What's new in think-cell

Continuous improvement

think-cell's subscription-based licensing model allows us to continuously improve our software with no additional costs for our customers. We regularly release free updates that contain great new features besides the usual improvements in stability and speed. This way think-cell becomes more powerful, more efficient and above all easier to use. On this page we would like to take you on a short journey through the version history of our software.

How to update

think-cell 11 is available to all existing customers at no additional costs. It is also available as a full-featured free trial.

think-cell 12

Scatter chart partition fills

You can directly select individual partitions in scatter and bubble charts. This makes it easy to give each partition a different fill color, if desired. Previously, you selected a partition line to choose the fill color to only one side of the line.

Scatter chart with one partition selected to choose the fill color

To create a chart with four partition fills:

  1. Create a scatter chart as usual
  2. Add two partition lines that intersect
  3. Move the mouse pointer into one of the partitions, which will highlight in orange as a selection target
  4. Select the partition and choose a fill color
  5. Repeat for the other partitions.

This also works for areas bounded by non-linear trendlines!

Rotated line charts

Rotated line chart

You can create rotated line charts, also known as profile charts, in the same way as rotated stacked or clustered charts.

Similarly, for a rotated stacked or clustered chart you can use the chart type control to change the chart type to line, keeping the rotation.

Football field charts

Using a rotated line chart and error bars, you can create football fields. They can be used to visualize the low and high values for an item and the spread between them.

Football field chart with low and high values and the spread between them shown as a bar

To create a football field chart:

  1. Create a rotated line chart.
  2. Enter the low and high values in the data sheet. Football field chart data sheet
  1. Select both the lines for low and high values.
  2. Right-click and choose Add Error Bars from think-cell's context menu.
  3. Select one error bar and format both the bar and data points for low and high values as desired. You would typically switch to a thick error bar, e.g., 6pt in football field charts.
  4. Right-click the chart background and select Add Gridlines from the context menu. To style all of them, select any one of them and press Ctrl+A to select all. You can then choose formatting options from the floating toolbar, such as a lighter color.
  5. Drag the value axis upwards, so that the first bar is not on top of it.

More powerful tables linked to Excel

You can now link Harvey balls, checkboxes, and even images to data in an Excel cell. For example, you can include columns of Harvey balls, checkboxes and images in a think-cell table and control their state through the data sheet.

Moreover, you can automatically use the outline and fill settings from Excel.

Let's say you already have a think-cell table with the following datasheet, using text labels in the columns for level and status:

Excel table with three columns, using text labels for level and status and fills and borders for highlighting.
  1. On the slide, select the body table cells for levels, three cells in total Table with three columns, using labels for level and status, with three cells selected
  2. In the floating toolbar, choose Harvey Ball from the cell content control and "Like Excel Cell" as fill color. Table content control, mouse hovering over Harvey Ball The levels will now be shown as Harvey balls, with the Excel cell content determining the completion state and Excel cell fill determining the background color.
  1. For the table cells for status, choose Checkbox in the cell content control and activate Use Excel Cell Border. The status will now be shown as checkboxes, with content determined by the Excel cell. In the Excel cell, use v, o or 1 for “check”; x or 2 for “cross”; Space or 0 for an unchecked box. Moreover, the border lines of all cells in the table are now controlled by those set in Excel.

Your table now looks like this:

Table with three columns, using Harvey balls and Checkboxes for level and status, and cell highlighting

Now let's say you would also like to use some stock images as a second column to illustrate the Fruit categories:

  1. Open the datasheet of the table by double-clicking it. Select a cell in the third column and click Insert Column. In the newly added second column, place the links to the images into the cell next to the name of the corresponding fruit.
  2. Select the cells on the slide and choose Picture from Online Service in the cell content control.

The links to the images will be replaced with the actual images. Now you can format your table as usual, making your end result look something like this:

Table with four columns, images in the second column, using Harvey balls for level and checkboxes for status

You can also link tables to data in Excel files, of course. Using think-cell to create dashboards from your models, including all the features of the Excel link like versioning and automatic updates, just became much more powerful.

