You can download the free version of SkinStudio from http://www.skinstudio.net/. This site also provides links to acquire SkinStudio Standard and SkinStudio Professional.
The WindowBlinds skinning language uses an .ini file format. Many .ini files are used by Windows. These are text files that are divided into different subsections and provide a list of directives to the operating system. You can edit .ini files in a text editor.
The free version downloads as an executable file named skinstudio_free.exe. To install the software on your computer, double-click the file and follow the screen prompts.
After you have installed SkinStudio, you can start the software. Select Start, All Programs, Object Desktop, SkinStudio. The initial SkinStudio screen (see Figure 9.1) asks whether you want to create a new visual style, open a visual style, or import an existing msstyle file (the professional version of SkinStudio also provides an option for creating a Windows Media Player skin).
Figure 9.1. SkinStudio's opening screen.
Download and install WindowBlinds (the trial or play version, or the entire Object Desktop). You need WindowBlinds to test your SkinStudio visual styles.
Because you want to see the SkinStudio interface, select Visual Style. The Enter a New Name dialog box opens. Type a new name for the new style. You also have the option of selecting the file format for the new visual style, such as Universal Skin Format (USF), UIS1+, or UIS2. The USF file format provides the most flexibility in terms of creating a single skin that can be applied across several applications. So, let's use the default.
Click OK. The SkinStudio application window opens.