Expression Media Reader

Microsoft Expression Media Reader enables you to distribute and share your catalogs with anyone with no cost or restriction. Expression Media Reader is free to download and distribute, and it works on both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems.

Expression Media Reader opens catalogs written by older versions of Microsoft Expression Media or by iView Media and MediaPro versions 1.5, 2.x, and 3.x. Expression Media Reader has the same file format support as Expression Media and includes the Slide Show feature. Expression Media Reader has the same system requirements as Expression Media (see the "System requirements" section in Installing Expression Media).

To let others view your catalog, copy Expression Media Reader and your catalog to a CD or DVD, or send it by e-mail or across a network.

You can download both the Macintosh and the Windows versions from the Expression Media website at You can choose not to include your original media with a catalog that you distribute. This lets you protect your digital assets from being copied while letting others view the List and Thumbnail views. Including original media will let an Expression Media Reader user access the media that is contained in a catalog. If your catalog contains full-screen previews, Expression Media Reader can view them in Media view, Slide Shows, and the Light Table.

Expression Media Reader does not allow the viewer to make any changes to your catalog or to create new catalogs. You do not have to purchase Expression Media to use Expression Media Reader.

Distributing catalogs with Expression Media Reader

When you distribute catalogs with Expression Media Reader, there are two primary considerations that greatly affect what the recipient can do with the catalog. These considerations are image settings and view options.

Image settings

The image settings determine the size and quality of media items that can be viewed in Expression Media Reader. The view options determine which annotations you can view in the Info and Organize panels.

Here are instructions for creating catalogs to be distributed with Expression Media Reader:

To create a catalog for Expression Media Reader with thumbnails and previews

  1. Create a new catalog.

  2. On the Edit menu, click Thumbnails and Previews.

  3. Select the size of thumbnails to be created (160, 320, 480, or 640 pixels). If you select Variable size, Expression Media matches the thumbnail size defined in the Thumbnail view of the active catalog. If you are sharing a catalog with thumbnails only, you should select a large thumbnail size, such as 480 or 640.

  4. Select the JPEG compression quality to be applied to the thumbnails.

  5. To enable the creation of media previews, select the Create full screen previews check box.

    This option enables the catalog recipient to view larger image files without accessing the original files.

  6. Select the size of previews to be created (800, 1024, or 1280 pixels).

  7. Select the JPEG compression quality to be applied to the preview images, and then click OK.

  8. Import your media items and save your catalog. If you want to password-protect your catalog for distribution, see the previous section.

View options

Expression Media Reader does not provide any options to change the appearance of List, Thumbnail, and Media views. Select the font, font size, colors, and displayed fields with your catalog recipient in mind.

Expression Media Reader does not provide any options to configure the Info or Organize panels. You can show or hide various annotation fields and groups with your catalog recipient in mind. For instructions about how to modify the Info and Organize panels, see The Info panel and The Organize panel.

Distribute disc

Burn your catalog and a copy of Expression Media Reader on a CD or DVD. Include both the Macintosh and Windows versions of Expression Media Reader so that you won't have to worry about which operating system your recipient is using. If you want your catalog recipient to view the highest resolution for Media view, Slide Shows, and the Light Table, you should also burn a copy of all original media files on the same CD or DVD.

Be aware that the file size of catalogs with full-screen media previews can be much larger than catalogs with only thumbnails. However, if you use full-screen media previews, your clients will be able to see a much larger version of your images.

The size and compression quality of media previews also greatly affects the file size of Expression Media catalogs.

Exchange feedback using the Expression Media Notepad

The Expression Media Notepad is an easy way to share comments about media items among different users viewing and using the same catalog.

The Expression Media Notepad is a flexible tool and can be used in different ways. The following example of a photographer communicating with an art director about an assignment illustrates how the Expression Media Notepad works.

Using Expression Media Reader (or Expression Media), the art director can view and select the best images and send those selections with comments back to the photographer. The photographer can then immediately see those selections in the catalog and quickly process the photos according to the comments.

Here's how that exchange would work, step by step:

  • Instructions for the photographer:

    1. Create a catalog with Expression Media.

    2. Burn the catalog onto a CD or DVD, and include the Macintosh and Windows versions of Expression Media Reader. If your client already has Expression Media Reader, you might be able to send the catalog by e-mail.

    3. Send the disc to the art director.

  • Instructions for the art director:

    1. Copy Expression Media Reader, the catalog, and any media files from the disc to your computer. You can start Expression Media Reader from the disc and open the catalog, so installing Expression Media Reader is not necessary.

    2. On the Window menu, click Expression Media Notepad.

    3. Drag a selection of images to the Expression Media Notepad. This selection makes up the first page of the Expression Media Notepad.

    4. Type your comments about this selection of images in the Comment box. For example, you could type: Print order: 2 copies of each image at 4x6.


      Try starting each comment with a short word. That way, a catalog creator who is importing your comments into catalog sets will quickly be able to decipher the general meaning of the page comments.

    5. If more feedback is needed, select a different page of the Expression Media Notepad and repeat the process.

    6. When the Expression Media Notepad is complete, click the Email button at the lower left of the Notepad panel. This starts your computer's default e-mail client, creates a new e-mail message, and attaches the Expression Media Notepad file. The Expression Media Notepad file will have the same file name as the catalog but with an .ivn extension.

    7. Send the e-mail to the photographer.

  • Instructions for the photographer:

    1. Open the e-mail and save the attached Expression Media Notepad file to the same folder as the original catalog that was sent to the art director.

    2. Open the catalog from the Window menu, and then click Notepad. Expression Media now displays the selections and comments that were made in Expression Media Reader by the art director. You can also double-click the Notepad icon, and Expression Media will start and automatically open the appropriate catalog.

    3. On the Option menu at the bottom of the Notepad panel, click Create Sets usingNotepad pages. This option creates five catalog sets corresponding to each page of the catalog's Expression Media Notepad. You can now hide the Notepad panel because the same information is in the Organize panel and it can be integrated with your regular workflow.