Stroke options

The Stroke pane of the Options dialog box lets you control stroke, freehand tool, and rotation details in Microsoft Expression Design.


  • Drawing tools append to path   Select this option if you want to be able to start or end new paths at existing open paths. Note that this option applies only to the node-positioning drawing tools, such as the Pen tool, the Line tool, the B-Spline tool, and the Polyline tool (but not the Paintbrush tool, which has its own controls). This option has the same effect as the Append to Line check box (which you can find in the Properties panel when you select the Line tool and no objects are selected on your page). See also Join paths.

  • Scale stroke width   When you scale a path that uses a basic stroke, the value of the stroke width remains unchanged. Select this option if you want the value of the stroke width to scale up or down together with the path.


    Scale stroke width only applies to basic strokes. Additionally, it has no effect when the Automatically commit transforms option is selected in the General options window.

Freehand tool

  • Show pressure trail   When you draw with the Paintbrush tool, Microsoft Expression Design usually displays the actual size of the stroke (including variable width if you are using a tablet with pressure sensitivity selected). However, if you clear this option, you'll see only a thin line as you draw, and the final shape and size will appear only after you finish the path.

  • Tightness of fit   When you draw a path with the Paintbrush tool, Expression Design automatically smoothes the path to compensate for small shakes of your hand. You can adjust how much smoothing is applied with this list. Select from Very tight, Tight, Normal, Loose, and Very loose. The tighter a curve is fitted, the closer the final path will be to the shape you drew, and the more nodes the curve will have.

  • Enable pressure sensitivity   Clear this option if you want Expression Design to ignore the pressure sensitivity information from your stylus as you use the Paintbrush tool. This option has no effect unless you're using a tablet and stylus.

  • Pressure scale    When you select Enable pressure sensitivity option, you can adjust the Pressure scale to determine how thick stroke widths should become. For example, let's say you have set the stroke width to 10 pixels in the Properties panel. At the default, Pressure scale is set to a value of 1.20, if you apply maximum pressure with the stylus, the stroke thickness at that point will be 12 pixels (10 multiplied by 1.2).

Z-axis rotation

  • Pan tool rotates paper   Select this option if you want the Pan tool to rotate the paper (and all the visible objects) using the tilt or 4D setting of your tablet stylus or mouse. If your tablet or mouse doesn't offer this feature, selecting this option has no effect.

  • Direct object rotation   When you select this option, the rotation of a 4D mouse or the tilt of a tablet stylus can rotate selected objects when you select any selection tool in the Toolbox. This option is ignored if you don't have this kind of tablet or mouse installed.

  • Use pen tilt for rotation   If you have a tablet that reads the tilt angle of the stylus, you can tell Expression Design to use that tilt information for rotating the paper or rotating selected objects by selecting this option.

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