Layers panel

You can work in a more organized manner by using layers when you build your documents, separating each part of your image into its own layer. For example, you could put all your text on one layer and all your imported images on another layer. Then, when you have to change the text, you could hide every layer except the text layer so that you can work without distraction. Or, in an image that will be used for two different languages, you could put English text on one layer and Spanish on a second layer. Because only visible layers appear when you export or print your file, this means you could hide the Spanish version when you print the English-language version, and vice versa.

You can also use layers as a way to play around with a new design concept while keeping other parts of your layout intact. For example, you could select all the objects on a layer, duplicate them to another layer, and change them until you get the look you like, or delete the whole layer and return to the original objects.

Microsoft Expression Design documents always contain at least one layer. When you open a new document, an empty layer named "Layer 1" is automatically created for you. You can see and manage your layers in the Layers panel (see later in this topic).

For more information about how to add or remove layers, see Add, move, or delete layers. For more information about how to position objects on layers, see Move objects between layers.

The Layers panel

The Layers panel lists not only every layer in your document, but every object on each layer. Additionally, you can select, delete, arrange, and lock those layers and objects. The Layers panel is invaluable for managing complex documents. For example, you might find it difficult to select a specific object among a group of overlapping shapes, but the Layers panel makes it easy to select the object and move it to another layer or to position in the object stack.

At first, the Layers panel shows only a list of the document's layers. The columns to the right of the layer name let you change the lock or visibility state of the layer.

For more information, see Layer options and Lock and hide layers.

You can also "expand" a layer to see which objects are on it by clicking the triangle to the left of the layer's name. The panel presents information about the object, including the following:

  • The number of points on the path or a bitmapped object's pixel dimensions.

  • If you have added a label to an object, the label appears here.

  • Any objects or layers that have a live effect applied to them will be marked with a Live Effect¬†Cc295122.3dafe8ce-bc20-4cc0-8c8d-aeada2a033c8(en-us,Expression.30).png icon. For more information about this topic, see Apply live effects

  • You can decide to hide individual objects in each layer. Hidden objects are not displayed, nor are they exported.

The Layers panel


Note that the top-to-bottom order in the Layers panel corresponds to the front-to-back order in the document. That is, whatever is on top of the Layers panel is on top of the object stack. You can drag a layer or an object up and down in the Layers panel to position it in a different order in the document.

If you have grouped two or more objects together on a layer, the Layers panel displays a triangle "expand" icon next to the group. Click that icon to view the objects inside that group. To hide the list of objects in a group or in a layer, click the "expand" triangle again.

Layer and object thumbnails

In a complex document, you often need more than a label to identify the object represented by each tile in the Layers panel. Here are several ways to help identify objects:

  • Each layer and object tile in the Layers panel displays a small thumbnail preview. To change the size of the thumbnail, at the bottom of the Layers panel, click the Options¬†Cc295122.580a6978-9a74-422a-b48e-61739a9087b7(en-us,Expression.30).png icon, and then, on the Thumbnail Options menu, click the size that you want to see.

  • To see a large thumbnail preview of the object or layer, you can also move the pointer over the panel's name or thumbnail preview area.

  • After you select an object in the Layers panel, on the View menu, click Zoom on Selection to zoom and scroll the document window so that the path or shape is in the center.