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3. Basic concepts

This chapter explains the basic concepts for working with think-cell elements.

Toolbar and "Items" menu
Insert elements
Rotate and mirror elements
Change the size of elements
Select elements and features
Formatting and styles

3.1 Toolbar and "Elements" menu

After installing think-cell, you will find the following group on the Insert tab in the PowerPoint ribbon:

In the following, the ribbon group is called think-cell toolbar designated. Most of think-cell's functions can be accessed via the think-cell toolbar.

Note: Furthermore, in the following with Elements button always meant both the Elements button in PowerPoint and the Charts button in Excel.

After clicking the Elements button, the symbols in the first two lines represent basic elements for process flows (see Process Flow), some helpful drawing objects (see Presentation Tools) and agenda slides (see Agenda), while the other two lines contain symbols for diagram types (see Introduction to Diagrams).

The following elements are available:

In addition, universal connectors are available that you can use to connect the elements to one another (for more information, see universal connectors).

Finally, under More you will find other useful tools (see Presentation tools) that make daily work with PowerPoint easier.

3.2 Insert elements

Inserting an element into your presentation is similar to inserting an ordinary PowerPoint shape. To create a new element on a slide, click the Elements button on the think-cell toolbar. Then select the item you want. Some elements are surrounded by small arrow marks. You can select rotated or mirrored variants of these elements by moving the mouse over the markings.

If you accidentally select some items, you can always do the following:

  • Press to cancel the paste operation.
  • Click the Elements button again to select a different element.

When you have selected an item, a rectangle appears next to the cursor indicating where the item will be inserted on the slide. When placing the element on the slide, you have two options:

  • Click the left mouse button to place the element with the specified width and height.
  • If you press and hold the left mouse button, you can create an element of custom size. However, some elements have a fixed width so that you can only change the height. You can also change the size of the element later.

When you insert an element or change its size, the mouse pointer snaps into place.

The locking function offers the following advantages:

  • Objects can be aligned quickly and easily. If the edge of another object is marked on the slide, it means that the element you were moving is currently aligned with that object.
  • When changing the size, some elements snap to an automatically determined and predefined preferred size. For example, for column charts, the preferred width depends on the number of columns. If you've manually resized an element, you can easily reset it to the default width. It will snap into place when you get close enough to the default value while using the mouse to adjust the width.

As in PowerPoint, you can hold down the key to move the mouse pointer without snapping it.

3.3 Rotating and mirroring elements

In the Elements menu, the symbols for pentagon / angle, stacked and grouped diagrams as well as 100%, line, area, waterfall and Mekko diagrams are surrounded by small arrow markings. You can use these arrow markings to insert inverted (and possibly rotated) variants of these elements.

Most elements can also be rotated using rotation handles after they have been inserted. To do this, simply click on the element and drag the rotary handle to the desired position: Left-click on the rotary handle, hold the mouse button down and drag the handle to one of the four possible positions highlighted in red. Then release the mouse button.

3.4 Changing the size of elements

When an item is selected, resizing handles appear at the corners and in the middle of the boundary lines. Drag one of these handles to adjust the size of the element.

You can also assign the same width or height to two or more elements. This works even if your selection contains PowerPoint shapes. First select all objects to which you want to assign the same height or width (see multiple selection). Then open the context menu of one of the items in the selection and choose the Same Height or Same Width option. This will resize all selected objects to the same height or width.

The size or width of all elements is set to the size or width of the largest single element.

3.5 Select elements and features

think-cell elements often contain individually selectable components that are saved as Features are designated. For example, a chart element consists of segments that correspond to the values ​​in the data sheet and can also contain labels, axes, difference arrows, connectors, and so on.

You can identify features by the orange frame that appears when you hover over a feature. When you click a feature, the frame turns blue to highlight the selected feature. A floating toolbar may also appear. This toolbar contains a selection that allows you to specify how the feature is displayed. It is advisable to examine newly inserted elements with the mouse in order to get an overview of the features and their properties.

Right-clicking a feature displays the feature's context menu. Use the context menu to add additional features to the element or remove currently visible features.

Buttons for functions that are not available for the current selection are grayed out. By right-clicking on the background of the element, you can bring up the context menu of the entire element.

Features always belong to their respective element and can themselves have further subordinate features. For example, the vertical axis of a line chart is a feature of the chart itself, while the tick marks are features of the axis. Therefore, you must use the chart's context menu to toggle the vertical axis on and off, while the tick marks are enabled and disabled using the axis context menu.

