Create content for Windows Phone

Expression Studio 4.0
important noteImportant

Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone is available only when you install the Windows Phone Developer Tools Ff979318.xtlink_newWindow(en-us,Expression.40).png.

Expression Blend for Windows Phone enables you to quickly and easily build Silverlight applications for Windows Phone. You can use the design tools in Expression Blend to create your Windows Phone application, including Windows Phone templates, graphics and animation tools, built-in behaviors, and sample data.

After you’ve created your Windows Phone application, you can build it and then preview it either in the built-in Windows Phone Emulator, or in a Windows Phone device attached to your computer.

important noteImportant

Silverlight includes a runtime that is optimized to display content on memory-constrained devices such as phones. There are a number of differences between Silverlight for Windows and Silverlight for Windows Phone. To become familiar with these differences, see Silverlight for Windows Phone Ff979318.xtlink_newWindow(en-us,Expression.40).png on MSDN.

Additional information about designing and developing applications for Windows Phone is available at Windows Phone Development Ff979318.xtlink_newWindow(en-us,Expression.40).png on MSDN.

Windows Phone templates

When you create a new Windows Phone project in Expression Blend, you can choose from following Windows Phone project types:

  • Windows Phone application   A project for creating a Silverlight for Windows Phone application.

  • Windows Phone Databound application   A Silverlight for Windows Phone project that uses data and command bindings to support loose coupling between a View and a ViewModel.

  • Windows Phone Panorama application   A Silverlight for Windows Phone project that uses the Panorama control to create a panorama-style application.

    For more information on the Panorama control, see Panorama application for Windows Phone Ff979318.xtlink_newWindow(en-us,Expression.40).png on MSDN.

  • Windows Phone Pivot application   A Silverlight for Windows Phone project that uses the Pivot control to create a tabbed-style application.

    For more information on the Pivot control, see the Pivot application for Windows Phone Ff979318.xtlink_newWindow(en-us,Expression.40).png on MSDN.

  • Windows Phone Control Library   A project for creating custom controls that can be reused across other Windows Phone applications.

When your new project opens, an artboard that simulates a Windows Phone screen appears in the document window.


You can use behaviors to add interactivity to your Windows Phone application without having to write any code. Behaviors are reusable pieces of packaged code that can be dragged onto any object, and then fine-tuned by changing their properties. You can design the way your application responds to users by using the built-in Windows Phone behaviors that come with Expression Blend.

For more information, see Working with built-in Windows Phone behaviors.

Sample data

Expression Blend makes it easy to design data-driven user interfaces without having access to live data. You can use the Data panel to generate meaningful sample data or to import sample data from an XML file. Sample data is available to controls on the artboard at design time. You can extensively customize your sample data details, and you can easily switch between using sample data and using live data at run time.

For more information, see Creating sample data.

Graphics tools

Expression Blend supports the most common types of image files such as BMP, GIF, ICO, JPEG, PNG, and TIFF. You can either drag supported image files from outside Expression Blend, or use the Project menu to add files to your project. Image files are added to the artboard as Image objects.

Expression Blend for Windows Phone includes vector versions of 64 Windows Phone application bar icons that you can use when developing applications for Windows Phone.

After you add an image file to your project, you can add it to the artboard by double-clicking the image file name in the Projects panel, or by setting the Source property of an existing image control to the name of the image file.

For more information, see Inserting images and art.


You can add an object to the artboard by selecting a tool in the Tools panel or in the Assets panel, or by selecting a styled or custom control in the Assets panel. You can also drag a styled control from the Resources panel, or drag resources from the Resources panel onto an existing object on the artboard to apply the resource to one of the properties of the object. In addition, you can drag images, sound files, video files, and other media directly from Windows Explorer into Expression Blend, or copy images from other applications and paste them directly onto the artboard.

For more information about working with objects, see Working with objects and controls.

Controls and control libraries

Expression Blend provides an extensive list of controls that you can use to design your Windows Phone applications.

For more information, see Choosing and using interactive controls.

If you want to create reusable components that can be added to the artboard just like a system control, you can create a user control in Expression Blend. User controls can contain other controls, resources, and animation timelines, just like an application. The only difference is that the root object is a UserControl instead of a Window or a Page.

For more information, see Create an empty user control.

You can also create a library of UserControls that you can easily reuse throughout multiple Windows Phone projects by creating a Windows Phone control library.

For more information, see Create a Windows Phone project.

Visual states

You can create interactivity in your Windows Phone application by defining a different visual appearance for each visual state that your UserControl control, Window control, Page control, or control template can be in, and then adding behaviors or code to switch between those states based on user interaction. You can modify the transition between two state combinations, even creating animations that will run when a state is first entered.

For more information, see Defining different visual states for a control.


You can use the keyframe animation tools in Expression Blend to create animated sequences in your Windows Phone application. You can use keyframe animations in conjunction with visual states (for example, an animation that is triggered on reaching a specified state), or independently of them (for example, when an animation is triggered by an action).

For more information about creating animations in Expression Blend, see Animating objects.

Additional resources

For more resources, see Learning and community resources.

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