Working with objects and properties

In Microsoft Expression Blend, an object is anything that you can position on the artboard. For example, after you add a visual element to the artboard, it becomes an object in your application. Developing a stunning user interface becomes as simple as adding objects to the artboard and modifying them to suit your needs.

Types of objects

You can add layout panels to arrange and group your objects, add controls, shapes or paths, special text controls, media, and 3D objects to the artboard.

For more information, see the following topics:


Some types of objects are not available in both Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Microsoft Silverlight projects.

Modifying objects

You can modify objects on the artboard in many ways by using the artboard handles to resize, move, rotate, flip, or skew the objects. Additionally, you can use the Properties panel to enter values that affect such object attributes as appearance, size, and position.

You can also animate objects, and hook up triggers or events that will control the animation based on user interaction.

For more information, see the following topics:


Triggers are not supported in Microsoft Silverlight, but you can configure user interactivity using events or states. For more information, see Change states in response to user interaction.

Customizing objects

If you want to create a unique look for your application, you can create styles and templates, and convert other properties to resources to apply them to other visual elements. You can also design user controls or write code for custom controls to create reusable controls that include custom behavior.

For more information, see the following topics:

Dynamic content

If you want your application to present content that is updated dynamically, you can add a data source and bind the properties of objects to data. You can also bind the property of one object to the property of another object (for example, to update a numeric text box with the value of a slider).

For more information, see Displaying data.

Adding objects

You can add an object to the artboard by selecting a tool in the Tools panel or the Assets panel, or by selecting a styled or custom control from the Assets panel. You can also drag a styled control from the Resources panel, or drag resources from the Resources panel onto an existing object on the artboard to apply the resource to one of the properties of the object.

Artboard stack order

Each time that you create a new object, it sits on top of a stack of objects. With any two objects, one object is always higher in the stack on the artboard than the other object, and the top of the stack is the front-most object on the artboard, overlapping objects that are lower in the stack.



Initial set of objects in Z order.


Bring Forward in the Z order.


Bring to Front of the Z order.

In another example as shown in the following image, the Ellipse object is higher in the stack than the Rectangle object, which on the artboard means that the Ellipse appears in front of the Rectangle.

Stack order of objects on the artboard