What Would You Like to See in the Next Versions of Blend and Design?

Even though we just shipped Expression Blend and Design 2, we are already busy planning what to do for future releases. To better help us with our planning, we'd like to hear from you.

What are some things that you would like to see in Blend and Design? What are some of the things that you wish were done differently? Also, what are some of the things in our products that you like?

Let us know by posting in the comments below! We take your feedback very seriously, and your input goes a long way in helping us improve our products.


(On a related note, based on feedback from many of you, this blog has been restyled. A big thanks to Tim Sneath for the help.)

Comments (115)
  1. Joe says:

    TFS/SCC integration.  We have been asking the Expression Web/Blend teams for it since before version 1 was released…isn’t it about time?  I know I’m not the only one either; see the Expression product forums and connect sites.

  2. Garry Trinder says:

    All I need is Expression Design.

    VS2008, SQL Server and Expression Design for my Developer Evangelism.

    Don’t mean to complain but it seems like a waste for me to buy the entire Studio to get Design. πŸ˜‰

    Note: I do not use it for profit.

  3. Even though we just shipped Expression Blend and Design 2 , we are already busy planning what to do for

  4. Bill Reiss says:

    In Blend, I’d like to see intellisense for the XAML, better control skinning support, and possibly some animation wizards that could assist with some of the more common scenarios.

    Most importantly, I’d like to see some sort of "express" version that would let the hobbyist or small development shop be able to use Blend without shelling out $500.

  5. Me says:

    – Intellisense in XAML.  There are things you can’t do with the tool that are purely design related and require hand-coding XAML to get the effect you want.  Limiting it to VS only is being bull-headed for no justifiable reason besides $$$.

    – TFS integration.  This seems like a no-brainer for Microsoft since it continually touts its designer-developer integration story.

    – Better style creation and management

  6. Even though we just shipped Expression Blend and Design 2 , we are already busy planning what to do for

  7. John Garland says:

    There are several features present in VS2008 that are conspicuously absent from Blend, especially when it comes to the direct editing of the XAML.  It is borderline inexcusable that the text search feature is on par with Notepad’s.    Intellisense and a client plugin for TFS would also be helpful (and have already been mentioned.)  Although Blend is targeted at "designers", in my experience as a developer, it has become an indispensible complementary tool to VS2008.  As such, my advice really leans towards exploring and enhancing the developer experience, and make the 2 tools feel and funciton like part of a common suite.

  8. rdeetz says:

    – Source code control integration. TFS would be fine, but even generic VSSI-type interface would be fine.

    – Better XAML editor ala Visual Studio.

    – Expression Design available separately. Personally, I buy and use all of Expression Studio, but for some on my team being able to buy just Design would be better.

  9. David Malouf says:

    It’s interesting that people so far are focused on code. What I want to see is complete transparency to a code free designer friendly environment.

    Basically, I want to be able to create interactive prototypes without every going into code (VS or even XAML view).

    On a more real front. We REALLY need a true datagrid component/List view that works and is truly stylable. This missing component is a BIG miss in the current versions.

    On the designer front, I really just want a tool that either is completely and flawlessly interroperable with Adobe products or 1:1 matches the functionality of Adobe Fireworks (not Photoshop; though I imagine many more people will want Photoshop and that is a shame as photoshop has the wrong feature set for prototype development).

  10. C. Lung says:

    +1 for Intellisense in the XAML editor in Blend

    Full Silverlight 2 support (I know that is in the Blend 2.5 preview, but I want to stress that Blend is much more important to some developers as a Silverlight tool than it is for WPF)

    Some built-in effects and animations that I can add to my project, just like the Flash IDE lets you

  11. Nate says:

    I’d like to see Design as part of my MSDN PREMIUM subscription for Software Developers so I could tell you what I’d like to see in the next version so a developer/designer such as myself could actually use it like I should already be able to.

  12. Blake Coverett says:

    Since Office hasn’t yet included Xaml import, Design should include EMF export.

  13. Mark Samuelson says:

    —– Blend Requests —————————-

    – XAML editor intellisense

    – When in XAML editor, auto hide doc panels (or allow separate doc-panel preferences)

    Blend seems to be very aggressive about β€œhelping” by setting properties such as Width, Height, and Margin on elements in an attempt to maintain visual appearance as the user moves and manipulates elements in the designer. This is particularly frustrating when trying to design robust control templates where an explicitly defined Width, Height, and Margin is seldom desired. I find myself repeatedly having to β€œreset” properties on the same elements.  

    This is also problematic for general layout when sizing-to-content is desired, for example, when the content of a control changes size (think of localized strings within a button) or when resizing of a container (e.g.: a window) occurs. (This aggressive setting of properties also tends to bloat the generated XAML)

    – Settings to control this behavior

  14. Shannon says:

    – Solution folder support

    – Remember what projects are expanded/collapsed

    – XAML intellisense

  15. Ben Cooley says:

    1. The ability to tag various XAML elements as "designer only" or "code only" to allow design time only data, and prevent the designer from trying to load certain tags which only work in actual code.

    2. The ability to specify a theme for a user control in a dll at design time without having to also include the theme at runtime in the controls resources.  Right now you can only see themed controls/windows in .EXE projects with an Application xaml file.