There are several ways to remove a feature:

  • Select the feature by left-clicking on it. Then press the or key on the keyboard.
  • Right-click the feature to open the think-cell context menu. Then click the Delete button to remove the feature from the element.
  • Open the think-cell context menu that you used when adding the feature. Click the same button again to remove the feature.

Note: Data segments cannot be removed from a chart element in this way. All displayed data segments are controlled by the internal data sheet. If you delete a cell of the internal data sheet, the corresponding data segment is removed from the diagram element.

Note: Buttons that switch features such as series labels on and off in a diagram change depending on the current status. If you enabled the Add Series Labels button to add series labels to a chart element, the button changes to Remove Series Labels. The following shows the state of the button for adding the feature.

Detailed information on the available features can be found in the following chapters when describing the respective elements in which the features can be used.

3.5.1 Multiple selection

You can quickly select a number of features that go together. This is called logical multiple choice designated. Multi-selection works the same way as selecting files in Microsoft Windows Explorer: select the first feature of the desired area by left-clicking it once. Hold down the key and click the last feature in the range. If you move the mouse pointer while holding down the key, the feature area to be selected is highlighted in orange.

To add or remove individual features from the selection, press and hold the key while clicking. This process works in the same way as with multiple selection of files in Microsoft Windows Explorer.

You can also use the keyboard to select an entire area. Select an item with a single left click and press +. All elements that could have been included in an area along with the selected element are also selected.

Logical multiple selections are particularly useful when you want to colorize an entire series of data in a chart element or change the formatting of a number of labels. You can even use multiple selection to paste text into multiple labels at the same time (see Paste text into multiple labels).

3.5.2 Keyboard navigation

In many cases, it is not necessary to move the mouse pointer to select other objects on a slide. Instead, you can press and hold the key and use the arrow keys to select another object.

  • If a PowerPoint shape or a think-cell element is selected, pressing and one of the arrow keys will automatically select the next shape in the direction of the arrow.
  • When the feature of an element is selected, pressing and one of the arrow keys automatically selects the next feature of the same type in the element.

Note, however, that this way the focus can only be moved between features of the same element. To select the feature of another element, you must use the mouse pointer.

3.5.3 Move

When editing slides in an enlarged view (e.g. 400%), it is often a hassle to move the view to the area of ​​the slide that you want to edit next. With think-cell installed, you can use the middle mouse button to move the slide: just move the mouse pointer over the slide, middle click and move it to the section you want.

If your mouse has a wheel instead of a middle button, you can achieve the same result by pressing down on the wheel without moving it.

Note: You know for sure that you can zoom in and out in PowerPoint by holding down the key and turning the mouse wheel. In combination with think-cell's pan function, using enlarged views when editing slides is child's play.

3.6 Formatting and templates

When you select an element or feature by clicking on it, a floating toolbar displayed. This contains a selection that you can use to adjust the display of the feature. Only those controls that are available for the selected feature are displayed in the floating toolbar.

This chapter describes several general types of controls. The following chapters contain detailed information on the selection in the floating toolbar in connection with the special element and feature types.

3.6.1 Color and Fill

The color control is available for all features that have a fill color and for lines in line charts. The setting does not apply to text, as the color and background color of text are always set automatically.

If you have activated the Use Excel fill option in the color scheme control (see Color scheme), the entry As Excel cell is displayed in the list. Select the Like Excel cell entry if you want to reset the fill color of a segment with a manually specified color and use the cell formatting from Excel.

If you need colors other than those included in the color control, select Custom from the drop-down box. A color picker dialog box will appear, from which you can choose any color you want.

Note: If you want to use a color other than black or white, make sure that the brightness slider (on the right side of the dialog box) is not set to minimum or maximum. As you move the slider up or down, you can watch the color change in the color swatch at the bottom of the dialog box.

For quick access, think-cell automatically adds the last used custom colors to the color control. A dividing line appears in the list of recently used colors. The colors above the dividing line are saved in the presentation so that your colleagues can also use these colors when editing the presentation. The colors below the dividing line are only available on your computer because you used them in another presentation. Both areas can contain up to eight colors. If you use a ninth custom color, the first color is removed from the list.

You should use the color control to highlight a specific segment or series on a chart. If you want to colorize the entire chart, you should use the Color Scheme control instead.

3.6.2 Color scheme

You can use the color scheme control to assign a uniform color scheme to all segments of a diagram. The first series uses the first color in the color scheme, the second series uses the second color, and so on. The color scheme is automatically updated when a series is added or removed. For more information, see Change the default colors and fonts.

If you activate the Use Excel fill option, think-cell uses the colors used when formatting cells in Excel for presentation in PowerPoint. This is especially useful when you want to control the coloring of a linked chart from the Excel data source. For example, you can use Conditional Formatting to display positive values ​​in green and negative values ​​in red.

