The purpose of this study was to investigate the design and use of graphical retrieval tools of Chinese multimedia database. In addition, the study also sought to identify and integrate guidelines that software designer could use to design graphical retrieval tools for Chinese multimedia database environments. Major questions investigated in this study were: 1. Which graphical retrieval tools were provided in Chinese multimedia database? 2. How graphical retrieval tools were used in Chinese multimedia database by the users? 3. Which basic graphical retrieval tools should be provided in Chinese multimedia database? and 4. How graphical retrieval tools were designed in Chinese multimedia database by the designers? First, information relevant to information space, graphical user interface, graphical retrieval tool, and information explorative performance were integrated from an analysis of the literature. Then, according to Chinese multimedia database standard three software were selected and analyzed. Designers and users were interviewed for understanding of the design process and for developing the guidelines of graphical retrieval tools. Users in this study were undergraduate and graduate students from the department of Educational Media and Library Sciences at Tamkang University. The results revealed that multimedia database designers seldem applied designing principles from literature but mostly by personal experiences. Most users had problems in recognizing and manipulating the graphical retrieval tools. In depth analysis of the content and user past retrieval experience were suggested for designing graphical retrieval tools.