    3. The ability for the "Data" panel to display properties from CustomPropertyDescriptors.

    4.  Expand the "Data" panel to be a more general Data Binding panel and support drag and drop of any bindable property of a control or resource in the current panel.  Any item’s properties in the resources for the current window/usercontrol should be able to be viewed/dragged/dropped directly from the "Data" panel onto the designer panel as a control.    Any property in the  "Data" panel dropped onto a property panel property should automatically create a a data binding.  

    5. More robust xaml parser that never fails to parse XAML files unless they are almost completely invalid.  It shows whatever controls, elements that can be parsed (even with errors) and displays [X] for whatever does not parse.  It also shows controls that generate exceptions, and tries to use alternate controls when possible for panels/containers.  It displays warnings for controls which generate internal exceptions, and lists syntax errors for invalid XML.

    6. Display embedded resources in a window/control in in the standard element tree as children of their parent elements, not in the seperate ‘resources’ panel.  Allow them to be added, removed, cut/copy/pasted.

    7. Allow blend and some of its basic panels to integrate directly into visual studio and optionally replace the "Cider" editor if it is installed.  Why support two XAML editors?

    8. Always allow design time size properties for all templates, windows, controls.

    9. Provide easy interface for populating "designer data" for design time WYSIWYG viewing of data templates, items controls, etc.

    10. Always show "something" when any XAML file is clicked.  The first data template or style in a dictionary, whatever can be parsed of a window or control, etc.  Never show a "can not display" window.  This causes untold trips to a designers computer just to say "it’s not supposted to show anything when you click that".

  16. Ben Cooley says:

    Expression design:

    1. Support the gradient capabilities of XAML gradients.  It’s useless as a tool to export XAML without the full gradient transform parameters available in XAML.

  17. Thomas Lynge says:

    I would very much like to see XAML import incorporated into Expression Design. Sometimes things are made entirely in Blend or made in Design and then further manipulated in Blend. It would be nice if it could be loaded back into Expression Design.

  18. HawVer says:

    Intellisense in the XAML editor is one of the features I miss most!

  19. neverthelimit says:

    I think the working environment would be nice if we could switch back and forth to the old black on white interface… sometimes easier to read. Even though the dark gray scene fits for nightsters…

  20. Christian Habetzeder says:

    First of all I have to say that I like Design a lot. Like most graphic designers my work is also being used in different media, both digital and print. In order to be the primary design tool, and not just a middle man, a lot of features are missing. And remember, to a graphic designer code is pretty scary! In Design I would like to:

    – have full support for import and export of eps, wmf, emf, xaml, ai.

    – se thumbnails of ai, psd and a lot of other formats when importing.

    – be able to Copy/Paste in between Illustrator and Design without i.e. gradients being converted to pixel based graphics.

    – have support for color management and ICC profiles.

    – be able to change color system of all objects in a document to rgb or cmyk.

    – to have access to PMS color libraries.

    – to have warnings when saving/exporting files with mixed color mode.

    – be able to limit the number of decimals when exporting to xaml.

    – be able to choose registration point of objects permanently, i.e. top left corner.

    – be able to edit resource dictionaries from VS projects without access to code.

    – to have interoperability with TFS.

    – have a graphic representation of a resource dictionary in Blend, like the cast view in Adobe Director. And be able to use Design as an external editor for individual resources in that dictionary from both Blend and VS.

    – be able to make text follow a line or other object.

    – have better support for creating icon-files. Make changes for different sizes and see a complete preview of them.

    – be able to create symbol libraries used within the document, as a resource to the installation or as a resource within a group of graphic designers.

    – be able to create a star formed shape with inner and outer radius measure.

    – be able to choose a graphic form and by putting the cursor to one point get a dialogue to enter exact values for the object.

    – be able to create different kind of graphs with the support of input tables.

    – be able to set more than one set of crop marks.

    – be able to adjust printing, i.e. icc-profile used, color separations, resolution, how pixel based pictures are treated etc.

    I really look forward to the next release!

  21. Dany Laporte says:

    – Add Design Time visible property

    – Better integration of "custom" data source provider that can produce sample data at design time without having to specify a datasource type.

    – Better integration of databinding based on sample data produced at design time.

    – Show missing properties of the storyboard

    – Allow better edition of resource dictionary, create, clone, rename (with refactoring)

    – Allow binding statically to resources

    – Add localization / internationalization

    – Allow to consume wcf web services

    – Allow to bind commands, keygesture, inputgesture, etc

    – Provide a way to see and remove identical property value from the xaml

  22. Joe says:

    Another one for intellisense for XAML.  Still shocked it hasn’t got it.


    Better databinding support.  There really needs to be a better end-to-end solution for databinding ‘mocking’ so that you can simulate a data feed into an adhoc databound control.  Basically, take a control and scan it for binding and then provide an input dialog that creates a mock object to simulate the data.

    Resource editing.  Unless I’m missing something I can’t edit a DrawingBrush resource.  

    Better logical/visual tree browsing.  I can’t expand the tree if there are visual elements on the background property.  In fact, the storyboard editor seems the wrong place for navigating the tree – why not just have a generic visual/logical tree browser?  The ‘New’ buton on the tree should allow you to add any valid element based on references etc (like the intellisense editor in VS2008).

  23. Gil says:

    TFS/SCC integration. This should have been there since day one.

  24. Doug says:

    I would like it to be easier to edit brushes and resources even if they are not currently being used by an object. What would REALLY be great is if I could be looking at the XAML view and right click on a brush and edit it visually.

