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Expression Media 2 Essentials, Part 2: Working with the Interface and Toolbar

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  1. The Expression Media Interface
  2. Using the Toolbar
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Steve Schwartz continues his introductory series on Microsoft Expression Media 2 basics by discussing the main features of the interface and the toolbar.
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Whether you intend to dabble with a program or eventually master it, one crucial initial step is to become familiar with its interface and toolbar(s). In this article, we'll cover the most important components of the Expression Media 2 interface, as well as the elements in the program's toolbar.

The Expression Media Interface

The parts of the Expression Media interface with which you'll need to be familiar are shown in Figure 1 (Windows) and Figure 2 (Mac). The following table describes the interface items, using the numbers shown in the figures.





Title bar

The title bar at the top of the current catalog window shows the catalog's name. You can click buttons on the title bar to close, minimize, or maximize/restore/zoom the catalog window.


Menu bar

Click a menu title (such as File or Edit) on the menu bar to reveal the contents of that menu and choose a command. On a PC, every open catalog has its own menu bar. On a Mac, a single menu bar is displayed across the top of the screen, regardless of the number of open catalogs.


Info and Organize buttons

Click a button to reveal the Info or the Organize panel on the left side of the catalog window.

The Info panel lists media characteristics (such as filename, resolution, and shutter speed) and allows you to add annotations that help categorize the selected file(s), such as a star rating, label, or keywords.

Use the Organize panel to filter the catalog to display only files that match a specific criterion, such as being a particular file type or having a certain keyword or star rating. You can also quickly assign annotations to one or many files in this panel.


Show State buttons

After filtering the catalog in the Organize panel, you can click the Show State buttons (see Figure 3) to step backward or forward through the applied filter states—for example, to show only images rated three stars. Click the Show All Items button to remove all filters and display the entire catalog.



Click icons on the toolbar to perform common commands and procedures, such as printing, sorting, viewing an image in the Light Table, or starting a slide show.


View tabs

You can display and manage a catalog in any of three views. In List view, the filenames and selected characteristics (such as size, file type, dimensions, and path) are presented in a vertical list. In Thumbnail view, a thumbnail image represents each file. Use Media view to examine a file or its preview at its actual size or another magnification.


Search box

To perform a simple search of the current catalog, type search text in the Search box and press Enter/Return. In addition to searching for a filename or extension (such as .jpg), you can enter metadata and annotations in the Search box. For example, you could enter red to find all files to which you've applied the Red label.


Zoom icons

Click one of the Zoom icons under the Search box (see Figure 4) to rotate an image or to view images at a different magnification.


Status bar

Information concerning the current catalog is presented in the Status bar; for example, the catalog's size, number of items, and number of selected items.

Figure 1

Figure 1 The Expression Media 2 interface (Windows).

Figure 2

Figure 2 The Expression Media 2 interface (Macintosh).

Figure 3

Figure 3 Click these icons to move through any applied filter states (left to right: Show Previous State, Show Next State, Show All Items).

Figure 4

Figure 4 Click an icon in this set to rotate the selected item(s) or to change the magnification in the current view (left to right: Rotate Right, Rotate Left, Zoom Out, Zoom In, Zoom drop-down menu).

The Windows and Mac menu bars differ slightly. On a Mac, the Scripts menu (found to the left of the Help menu) is represented by an icon (see Figure 5). The Mac menu bar also contains a Play menu (represented by a Play button) that doesn't exist in the Windows application.

Figure 5

Figure 5 Two menus on the Mac menu bar are represented by icons rather than names.

The functions of the three Zoom icons (Zoom Out, Zoom In, and the Zoom drop-down menu) shown in Figure 4 depend on the current view. In List view, Zoom Out (minus sign) and Zoom In (plus sign) toggle between small and large icons. In Thumbnail view, they set thumbnail size. In Media view, they control the image or preview size. Note that whenever you specify a new size, the setting is applied to all items in the catalog—not just to the item that's currently selected or that you're viewing.

The contents of the Zoom drop-down menu also vary with the chosen view. In List view, use the menu to switch between small and large file icons. In Thumbnail view, you can change the thumbnail size and margin setting. In Media view, you can choose a specific size and scaling.

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