on top of) one lower in the stack.


A color or gradient positioned along the direction of a path. This is also sometimes named a border.


A solid color, a gradient, or an image that is saved so that it can be easily recalled to apply as a fill or stroke.


An area above the document window and below the menu bar that lists the document name. If you have more than one document open, you will see more than one tab visible, and you can click any tab to view that document.

Text tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you create blocks of text characters. Each character in a text block can have its own stroke and fill.


A class of graphic objects defined by paths instead of pixels.


A graphic file format defined by Microsoft that describes vector and image objects together with their behavior. Expression Design can export artwork in the XAML format by using the Clipboard or by clicking Export on the File menu.

Zoom tool

An Expression Design tool that lets you change the current view magnification of your document. Clicking increases the magnification (zooms in). Pressing ALT+click decreases magnification (zooms out).

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