    I would also like intellisense in the XAML view.

    Thanks for the GREAT work!

  25. tino says:

    As a designer I wish that Expression Design could get the alpha mask feature from Blend. And the ability to let strokes be inside or outside of a path (like in Illustrator CS3) would be really great especially when it comes to create pixel perfect designs.

    Just some small suggestion for the ui in Design/Blend: the toolbar buttons should be at the left border of the screen to improve usability (Fitt’s law) and it would be handy to move the document by pressing the mouse wheel.

  26. Nate says:

    TFS integration… would be very beneficial to our project.

  27. Aaron says:

    Adding a new user control to a folder in a project does not append the folder name to the namespace like in VS.  I don’t know if this was fixed in 2, but I know it is a problem with Silverlight in 2.5.  Blend also has issues finding controls that are in folders or sub-namespaces.


    I don’t know if this is available now, but a way to move a control up or down the visual tree, not just up or down siblings.  Say I inserted a Grid as a child, and now I realized I want to add a border to that grid.  If I add a new border as a child to the parent, it deletes the grid; the only option is to add the border in xaml view  and then switch back to design view.   Not a big hurdle, but it would be nice to be able to right-click and say "Move up" and "Move down" along with Send Backward/Forward.  Or maybe just a way to easily insert a border between a parent and child.

  28. Ben says:

    I would like to see Design moving forward as a serious vector art tool. Some  features I think it needs are:

    1. "Gradient Mesh" tool like Illustrator has. This is a hugely useful tool.

    2. "Live Color" tool ala illustrator. HUGELY, HUGELY useful tool. You must at least make a tool that allows you to group the colors used in an object as a swatch and drag and drop swatches onto objects to change the colors.  It’s a pain to experiment with different color groups when you have lots of different gradients in an object. Global colors(Illustrator): if you have used a color from a Global Color swatch if you update the color in the swatch every instance of it in your document is changed.

    3. A "Path Offset" tool. Say you have rectangular path or freeform path. It would be very useful to select the path and click "Offset" and select how many pixels or percent  to make a new path that is perfectly offset from the original path. I use Rhino3D alot and you can offset a b-spline curve and it is an invaluable drawing tool. Download Rhino3D and try a curve>offset. It is a brilliant drawing tool and should just need an algorithm to get it to work ala: http://www.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/PathEstimation

    Inkscape has it I think. Also have dynamic updating of a change to the original path if the offset path if it is linked to the original.

    4. Array Tools. Being able to make an array of objects or paths from an original object or path. Array objects/paths along a path, or in a rectangular array, or in a polar array.

    5. Start drawing an elipse from the center of the elipse instead of the upper left corner.

    4. Some 3d tools would be nice for charts, text, etc.

    5.Direct SVG import

    6. Isolation blending : only use an objects blend mode with other objects it is grouped with.

    7. Have strokes be set to inside or outside of a path. Awesome Illustrator advantage, would be great in Expression Design.

    8. Incremental rotation of document canvas. 21%, 22%, 24%…etc.

    Here are the point others have made that I too want to see happen:

    1.be able to create symbol libraries used within the document, as a resource to the installation or as a resource within a group of graphic designers. (this would be really great)

    2. have full support for import and export of eps, wmf, emf, xaml, ai.

    3.be able to create different kind of graphs with the support of input tables.

    4.Support the gradient capabilities of XAML gradients.  It’s useless as a tool to export XAML without the full gradient transform parameters available in XAML.

  29. tfabraham says:

    Source Control integration!  I can’t believe we don’t have this yet.  Thanks.

  30. BenHayat says:

    Blend Features for Silverlight:

    a) As part of my development cycle I need to continuously test my output in different resolutions (i.e. anywhere from 1024×768 to 1600×1200). In expression web they give you this feature to open a new browser session in different resolution. A great feature and time saver. However in Blend for SL, I constantly have to change resolutions manually to test, which is very time consuming.

    b) It would be great to have a feature in the environment setting "Load last project at startup". If set to True, then Blend would load the last project worked on.

    I open and close Blend a lot, and this would be a great time saver.

    Secondly, it would be nice for Blend to read the VS Project setting, i.e. "Startup Page".

    c) We really need some animation effects built into Bend For Silverlight to compete with Flash world. I’m pushing Blend and SL among developers/designer, but It’s hard to get near Flash effects.

    Thank you for great job!


  31. bitbonk says:

    Here is my wishlist (from http://bitbonk.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!E17530AA6EFF7871!433.entry )

    1. extensive designtime support for cutom controls (Microsoft.Windows.Design.dll);

    2. a plugin architecture to write true plugins for blend

    3. better 3D content authoring support (mesh editing, texturing, animation) or give us an external tool with a workflow that really works (maybe the Microsoft Truespace team can do something for you  ); currently building WPF 3D scenes that are little bit more complex is a very timeconsuming task even if you have very good 3D artists in place

    4. XAML intellisense

    5. XAML outlining (folding xml elements) like in Visual Studio

    6. HSV mode in Blend’s colorpicker

    7. sourcecontrol integration

  32. echab says:

    – full import of AI and SVG files in Design, including texts, groups and object names.

  33. mihailik says:

    More unified *sane* design of Blend GUI itself:

    * calm ‘Windows standard’ color schema

    * draggable sub-windows

  34. Kirupa (MS) says:

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, and please do keep the comments rolling!

