What's new

Welcome to the latest version of Microsoft Expression Design. In this release, you will find significant improvements to the ways you can export artwork to other products, especially XAML and bitmap files.


Expression Design now lets you create and export sections of your document (or slices) in a range of file formats. For example, you can now export the title in your UI mockup as a .png file and export another section as a Microsoft Silverlight XAML file.

Creating new slices

To create a new slice, use the Slice Slice tool tool (or press K) to select the area of your document you want to export. These slices can snap to each other to simplify alignment, and are saved with your document so that you don't have to re-create them in each session.

Hiding objects and layers in individual slices

In many designs, objects are stacked on top of each another. This sometimes makes it difficult to create a traditional rectangular slice without including unwanted objects. In Expression Design 2, you can now easily hide any layers or individual objects that you do not want to appear in your slice. For example, if you don't want the background to appear in a specific slice, you can hide the background.

Using the Slice layer to organize your slices

When you create a slice, a new Slice layer is created in the Layers panel, and new slices are automatically added. You can use the Slice layer to keep track of your slices and modify them as necessary, hiding and locking any objects or layers in individual slices. You can also select slices and individual objects to copy or move.

For more information about slices in Expression Design, see Slices.


Exporting slices to XAML

In Expression Design, you can now export your slices in various XAML file formats such as Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) resource dictionary, WPF canvas, or Silverlight Canvas. You can also decide to export slices as either a single XAML file or as separate XAML files.

Exporting slices to other file formats

Expression Design 2 also supports the exporting of slices and other artwork in web formats (such as .png, .jpg, and .gif) and other interchange file formats (such as .bmp, .psd, .tiff, and HD Photo).

Exporting slices in containers

You can export one or more slices in a XAML or HTML container. For example, you can export slices as brush resources in a XAML WPF resource dictionary. Or, you can export image files and an HTML file that defines style classes to display the images. For more information, see Exporting in containers.

Resizing bitmaps when exporting

You can now export images at a user-specified size. This capability is helpful when you export vector art into a specifically sized icon.

New Export dialog box

For more simplification, all the export options for slices and other artwork are now unified into a single dialog box. You can now do the following in a single location:

  • Preview slices and other artwork before export.

  • Zoom and pan inside the preview window.

  • Preview slices and other artwork in both bitmap and XAML formats.

  • Set export properties.

  • Export only the objects you select.

For more information, see Export by using the Export dialog box.

Crisper bitmap art

The new Snap to pixels feature in Expression Design 2 lets you create vector art that you can export as crisp bitmaps. This option is especially useful when you use vector art for buttons or icons in a user interface.

Improved interoperability between programs

Expression Design 2 is built to work closely with the other programs in the Microsoft Expression Studio family. For example, when you export a XAML file to Microsoft Expression Blend 2, any referenced image files are automatically added to the project.

Miscellaneous improvements and fixes

Based on requests from users, Expression Design 2 now includes the following features:

  • You can install both version 1 and 2 of Expression Design on your computer at the same time. To see which version you are using, on the Help menu, click About Microsoft Expression Design.

  • Double-clicking the Zoom Cc295074.12a7b35e-40e4-46b2-9b55-f76ba1295b21(en-us,Expression.10).png tool now lets you zoom to actual pixels.

  • You can now open Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files in Expression Design 2.

  • Clipping path output has been improved.

  • In localized versions of the software, the layer name now appears in the correct language.

  • Live effects can be rendered throughout the document and are no longer restricted to the artboard.

  • To save space when you export files to Expression Blend 2, you can decide to put all objects into a single canvas. In the Export dialog box, clear the Place grouped objects in a XAML layout container option.

  • After using the Send to Back or Bring to Front commands to change the order of objects, you can now click Undo to change only the position of the object you just moved.

  • When you adjust the stroke width of a compound path in Expression Design 2, the compound path is no longer released.

  • You can now show or hide individual objects in the Layers palette. Additionally, you can lock and unlock individual objects.

  • You can now select to preserve the pixel resolution of imported bitmap files. For more information, see General options.