If you have activated the Use Excel fill option and no fill color was specified when formatting the Excel cell belonging to a data segment, a suitable color from the current color scheme is used. This means that the fill color from Excel is overlaid on the color scheme.

Note: Setting the fill color of a segment based on cell formatting in Excel will not work if you use conditional formatting rules in Excel and those rules contain functions or references to other cells.

3.6.3 Sort segment

The segment sort control can be used to arrange the segments of a chart in a specific order. The default setting, Segments in Worksheet Order, arranges the segments in the same order in which they are arranged in the datasheet. If you select the Segments in Reverse Worksheet Order option, the last series in the data sheet is shown at the top of the chart and the first series in the data sheet is shown at the bottom of the chart.

think-cell can also sort the segments in a category based on their values. Segments in Descending Order: Selecting this option sorts all categories so that the largest segment of each category is displayed on the baseline and the other segments are sorted in descending order. Conversely, if segments in ascending order is selected, the segments with the smallest numeric value on the baseline are displayed. The sorting causes segments of the same data series with the same color in different categories to be displayed in different positions.

3.6.4 Sort category

The category sort control can be used to arrange the categories on a chart in a specific order. The default, Categories in Worksheet Order, arranges the categories in the same order that they are arranged in the datasheet. Categories according to descending Y-dimension: If you select this option, the category with the largest sum of the values ​​is displayed first. The other categories are sorted in descending order. Categories according to ascending Y expansion: If you select this option, the category with the smallest sum of the values ​​is displayed first. The other categories are sorted in ascending order.

3.6.5 Chart type

The Chart Type control toggles to another chart type and displays the same data. You can switch between stacked, grouped, area, and line charts. To switch to a 100% diagram, you would have to set the axis type to% (see Changing the Value Axis Type).

3.6.6 Line design

The line style control is available for the outline of the segments of column, bar and pie charts, primitives, agenda chapters, lines in line charts, as well as for the baseline of a chart and for value lines (see value line). In addition, you can use this control element to change the display of a connector and define the outline of the base area for all diagrams.

3.6.7 Outline colors

This control allows you to change the color of an outline. This works for column, bar, and pie charts, as well as primitives and agenda chapters.

3.6.8 Line scheme

You can use the line scheme control to control how lines appear in line charts. The supported line schemes allow consistent line styles and colors to be assigned to all lines included in the diagram. You can also choose line schemes that highlight the data points along lines with markers.

3.6.9 Shape of the marking

The marker style control can be used to add or change markers for data points in line and scatter charts. Note that instead of using the Marker Style control, it is better to use the Marker Scheme control to add consistent markers for all data points on a scatter plot.

3.6.10 Marking scheme

The "Marking Scheme" control allows you to assign uniform markings to data points in point diagrams. The markers are automatically updated when data points, groups or series are added or removed. The marker scheme control should be used in preference to the marker style control when adding consistent markers throughout the scatter plot.

3.6.11 Change standard colors and fonts

think-cell can use the colors of the PowerPoint color scheme for many elements and features (axes, text, arrows, etc.). These colors, like the font definitions, are always based on the standard colors and fonts of your presentation. If the defaults are properly set, think-cell will seamlessly apply any changes if you choose a different color scheme.

If you'd like to customize the default font settings, just change the slide master of your presentation:

  1. Open the View tab in the ribbon.
  2. In the Master Views group, click Slide Master.
  3. In the left pane that shows the slide master and the various indented layouts, select the slide master. Notice that when you open Slide Master View, the layout type of the current slide is selected. So you need to scroll up and select the slide master without indentations.
  4. Adapt the fonts of the body text placeholder to the company specifications (corporate design).

To change the standard color setting, simply change the color scheme of your presentation by setting the colors in the color scheme settings so that they match your company design.

For Office 2010:

  1. On the ribbon, go to the Design tab.
  2. In the Themes group, click Colors.
  3. In the drop-down list, select the entry Create new design colors….

For Office 2013 and higher:

  1. On the ribbon, go to the Design tab.
  2. In the Variants group, click the downward-facing button in the lower-right corner.
  3. First select Colors from the drop-down list and then choose Customize Colors ...

It is generally recommended to save these standard settings in a PowerPoint template file (* .POTX) and to create all new presentations based on this template file. Please refer to the PowerPoint Help for more information.

If you cannot change your template as described here, you can also specify default font colors using a think-cell style, as can be customized in think-cell. described. The specific settings for font colors are described in Adjusting Text Properties. It is preferable to adjust the default font settings in the PowerPoint template and a think-cell style should only be used as a last resort for this purpose.