    Many of us on the team have looked through this, and there have even been some in-person and e-mail conversations around what you have all suggested.


  35. Chris says:

    * SCC integration is a must!

    * Collapsable menus (Vis Studio stylee)

    * XAML Intellisense

    Great job so far!!!

  36. Ian says:

    I would like to see a feature in Blend similar to the search box that fillters the visible properties to only those that have been modified. This would be of particular value when Blend automagically updates properties when changing layout types.

    Can we also have the ability to turn off the automagic property update when changing layout types, it’s very annoying and often requires digging through the xaml to reset these properties.

    Can we also have source control integration and support for solution folders.

    Can we please?

  37. WPF Controls Emphess.Net: A MenuKiller Control – this article is a work in progress detailing how to

  38. Eric Lacroix says:

    Hi Guys, here some suggestion:

    Release some documentation about the Add-In feature (IAddIn);

    Add the full designer support as in Cider;

    Add Source control integration;

    Add some paper production tools:


              More support for Fixdocument and FlowDocument edition;

              Have some sort of option to match font (word vs blend are not using the same matching font size)

    Add better support to have custom dialog box for binding;

    Have some  "Move To" to feature when muti-selecting object on canvas (I build some with the IAddIn interface);

    Make show snap grid color customazible;

    Make snap marker available when try to mach two control on different container;

    Add the ruler line tag feature as found in Vision to help alignement on several container;

    I may have many other on my list, I will need to consult other team member.


  39. steve says:

    Design: Listen, Listen, Listen to the community and stop making statements such as ‘The experts said…’ or ‘We did a survey and found…’ as none of the statements made so far reflect the requests made on the ED board. XAML export has gone backwards in V2 when you took away the ability to view the markup – I have no idea why you did this? The exporter is now confusing compared to what it was, and several other options have disappeared without explanation.

    Design to Blend: At present its poor, it was supposed to be better in V2 but who knows what happened. For the ‘average’ user its confusing especially when moving text and images between Design and Blend and the option to Copy & Paste only adds to the confusion.

    Blend: Overall pretty good and has some neater tools when compared with design such as the Brush Transform tool which is streets ahead of the comparable tool in Design.

    I use VS2008 Express so adding events is not great as the event is copied to the clipboard rather than directly into the code. Maybe you could look at this. Not a big deal but if you are unsure on what you are doing then it is a bit of surprise.

    Blend is good but Design needs to be a lot better. I never saw one post ever asking for slicing yet we get it in version 2 and 50% of the posts asked for better export options – clearly someone on the team knows better.

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  43. Andrew says:

    Ability to go into a mode where you click on objects to define tab order. I don’t believe this is part of Blend and I’ve seen many WPF apps with really messed up tab order. Setting it manually everywhere seems incredibly difficult for complex UI.

  44. joc77 says:

    Designing à la Infopath : dropping controls on the design surface automatically creates a corresponding XML schema

  45. Cameron says:

    Take most of the options and functionality of wpf in Expression Blend – convert to silverlight. Everything from motion tweens on a path to editing templates and being able to build a proper button and control animation within the storyboard. I shouldn’t need a dev team to help me control an animation in silverlight, when I can build / design an animation in wpf without a dev team. Just me two cents,


  46. marco.ragogna says:


    – Intellisense in XAML.

    – Designer as part of Premium Subscription.

    – Better usability (sometimes is difficult to find the things)

  47. Design

    * Undo History that allows you to to see and/or select which undo(s) you want executed

    * Scripting ability or XAML import

    * More live effects like lightning, filtered lighting and shadow effects, sparkle effects, water ripples, etc.


    * Glow and Bevel effects for Silverlight!!!!!! This should have been added in version 1!

    * Better help files with more examples and samples

  48. Charles Perreault says:

    A refactoring of the context menu API (InvokeContextMenu / CreateContextMenu) to allow us to add items to it and manipulate it via AddIns (like Eric Lacroix said).  Right now the menu is not persistent and is not accessible out of those two methods.

    In the databinding dialog box, add better support for the current "DataContext" by listing available properties in the DataContext of the object.

  49. Shaun McAravey says:

    My wishlist

    1. In-place editing of data and control templates – like content pages with master pages

    2. The ability to specify design-time only data sources to allow WYSIWYG visualization of templates by designers

    3. An intelligent XAML editor

    4. Ability to specify that the value of a particular control property is valid only at design-time.

    5. Extensible control gallery

  50. David says:

    I’d like to see bitmap editing in Design. In addition, I think it would be very helpful to be able to use something other than Canvas to layout the objects. When exporting xaml from Design, everything is inside a canvas, however it’s often necessary for me to convert the layout to a StackPanel or some other layout control.


  51. Naceron says:


    – a more approach to Photoshop style and scripts system.

    – Better vector tools.


    – Templates for beginners users.

