Thumbnail view

Thumbnail view


Thumbnail view displays the catalog as a table of thumbnail images in adjustable sizes. Click the Thumbnail tab to select this view. When you select an item in the table, the Header bar displays data about the item, such as whether the file is loaded on the hard disk, the last path name for the location of the file, and a description. If the original file is not on the hard disk, the header text appears in red.

To change the position of items in the catalog, select one or more items and drag them to the location you want. Or, after you make your selection, click any one of the Move commands on the View menu. If you click Move to Location, a special pointer appears to indicate that you can now select the destination by clicking somewhere in the catalog (you can scroll if you want). To cancel this mode, press ESC.

If an imported image is much smaller than the thumbnail box that contains it, Microsoft Expression Media is using an existing thumbnail instead of creating its own (this is common with digital camera files). If you want Expression Media to create its own thumbnails for every file imported, make sure that the command Use built-in thumbnails is not selected in the Thumbnails and Previews dialog box.

If Expression Media creates its own thumbnail for a file, the size of the thumbnail is defined in the Thumbnails and Previews dialog box on the Edit menu.


If the thumbnail of an animation or movie file is black, or not what you want, you can change it. To do so, select the item, play it to a frame you like, and then pause the playback. Then, on the Action menu, click Rebuild Item.

For multipage or multilayer files, switch to Media view, and then use the Pager tool to advance to the page or layer that you want to be the thumbnail. Then, on the Action menu, click Rebuild Item. When you return to Thumbnail view, the thumbnail will be updated to the new layer or page.

Pager tool


To update the thumbnail of a media file that has been modified since it was cataloged, select the item, and then, on the Action menu, click Rebuild Item.

Modifying thumbnail display

You have several options to change the style of the display in Thumbnail view. You can decide to have your thumbnails appear without a border, which makes them appear closer together, or you can add a blank or framed border around them (by default, thumbnails appear with a shadow border). You can also change the thumbnail aspect ratio to make them appear in a portrait or landscape orientation.

To change how your thumbnails display

  • Do one of the following:

    • On the Window menu, click View Options. In the Aspect ratio list, select a display orientation. In the Margin list, select a border type.

    • On the Thumbnail Options menu Cc507737.bd313b96-ba12-4745-a94f-e5d468ff23a9(en-us,Expression.10).png, click a Thumbnail Ratio or Thumbnail Margin option.

Rotating thumbnails

Some images do not appear in the correct orientation when they are imported into Expression Media. This is often the case with portrait (vertical) film images that have been scanned, or portrait images taken with digital cameras that do not record the camera's orientation in the EXIF metadata. Most new digital cameras record the orientation in the EXIF metadata. Expression Media respects this image orientation and automatically rotates the image thumbnail accordingly during the import process.

Expression Media offers three methods of rotating your images to the correct viewing orientation:

  • Rotating thumbnails (or "soft rotation")   Soft rotation means that the viewing angle of an image is rotated in the catalog view, but the original file is not. To soft-rotate an image, select the thumbnail and use the Rotate buttons in the far-right side of the Header bar. Each rotation represents 90 degrees. A soft rotation applies to how Expression Media displays the image in all views (List, Thumbnail, or Media view, Light Table mode, and Slide Shows) and how Expression Media will export the file, such as for file conversions and web galleries. However, if you use an external program (such as Photoshop) to open the file, the image might appear with its original orientation.

  • **Lossless .jpg rotation   **Lossless rotation means that the original image is rotated and saved without a recompression of the .jpg image data. This method protects images from .jpg compression artifacts. On the Action menu, click JPEG Rotate to perform lossless rotations of 90, -90, and 180 degrees. Before applying a lossless .jpg rotation to several files at once, make sure that all images selected are .jpg files and need the same orientation correction. All original annotations are maintained with this process. The Default option rotates .jpg files depending on their soft rotation state. This option saves time because it lets you perform several different rotations at the same time.

  • **Precision rotation   **Precision rotation means rotating an image in increments as small as one tenth of one degree. Use the Rotate tool in the Expression Media Image Editor to perform precision rotation. To rotate an image 90 degrees clockwise, type 90 in the Angle field. To rotate counter-clockwise, put a minus sign (-) in front of the number in the Angle field. When you finish, click the Save button in the Image Editor panel. Depending on your options (especially format), some metadata might be lost when you save the file.

For more information about how to use the Image Editor to rotate files, see Image Editor overview.

Improving thumbnail quality in Expression Media

Some programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, embed a small, low-quality thumbnail image into the media file. Digital cameras do this also. During import, Expression Media renders that preexisting "built-in" thumbnail and stores it in the catalog file. This default setting makes importing fast, but it may also produce low-quality thumbnails.

To improve thumbnail quality, you can set Expression Media to render its own thumbnails on import. Alternatively, you can rebuild thumbnails individually.

