Create clipping masks

You can use one path to clip (or mask) the shape of another object by grouping the objects together into a clipping mask group. For example, if you want a picture of a forest to appear inside the word "TREES," you could use the text as a clipping mask, grouping it together with the image. Note that in this example, you would first have to convert the text to paths, because only paths and shapes can be clipping masks.


A clipping mask path in Microsoft Expression Design retains its original fill and stroke attributes. However, the fill appears behind the object being masked and the stroke appears on top of the object being masked. You can think of the other objects in the clipping mask group as being sandwiched between the filled background and the stroked outline. Note that live effects applied to the clipping mask are removed when you create a clipping mask group.

Using text as a clipping mask

You can use text as a clipping mask, but you must first convert the text to a path, and then convert it to a compound path.

To convert text to a path

  1. Select the text you want to use as a clipping mask.

  2. On the Object menu, click Convert Object to Path (or press CTRL+SHIFT+O).

    Each character is converted to an individual path object.

  3. On the Object menu, point to Compound Path, and then click Make.

Creating a clipping mask

You can use any path, including converted text, as a clipping mask.

To create a clipping mask

  1. Position the path you want to use as a clipping mask on top of the objects you want to be clipped.

  2. Select the path and the other objects.

  3. On the Object menu, point to Clipping Path, and then click Make with Top Path (or press CTRL+7).

You can also place the path below other objects and, on the Object menu, point to Clipping Path, and then click Make with Bottom Path. In this case, Expression Design first moves the path to the top of the object stack and then creates the clipping mask group.

Here, text has been converted to outlines, combined as a compound path, and placed on top of an image (top). Next, the path and image are combined into a clipping mask group (bottom).


Editing and removing clipping mask groups

You can edit the paths, shapes, and objects in a clipping mask group at any time, as though they were objects in a regular group. To select just the clipping mask or one or more objects in a clipping mask group, use the Group Select Cc294616.41beee88-9aaf-40ef-b7ae-5a802596cdfc(en-us,Expression.30).png tool, the Direct Selection Cc294616.a4e92365-1fd6-473c-b727-1487d8a466c9(en-us,Expression.30).png tool, or the Lasso Selection Cc294616.81bef400-2dac-4493-9ff4-8a9fc9153a33(en-us,Expression.30).png tool.

To remove the clipping mask

  • Select the group.

  • On the Object menu, point to Clipping Path, and then click Release (or press CTRL+SHIFT+7).

See also


Convert text to path