  52. Antoni Dol says:

    I’ve been using Expression Design a lot lately, and have compiled a Wishlist while working with it. You asked for it, so…

    1. Drag more than 1 selected layer

    2. Drag layers to bin

    3. Ctrl and Shift click layers like in Photoshop CS3

    4. Ctrl + -> in text jumps to the next word

    5. Underline tekst in Text properties panel

    6. Leading in Points and Pixels instead of Percentages

    7. Deleting Invisible, but not locked layers is possible

    8. Never automatically lock layers

    9. Better text object access

    10. A slimmer (less wide) Layers Panel

    11. Layers in Layers

    12. Drag in text to select characters (including Layer and Object names)

    13. DoubleClick text is Select all text

    14. Default Export format is an option in preferences that is remembered (not always PNG)

    15. Kerning in Words with Alt+<- and Alt+->

    16. Opening dialogs in same screen as application (when multiple monitors)

    That’s all folks πŸ™‚ Keep up the good work!

  53. Rainer Engblom says:

    It’s been mentioned a zillion times, but I’ll add it once more: Intellisence to XAML-editor.

  54. For Blend:

    * XAML Intellisense

    * Better support for dynamic layouts.  I _always_ tweak my XAML by hand due to all the wonky margins that are added when I move stuff around in the designer.

    * I often use Kaxaml  to supplement my Blend work, because of it’s true WYSIWYG.  So perhaps, a real preview pane (in addition to the design pane) that show what’s really going to be rendered.

  55. Just a question:

    Why would you want to rotate the entire canvas (the artboard) in Design? You can rotate your vector objects and your work, but I’m unsure of the benefit of rotating the entire workspace.

  56. Brendan Barrett says:

    Apart from all the others (XAML Intellisense, Design coming seperate from the suite etc)… Ben Cooley’s point number 7…

    7. Allow blend and some of its basic panels to integrate directly into visual studio and optionally replace the "Cider" editor if it is installed.  Why support two XAML editors?

  57. Noah says:

    VSS Integration as Visual Studio currently offers..

  58. djcata says:

    One feature that i need is to draw shapes with variable properties in Design (this was in Expression Graphic Designer –for ex draw sqares but every time we draw the opacity or colour to be variable ,arbitrary)—it was a nice feature and maybe are more others from  Expression Graphic Designer  but i can’t remember now .

    Another wish that i have is that Expression Web to share the same WPF interface like Blend and Design (more exactly the black version i’m interested in ) and have panels that can be hidden like ones in Visual Studio.Expression Web actual interface it’s very ugly and nonproductive.


  59. Antoni Dol says:

    One other thing that bugs me all the time working in Blend is the fact that when I open app.xaml to edit Styles and Resources, a message shows that it cannot be edited in the Design View.

    Since I am going the edit the XAML anyway and won’t go to the Resources Panel and since you already know that I want to open app.xaml (because you can show the message), why don’t you just open it in XAML Mode? Make it an option if you must, you can even add the opportunity to hide the panels at the same time πŸ™‚


  60. Great idea to share our needs with You!

    So here is my list:

    1. First and foremost – InteliSense in XAML.

    2. Design available as a separate product (I know it is basically free as a part of Expression Studio, and yes I am aware of it’s role in whole Designers –  Developers collab story, but yet – It would be nice for users to have it available as a standalone product.

    3. PLEASE bring us back bitmap editing features that were once available in Design (last time seen in September CTP years ago:) ) I’m (We are) really missing that, and having Design being able to combine bitmap editing features with state-of-the-art vector tools would be BIG thing. Dum spiro, spero! I’m, sure and confident product teams are listening!

    4. Set of animation templates – something to make creating common animations easy and quick. I believe Adobe’s Flash UI supports that.

    5. Some bitmap effects for Silverlight ( I’m aware that this means some trade-off on aspect of SL plug-in size, but It sure would be nice thing to have).

    6. By all means possible – control styling and templating support for SL 2.0 in Blend 2.5. Doing things "by hand" is not my way of seeing things done quickly. I want to focus on creativity and potentials, not on hand editing of XAML (which brings us to point 1 – InteliSense…).

    So, let’s see some of these improvements we are all waiting for!


  61. Kris says:

    +1 For simplifying grid Margins, Width, MaxWidth. The MaxHeight/MaxWidth properties are collapsed even though there are only 3 properties for row and collumn! Perhaps shift-clicking any property could reset it as this is a frequent operation.

    +1 For improved databinding, maybe a design time DataContext? Being able to create your own sample data without the need for declaring the class would be helpful for prototyping.

    *The feature I would most like to see is to be able to open a style or template in its own tab. Editing styles and templates is one of the best features of blend but it seems to require far too many clicks.

    *Better support for creating/editing tile brushes, they never seem to be aligned when I use blend to create them.

    *The resources panel could be a bit more useful it could highlight unused resources, be a tree instead of a list so you can easily access a styles’ template, move a template inside/outside of a style. It could also show all the resources for a project instead of changing depending on the current file and be more of a navigation aid. When you edit a resource you could switch to the properties panel.

    *Putting edited properties above the others like some css editors do might be worth consideration or you could just emphasize the properties that have been set more.

    Thanks for reading.

  62. Kathy says:

    Please allow it to read/edit old Photodraw .mix files. There is no program to edit these, since the product was discontinued. I have thousands to convert.

  63. Kirupa (MS) says:

    Just to reiterate, thanks a lot to all of you for providing us this feedback. While we can’t publically communicate exactly which of the suggested features will be in the next version of Blend, the suggestions do help (and are currently helping!) us with our planning on the next versions of Blend and beyond πŸ™‚

  64. Previously on the blog I’ve explained how a KeySpline can be used to do animation easing . I also demonstrated

  65. Forge says:

    Bevel and Drop Shadow effects for panels, tabs, buttons, etc.

