Using object handles in Expression Blend

This article describe how to use object handles in Expression Blend

Whenyou create a shape, path, control or layout panel, it's enclosed with eight object handles, as shown in Figure 1. I will be describing you howto use them to handle object.

When you create an object or path, the object handles do not show, only the nodes show. To make the object handles visible, select the path by clicking the Selection tool in the Toolbox.


Figure 1: Showing Eight object handles

Below is the list of ways you can handle object or path to transform its shape:

  • Resize or scale an object

Resizing and scaling are two different ways in Microsoft Expression Blend to change the size of an object:


Resizingan object changes only the object's dimensions (width and height). For example, when you resize an object that has a specific stroke thickness,the stroke thickness stays the same when the object resizes.

To resize the object select the object with Selection tool. To change the width and height of the object you have to move the mouse to the object height and width respectively. The below figure show the horizontal arrow which allows to change the width of the object and vertical arrow to change the height of the object,


Figure 2: Showing how to change the object width and height


Scalingapplies a transform to the object that resizes the object based on a multiple of the initial X, Y, and Z (three-dimensional objects only) values. For example, when you scale an object that has a specific strokethickness, the stroke thickness scales when the object scales. This means that if you scale the object only by its x-axis value (the object's width), the stroke thickness for the width of the object will differ from the stroke thickness for the object's height (y-axis).

Toscale the object move your mouse to the any corner of the object. You can drag from any corner to change the scaling of the object. See the figure below


Figure 3: Showing how to scale the object from corners

Note:Hold down the SHIFT key to constrain the object's proportions as you resize it. Hold down the ALT key to maintain the center point.

  • Rotate the object

To rotate the object select the object you want to rotate with the Selection tool. If you want to select more than one object press Ctrl key and select the objects.

To rotate the object bring the cursor to any corner of the object and shown in the below figure, rotate the object at desired angle you want. For precision you can use Properties panel and enter value numerically.


Figure 4: Showing how to rotate the object

  • Change the center point of an object

When you rotate or flip anobject in Microsoft Expression Blend, the object moves relative to a fixed point, called the object's center point. When you select an object, the object's center point is marked by a white circle in the object on the artboard. By default, an object's center point is located at the object's center. You can move an object's center point in order to rotate or flip the object around a different point.

Move the mouse over the small round point in the center of the object. This is called the center of rotation. When the cursor becomes four arrows pointing up, down, right and left, click and drag the center of rotationto the desired location of your choice.


Figure 5: Showing how to relocate the center of rotation of the object

  • Adjust the corner handles of a rectangle

To make the corner of the rectangle round, click and drag a corner handle to curve the corners of arectangle. For precision you can use Appearance palette and enter valuenumerically to have round corners.


Figure 6: Showing how to rotate the object

  • Skew the shape or path

Skewing (or shearing) is atransformation that distorts an object by a specified angle from an axis. For example, when you skew a square, it becomes a parallelogram.

Movethe mouse to the middle object handle and when the cursor becomes a double arrow with a slanted line than drag to skew the object or shape. You can use any side to skew the object


Figure 7:
Showing how to skew the object

Note:In the transform palette in the Properties panel, you can also perform all of the above transformation except the adjusting corner handles. Youcan use the Appearance palette for that.


Hopethe article would have helped you in understanding how to use object handles in Expression Blend. I will be contributing more articles to make your Expression Blend learning easy and interesting. Have Fun whileyou learn.