Selection tools

Microsoft Expression Design offers four basic tools for selecting objects on your page.

  • Selection tool   The Selection tool Cc294741.959a05a6-5a4b-4b0e-98a3-fb628d2c03a2(en-us,Expression.10).png (press V) lets you select one or more whole objects in your document. You can click an object to select it, or drag a marquee over one or more objects to select them. You don't have to enclose the object fully to select it. The marquee just has to touch the object.

  • Group Select tool   The Group Select tool Cc294741.41beee88-9aaf-40ef-b7ae-5a802596cdfc(en-us,Expression.10).png (press SHIFT+A) works similarly to the Selection tool, except that it works on groups (object groups or clipping mask groups). When you click a group with the Selection tool, you always select the complete group. However, the Group Select tool lets you select one or more objects inside a group.

  • Direct Selection tool and Lasso Selection tool   The Direct Selection tool Cc294741.a4e92365-1fd6-473c-b727-1487d8a466c9(en-us,Expression.10).png (press A) and the Lasso Selection tool Cc294741.81bef400-2dac-4493-9ff4-8a9fc9153a33(en-us,Expression.10).png (press Q) are designed for selecting one or more anchor points (or nodes) in a path or shape. You can also use them to select one or more whole objects by clicking or dragging a marquee. If you click or drag a marquee over a point, just the point or points are selected. Otherwise, the whole object is selected.

Other selection tools

The Fill Transform tool Cc294741.44ac4043-0600-4643-8fef-67d531624598(en-us,Expression.10).png also lets you select an object, although it is primarily designed to select a path that contains an image or gradient. After selecting a shape with this tool, any transformations you make (such as dragging the rotate and scale handles) will affect the contents of the object, not the object itself.

While the Paintbrush tool Cc294741.7e843b01-0c2a-4914-8464-206dd3c19ad3(en-us,Expression.10).png is usually used for drawing shapes, it can select objects on your page, too. Just click an object to select it.


You can cancel the selection of all objects on your page by clicking an empty area in your document by using any one of these tools. Alternatively, on the Select menu, click Deselect (or press CTRL+SHIFT+A).

For more information about menu commands for selecting objects, see Use Select menu commands.

Adding or removing selections

After you have selected one object or group, you can add another object or group to the selection.

With the Selection tool, the Group Select tool, or either of the Direct Selection tools, hold down the SHIFT key when you click another object or when you drag out a marquee. Similarly, you can press SHIFT+click or SHIFT+drag to remove objects from a selection.

The Group Select tool has one additional feature for adding to a selection. As described here, you can click once on an object in a group to select just that object. If you click the object again, it selects all the objects in that group. If the group itself is a member of another group, clicking a third time will select all other members of that "parent" group.

Selection tool switch

If you want to select an object when a different tool is selected (such as a drawing or transformation tool), you can hold down the CTRL key to temporarily switch to the Selection or Direct Selection tool (whichever tool was last used). For example, when using any tool you can press CTRL+click on an object to select all its points. When you let go of the CTRL key, the points remain selected, but the tool reverts back to whatever is selected in the Toolbox.

Pressing CTRL+SHIFT+click on an object adds or removes that object from the selection.