  66. Blackbox says:

    In a Solution with many projects, Blend allway expands all project folders. So you allways have to scroll a lot to find the right project in the solution explorer. it would be nice if there would be something like a "collapse all" in the soltion explorer. Also a "Filter Solution" to store custom workingset would be nice. Solutions often get big, evenen if you are working only on 2 projects inside a solution you allway see all projects inside the solution. And of course source controll integration. TFS yes, SVN hardly needet. A lot of the companies out there comming from Flash work with tools like eclipse, svn and cvs. Also a lot .net developer use svn. So open VS and expression to these source controlls. pleace. πŸ™‚

  67. Blackbox says:

    Oh and for the designers. Palettes would be greate to store custom color presets.

  68. James says:

    I would like to see some form of default ordering for properties in the XAML that Blend produces.  I do a lot more XAML coding by hand these days but the randomness that can infest Blend XAML code can be a nightmare … for instance I think Blend should always add things in a set order like:

    <Type x:Name=""







    The name first, then layout, style bindings etc …

    Source Control integration is just a prerequisite frankly, Blend NEEDS this big time.

  69. Antoni says:

    One way to think of Styles is as a collection of attributes with a specific name. In Blend, currently the Style attribute itself is tucked away under the Miscellaneous panel out of sight on the bottom of the properties panel. In my view it should be in plain sight at the top of the properties panel, allowing any designer to add a new Style for a collection of properties. The current implementation is too complicated and take too many actions and clicks. The consequence of this is that designers are not creating Styles, which results in XAML files that are not well organized or refactored. Developers getting to work in these files are not laughing. Or worse, maybe they are… Actually I do refactoring in Styles in code myself, because it is much easier that way. Please, rethink the Style implementation in Blend…

  70. Antoni says:

    I always use drag and drop text in text editors and miss it very much in the Blend Editor. Actually the contextmenu with the Cut, Copy and Paste options is also missing when I regularly routinely rightclick in the editor…


  71. Antoni says:

    Actually a [View a Fullscreen XAML] option in the Contextmenu in the Objects and Timeline panel would help. Does it look like we are editing XAML in the editor at least as much as in the Design view? We do. At least I do πŸ™‚

  72. Michael P. Schulze says:

    +1 for InteliSense in XAML

    3ds Max import (and export) for .3ds modells AND scnenes/animations. Don’t try to make a new 3d animationprogram like 3ds or Maya, just integrate them.

  73. Phil says:

    Erm … support Illustrators GradientMesh.

    then a more intelligent Editor for DataBinding .

    And for instance my Blend crashes if i like to generate a groupstyle…

  74. anony.muos says:

    XAML intellisense as an out-of-band update for current shipping v2 versions. For future versions,

    1.  Plugin architecture for Design and Blend (c’mon get creative about putting those WPF 3.5 SP1 hardware accelerated effects to use in Design!)

    2.  As someone already pointed out above, complete transparency to a code free designer friendly environment.

    3.  Let Blend take on Flash full on as a more full-featured and easy-to-animate WPF IDE (not platform/runtime features, IDE enhancements), and Design take on Photoshop and Illustrator. Please develop the v3 versions as major overhauls to permanently cement the Expression brand amongst designers and make them switch from Apple & Adobe to Microsoft. Let Expression make its own place as a killer product beside Windows, Office and Visual Studio.

  75. Sam T says:

    I second the suggestions from someone above:

    – Solution folder support

    – XAML intellisense

    Every significant app I’ve ever seen in Visual Studio uses Solution Folders…


  76. Arjan says:

    Please add the Blend designer to Visual Studio.

    As a developer I need it just like the codebehind model of  ASP.NET and Windows-forms. I don’t want to use 2 different tools on the same sourcecode. And I want to be able to work together with designers form just one environment. Keep it stupid simple please.

  77. anony.muos says:

    And why is PSD (Photoshop) import/export support not implemented as a WIC codec? Please implement PSD as a WIC codec.

  78. Atul Gupta says:

    Intellisence is a feature that most here have talked about.

    We talk about designer developer independance, but that isn’t really true. To be able to say create styles for items in ListView or ComboBox or any other control for that matter, i need to work with Data. Sometimes it means that the designer can’t design till developer has code for minimal data. Additionally, sometimes this data is only available at run time and not design time, thus making designing  more difficult.

    Would be good if Blend would come with pre-packaged set of data. 1 for Xml, 1 for object data provider, 1 for SQL etc. These could be used by designers to quickly create some of the visual styles and there should also be an easy way to discard this and replace this with actual application data

  79. David S says:

    I would like to be able to convert my Blend Project into a SharePoint Web Part.

  80. Antoni Dol says:

    Find and Mark and Delete orphaned XAML attributes for Silverlight projects:

    For Silverlight it is important to make the download as small as possible. I find that a lot of XAML code remains behind that can and should be removed before making a XAP file:









    etc. etc.

    Blend should be able to recognize, mark and delete this orphaned XAML for Silverlight projects.