Rebuild thumbnails during import

Expression Media can render new thumbnail images during the import process, providing you with the option of creating thumbnails of a different quality. Choosing to rebuild thumbnails slows down the import process because Expression Media has to render the whole image to create a thumbnail, but this process often results in a higher-quality thumbnail.

To rebuild thumbnails during import

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

  2. Clear the Use built-in thumbnails check box.

Rebuild thumbnails after import

Use this option if you have an existing catalog that was created with built-in thumbnails.

To rebuild thumbnails after import

  1. Select the thumbnails.

  2. On the Action menu, click Rebuild Item.

Improving digital camera thumbnails

Digital cameras might have poor-quality thumbnails because they often let users take pictures with a 3:2 ratio. When the camera creates a thumbnail for this kind of image, it puts black bars above and below the image to make the thumbnail size use the standard 4:3 ratio. To replace poor-quality thumbnails with better ones, or to remove the black bars, select one or more images, and then, on the Action menu, click Rebuild Item.

Improving thumbnail quality in other programs

Depending on which graphics program created or modified a particular file, you may be able to improve the quality of the thumbnails that Expression Media displays by setting options in the graphics program that was last used to modify the file. Use the suggestions in the following sections according to the program that you use to create or edit your files.

Adobe Illustrator

This information applies to Adobe Illustrator version 8.0 only.

Adobe Illustrator does not offer any options for modifying thumbnails in its native format (.ai).

For the best catalogs, we recommend that you save files with the Create PDFCompatibleFile option selected. This option saves the file in .pdf format. You can find the Create PDFCompatibleFile option in the Illustrator Options dialog box, which appears when you save an Illustrator file by clicking Save As on the File menu.

Adobe ImageReady

Adobe's optimization program, Adobe ImageReady, does not embed thumbnails in optimized files. Expression Media automatically creates its own thumbnails for these files.

Adobe InDesign

This information applies to Adobe InDesign version 2.0, Creative Suite (CS) 1-3.

Files created with the page layout program InDesign CS2 have thumbnails if you select the Save Document Preview Image option in the InDesign File Handling dialog box on the Preferences menu.

The InDesign File Handling dialog box in InDesign CS2 also enables you to define the size of preview images that you can then use to create thumbnails in Expression Media. The size that you select limits the size of the thumbnails that Expression Media can create. Expression Media also displays this preview in Media view.

In InDesign versions 2.0 and CS, InDesign files contain a 128x128–pixel, color-bitmap PICT thumbnail of the first page of InDesign documents.

In InDesign, select a preview size for files in the File Handling dialog box on the Preferences menu.

Adobe Photoshop

This information applies to Adobe Photoshop versions 6.0, 7.0, and Creative Suite (CS) 1-3.

Adobe Photoshop, an image-editing program, can embed sharpened thumbnails (thumbnails with a sharpening filter applied) and save thumbnail files. This option is controlled in the Photoshop program's Preferences: FileHandling dialog box. When you select either the Macintosh Thumbnail or the Windows Thumbnail option, Photoshop (CS 2-3) creates thumbnails at 160 pixels. No options exist for controlling the size of the thumbnails.

If you have selected the Use built-in thumbnails option in Expression Media, thumbnails for Photoshop files might appear to be smaller than the box that contains the thumbnail. If you rebuild them, the thumbnail size will match the rest of your catalog.

In the event that a Photoshop file does not have a built-in thumbnail, Expression Media automatically creates its own at 320 pixels. The default thumbnail size for Adobe Photoshop 7.0 files is 128 pixels; for Adobe Photoshop 6.0 files, it is 112 pixels.

FreeHand MX

This information applies to Macromedia FreeHand versions 9.0 and 10.0. It also applies to FreeHand MX (11.0).

FreeHand embeds a small thumbnail when it saves a file. The thumbnails for saved files are 112x112 pixels, in .pict (a color bitmap) format.

Some FreeHand files might have been saved without a thumbnail or preview. As a result, these files display a generic icon.

However, FreeHand has an Export Preferences option, which enables you to make sure a thumbnail is added. You can find this option in FreeHand by clicking Preferences on the Application menu.

To get the best thumbnails, we recommend that you select the following options in FreeHand:

  • FreeHand file preview   When you select this option, FreeHand documents are saved with a preview thumbnail embedded. The default is a 112x112 JPEG thumbnail. You can increase the width and height of this preview to guarantee a larger image to display in Media view.

  • **Include Portfolio preview   **When you select this option, FreeHand documents include a thumbnail bitmap preview used by Extensis Portfolio for browsing (font manager). Expression Media uses this preview for display in Thumbnail view.

  • **Selecting the Bitmap PICT   **When you select this option, a color shift and gradient banding might occur on CMYK (color mode) documents. The benefit of checking this option is that you can scale the size of your preview, which is valuable for very large documents.


Using the Rebuild Item command does not improve the quality of these thumbnails.

For more information about these export options, see the Macromedia FreeHand Help documentation.

See also


List view

Media view

Image Editor overview