The document page

Each Microsoft Expression Design document you create or open appears in a separate document window on the screen and its title appears on a document tab (for more information, see Manage document windows). The document window is an essentially boundless workspace in which you can draw.

In the center of this workspace is an artboard (also named a document frame) in the shape of a page. For objects in your document, the artboard is mainly a guide, and you can draw on it, around it, or ignore it completely. When you print or export a bitmapped image, only the objects in the document frame are printed or exported.


You can export objects outside the artboard by creating slices that include these objects. For more information, see Slices.

Rulers and measurements

At the top and left edges of the document window are rulers that display your current measurement units.

To change the display

  1. On the Edit menu, point to Options, and then click Units and Grids.

  2. On the Units and Grids panel, select the units you prefer, and then click OK.

When you move the pointer around the page, the rulers display small markers to indicate the current coordinates of the pointer. When you use many tools, including the various selection tools, the current coordinates also appear in the Action Bar at the bottom of the document window.

Note that the measurement system in Expression Design is typically based on the ruler origin being in the upper-left corner of the document frame. Positive X (horizontal) values indicate "farther to the right edge of the page." And positive Y (vertical) values indicate "down toward the bottom of the page."

To change the ruler origin

  1. On the Edit menu, point to Options, and then click Units and Grids.

  2. On the Units and Grids panel, under Rulers, select Ruler origin is always top left of artboard to move the origin to the upper-left corner of the artboard, or clear the check box to move the origin to the lower-left corner.



    You can also set the ruler origin point manually. On the File menu, click Set Document Origin, and then click inside the document window.