  81. Rick says:

    βˆ™ Intellisense for the XAML code in Blend

    βˆ™ Ability to edit and create the code behind all within Blend and not have to switch back and forth between VS2008

    βˆ™ Add Expression Design to the MSDN Premium Subscription

    Those are my top requests an what others mentioned before me would only be a bonus if they made it into the next release.  The big thing I think is that Blend can be used in place of VS2008 and be just as good of an IDE.  Or here’s a strange idea, what if Blend was a "plug-in" inside VS2008 and integrated right inside the already beautiful IDE.  I don’t know…I’m just trying to think "outside the box".

  82. Robert Lee says:

    βˆ™ XAML code folding

    βˆ™ Intellisense for the XAML

    βˆ™ More flexible layout

    βˆ™ SVG Editor

    βˆ™ Animation preview

    βˆ™ Source control system integration


  83. Blackbox says:

    Keyboardshortcuts for Order-> Send To Back, Order-> Bring To Front etc.

  84. Walt says:


    Photoshop has plugins, Visual Studio has addins.  Please make the Expression tools extendible so that third party developers can enhance the designer-developer experience.  

  85. Alex says:

    It would be great if I could select multiple keyframes in a storyboard in an easier and faster way than holding CTRL

  86. Jack says:

    I think there desperately needs to be a way to trigger animations without having to drop back into code.

    Trying to sell SL to Flash developers when you have to tell them that while they can create storyboards for animations they can’t actually trigger or get them to run without doing coding is going to be a shock.

    The whole point of WPF was that the UI could be done by the designers without needing to explain to coders what they wanted… well some of that kind of goes out the window with SilverLight, as in Blend the designers aren’t able to trigger animations!!

  87. Pete Maher says:

    My top 3 in order are:

    1. Intellisense for XAML – I do most of my XAML editing in VS because I can then use Resharper which does a good job of this but could be better – but definitely would reduce my saving and app switching if Intellisense was built in … to at least the same standard which Jetbrains have done with Resharper & VS) – EG event handler generation etc.  Better still – do 2 and I’m sure Jetbrains will be able to support it.

    2.  An Extensibility model.

    3.  It would also be nice to be able multi-select a number of controls and take an option to "surround with" another control (typically a panel of some sort, or a border).

  88. Antoni says:

    I noticed the Completed Event is missing from the Properties panel in Blend. When I click an Animation in the Objects and Timeline panel, you do show the AutoReverse and Repeatbehavior properties. I see no reason why the Events panel in this situation is empty. The Complete Event should be showing there too..

    Now we are on the topic of Animation. I found the Tweener Transition cheat sheet and noticed that two issues keep me from using the Penner transistions in Blend:

    1. The Spline editor doesn’t allow the ControlPoints to move beyond the frame. This keeps me from setting an interpolation that is necessary for the Back and Elastic splines.

    2. The Spline editor doesn’t allow for more than two ControlPoints. This makes the creating of the Bounce and Elastic KeySplines impossible.

    I realise that with extra KeyFrames or using code it is possible to reach these result, but am wondering if these constraints could be removed to make more interesting animations easier available. They might even be coded as base interpolations in the interface…


  89. A few months ago, we asked you for feedback on what are some of the things you would like to see improved

  90. Cory Plotts says:

    I would love making it much easier to create and edit styles.

    That is, why do you have to go into the Object menu to create an empty (or edit a copy) style?

    It would be so nice if you could also place the Edit Style and Edit Other Styles menu items … alongside the menu items for ‘Edit Control Parts (Template)’ and ‘Edit Other Templates’ … that is, in the right-click popup menus on the objects in the Objects and Timeline panel.

    Just a small and useful suggestion … as I hate going to the Object menu whenever I have to create a Style.

  91. Please include Design with all MSDN subscriptions.  Or at lease allow it to be purchased by itself.

    I can download Blend and Web as part of MSDN subscription, but now need to purchase Studio just to get Design.  It would be nice if Design was also included for all MSDN subscribers.  It would help adoption.

    If we are going to end up spending the $700 we will probably end up going with Adobe because of the influence of our graphics team.

  92. Rom Impas says:

    1. 3D needs help

    – it should have a node-based schematic interface to create and assign materials like this http://www.lumonix.net/shaderfx.html

    – with the ability to assign a map/node for the following channels – diffuse(color), normal, specular level, specular color, glossiness, emissive & opacity.

    – and nodes like multiply, add, UV scaling and rotation for texture animation, etc.

    – add ability to import an HLSL fx shader for assignment to a 3D object.

    2. add a sprite-based Effects editor that designers can use to define UI states or just make really cool moving background with it.

    3. Designers can do actionscripts in Flash but asking them to write C# code for interactivity is too much. C’mon Microsoft, you’re coming at it from a developer’s perspective. put your shoes into the user who does not have a dev support.

    one design option – visual programming with nodes. Design/creative types can build the prototype by connecting various nodes & adjusting parameters. this builds a C# code in the background that a Dev person can edit later on.

    4. support for gesture-based inputs.

  93. Max Palmer says:

    I would like to see, in order of priority (for Blend)*.

    1. The ability to bind to some sample data at design time. Designing templates without this is a real pain.  This is by far my most desired feature.

    2. The ability to edit resource dictionaries and themes at the same time as viewing a control’s appearance, rather than having to switch all the time.

    3. Ability to load/switch/apply resource dictionaries from one project to other, non .exe based projects. Haven’t found an easy way to do this yet.

    4. Greater consistency between design and blend in the way they work. Sometimes it feels like they aren’t following the same script.

