Home > Design > Simple Image cropping in Expression Design

Simple Image cropping in Expression Design

February 9, 2009

I had a case today where I wanted to crop an image, something I haven’t needed to do in some time.  In fact, the last time I had to do it was on my previous computer which had several graphics programs installed.  This time, however, the only application I have installed on this machine is Expression Design 2.  I remember seeing the feature I was after in some training videos, so I thought I should be able to figure out quickly enough.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work as I remembered.  On the other hand, I found a pretty quick way to do simple cropping so I thought I’d share that.

First things first

Obviously, we need an image on our artboard, so I opened an image in Design:

I want to cut this down to just a head shot, but I can’t find a simple crop tool.  In my graphics class I’ve noticed that Illustrator suffers from this deficiency as well.  I’m sure it is because eof the vector orientation of these tools, but it seems to me it would be a standard feature.

What I remember from the videos is that I should be able to draw a rectangle over the image, denoting the crop location, select both objects, and perform an Intersection (or something like that), leaving only the cropped image behind.  Unfortunately, when I tried that the “Path Operations” options were disabled, so I must have been doing something wrong.  I stumbled around for a couple of minutes when I found something that worked: “Create Image Object.”

Create Image Object

Under the Object menu is a popout menu called “Image”.  This is where you’ll find the “Create Image Object” option:

Now drag a rectangle around the area you wish to retain.  Here’s the bad news: you only get one shot at this.  You can’t drop the rectangle and then tweak it, it has to be right immediately.  When you drop the rectangle, you will be prompted for the DPI of the new object.  The default is 96, which is the default WPF resolution (for lack of better terminology), so I just left it at that.  If you plan to print or need to retain really high quality, bump this up to around 300 DPI.

Save the Cropped Image

At this point you should see a rectangle on the image outlining the new Image object:

In fact, it IS the new Image object.  To prove this, just drag it to another part of the artboard:

Now, to save the cropped version of the Image, make sure just the new Image object is selected and go to File -> Export:

“Selected Objects” will be checked by default, so we are only dealing with the new Image object.  Change the Format, File Name, and Location to your desired parameters and press “Export All”.

Now you should have a quick and dirty cropped image.  I won’t use this all the time, because I can’t adjust the crop area, but for simple work like this it gets the job done quickly and easily.  Oh, and for the record, I did all the screen shots in this post using Design as well.

Categories: Design
  1. December 16, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Great post! I can’t believe Microsoft made it this hard to do something so simple. It’s almost as if they didn’t consult any designers at all, in the creation of Expression Design… Your post was most helpful in solving my issue though. Thank you!

  2. November 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm


    I really appreciated. I was struggling on this issue. It is 1:39 AM and I was not going to slip before I could design in expression design and export the design to expression web. Thanks a mil.

  3. Greg Leake
    March 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    thx! This helped me a lot.


  4. Punit
    August 4, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Hey thanks a lot. I’ve been searching over the net for a really good way to crop the images, but yours is a definitive way. Thanks a lot. I do appreciate Microsoft a lot, but this is a feature MS should come up with.

    Once again, I express my gratitude and yes, the site is really helpful in other areas too.

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