    5. Better file format import / export. For example XAML into design, SVG, etc.

    6. When drawing using the pen in blend, make the mouse down action place the point and while the button is held adjust the position of the control point. Also make it easy to lock the relative position of points to fixed angle increments by holding a modifier key (like holding shift does in design?).

    7. Better intellisense for xaml.

    8. Path offsetting. However, having just spent the past few weeks working on this in my spare time, I can say it’s not easy!

    9. Make drawing curves work like Xara X.  IMHO it’s so natural and other packages just seem to miss the point completely.

    Other wishes.

    9. Make it possible to buy the products separately – e.g. blend on it’s own. I feel like I’m being fleeced.

    10. Express versions?

    Any plans for Office 14 to support the import of vector formats other than the evil WMF/EMF? Please. This is a coding nightmare for us. Anyone down the corridor you can pass this hint onto?

    * Of course, there is always the possibility I may have missed something since I am relatively new to blend.

  94. Max Palmer says:

    Oh, while I’m thinking about grips, there is one other thing I would really like to see changed in XAML / WPF.

    1. Make it possible to override the default style of common controls, but *scope* where/when the new default style should be used. Restyling things like the default border causes so much havok in other controls like the groupbox that we’ve backed off and forced our users to have to apply a chosen default style manually each time.

    This is generally a pain if your new default style is slightly more radical than the standard Windows style. For example, switching to white on black from the default black on white for text.

  95. Antoni says:

    I just discovered that while drawing Path Shapes in Blend the Contol key does not switch to the Direct Tool while pressed. This is standard behavior that even Expression Design exhibits (along with other industry standard tools :). Please add this feature in Blend to make drawing Vector shapes more intuitive and give us more control over the Path that is being created.

  96. Bill says:

    Ability to create an inner bevel in Blend, possibly after clipping…

  97. Antoni says:

    I realized that ther’s a red line around the artboard for Timeline recording and with the State manager now also for State Recording. What about a green line around the artboard when you are "recording" a Style. When you click the Color Palette Icon in the breadcrumb bar, you are in a Style Recording mode, aren’t you? A visual indication of this using the green that is used for styles and resources, would be a great!

  98. Antoinette van Oeffel says:

    I would very much like to see XAML import incorporated into Expression Design.  To import objects and brush resources in Design.

  99. Johan says:

    Better support for the Adobe Suite

  100. Tucker says:

    I’d really like to be able to use custom strokes created in Design to be available in the strokes brush in Blend. Better yet would be the ability to create custom strokes (bitmap or vector) in Blend.


  101. Don Wesley says:

    I’m in Redmond, WA (Redwest campus).

    Where can I get one-on-one help from someone who knows their way around Blend?  

    I have work stoppages in so many directions at this point and things are not intuitive from Design to Blend.

  102. Robert Biggs says:

    In Blend I’d like to be able to format the xaml. It’s a pain to do a bunch of messy coding in Blend for hours and constantly opening it up in VS to format it so that it looks proper and isn’t messy looking. Make that also able to format a selection as well. Blend ought to have a more simplified mode for the purely design phase when all the more developer kind of stuff is hidden so that a design and more easily concentrate on designing. All of our designers feel terribly challenged trying to design in Blend. Oh, and add some way to save out a png or something to show clients. It’s a real pain grabbing screenshots to show clients how parts of a Blend project looks.

    Fix the color shift from Design to Blend!!! It’s awful when designers create stuff in Design and freak when the see the color shift after importing it into Blend, requiring them to rework all the colors.

    Fix the xaml export! The xaml Design creates is useless unless it’s a simple graphic that you want as a path. We use grids, stackpanels, etc, not canvases. And text, why does Design insist in making every letter of text into a run??? Did you ever have to extra letter by letter multiple paragraphs of text out of runs wrapping every individual letters. Not fun.

    The Visual State Manager could use some improvement. In the older implementation of triggers it was easy to add a trigger to anything to make it interactive. I haven’t out, or it’s not readily apparent, how to add states to make xaml that is not a control behave interactively with the new Visual State manager.

  103. Ricardo Fiel says:

    In Blend:

    – XAML intellisense

    – Solution folders support

    – Remember expanded/collapsed projects

    – Ability to ignore a project without having to remove it from solution (eg: a visual studio test project will make it impossible for the designers to work on the solution)


  104. Ricardo Fiel says:

    Also, forgot to mention:

    – Express version of Blend

  105. Hi everyone, After a bit of a break, we are currently getting the next preview of Deep Zoom Composer

  106. Nicolae Garlonta says:

    Features in Blend:

    – XAML editor intellisense

    – Adorners support (respectively VS Studio like extensibility support)

    – Plugin architecture

    – The possibility to LINK a source code file to the project, without the worrying that this will be locally copied at compile time

  107. Stanley Max says:

    Dear Expression Design team,

    I am just learning Microsoft Expression Design.  I really like it.  I think that it could fully replace Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw, and in some respects it may also supplant the great Microsoft product, Visio.

    However, I have one serious issue — and that is the fact that Expression Design does not support WMF files.

    I use MathType, and I need to be able to import the equations from MathType.  GIF files are not an option, because they get rasterized and thus are not presentable when enlarged.  Also, EPS files are inconvenient to use (and in any case Expression Design does not support EPS).  I only wish that Expression Design supported WMF.  This would be tremendously helpful to me.

    Thank you for listening.


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