Note: All cells of a think-cell table are now grouped by default. This means that when you select one of them and delete it, the whole table will be deleted.

Option to lock positions by default for tables, text boxes and other elements

think-cell tables, text boxes and other elements are automatically resized and positioned. This advanced automation can be a great time-saver, but is also quite different from PowerPoint's standard mode. A new option allows you to have the best of both worlds, getting access to think-cell's new elements while controlling size and position yourself.

Lock Positions by Default option

When Lock Positions by Default is active, think-cell elements that you add have all locks closed. Table with all locks closed

  • To move the element, select the whole table and drag it. It will keep its size and the locks will be moved to the new postions.
  • To resize, drag the respective lock. For example, to make the element wider, drag the right lock.

New, fully customizable think-cell Ribbon

New default think-cell 12 Ribbon tab

think-cell now comes with its own Ribbon tab, as well as multiple additional groups in PowerPoint's ordinary Ribbon tabs, giving you all of its functionality at your fingertips exactly when you need it. But this is just a starting point: We have made every single think-cell feature, down to individual chart types, available for Ribbon customization.

Let's say you find yourself using Waterfall, Combination and Pie charts particularly frequently and want to access them directly from the Insert tab in the Ribbon.

think-cell group on the left, custom group Favorite charts on the right, containing Waterfall, Combination and Pie charts


  1. Go to FileOptionsCustomize Ribbon.
  2. In the list on the right select Insertthink-cell, click New Group and Rename… it to "Favorite Charts".
  3. On the left, select All Tabs from the Choose commands from: dropdown menu, and go to Main Tabsthink-cell Commandsthink-cell Commands.
  4. Find Waterfall chart icon Waterfall in the list and click Add > >. Repeat for Combination and Pie.

Grouping think-cell elements

You can now group think-cell elements so that they move and resize together, as with ordinary PowerPoint elements.

Let's say you have created a Stacked column chart from an Excel sheet and added a legend as well as a data table to it whose body is aligned vertically with the sides of the chart, as described in Creating a table from Excel.

To make sure that these elements move and resize as one, keeping the alignment intact, select all of them, for example by dragging a selection frame around them, and then press Ctrl+G or click HomeDrawingArrangeGroup.

That elements belong to the same group is indicated by a thin orange line around all of them in addition to the thick orange selection preview when hovering over any of them, or a thin blue outline in addition to the thick blue outline around the selected element.

Stacked column chart grouped with a legend and a table

Option to align center/align middle for all think-cell layout elements

You can now align the horizontal (Align Objects Center) or vertical (Align Objects Middle) center of a think-cell layout element, or a group of think-cell layout elements with one another, or with the slide.

Just as with other alignments between think-cell's smart layout elements, and in contrast to PowerPoint's native alignment options, this relationship will be maintained even when something causes the slide layout to change, like entering text that forces a table cell to become larger, or adding additional chapters to an agenda. In this case, the element will grow symmetrically around the fixed center axis.

Let's say you want to have a stock image of a fixed size on your agenda slide that is always aligned vertically with the middle of the table of contents, and have the table of contents itself always placed in the center of the slide horizontally. You can now easily achieve this as follows:

  1. Insert an agenda slide into your presentation by selecting Chapter from the think-cell Elements menu.
  2. Insert the desired stock image by selecting it in the ElementsStock Image and clicking on the slide to the left of the agenda table of contents to insert it.
  3. Select the table of contents by clicking its border, so that the locks are shown, and click Home → Drawing → Arrange → Align → Align Center. A red line with a closed lock will appear in the middle of the table of contents.

A think-cell table of contents aligned to the center of the slide

  1. Multi-select the image and the table of contents (e.g. by holding Ctrl and clicking both). Click Home → Drawing → Arrange → Align → Align Middle. A grey line connecting the middle of both elements will appear, indicating that they are aligned with each other around that position.
  2. The alignment lines of an image and a table of contents aligned at their middle
  3. Select the image and, holding Ctrl drag one of its resize handles to fix its desired size.
Now you can add chapters, subchapters, etc. to your agenda as usual, and think-cell will automatically take care that the desired relation between slide, table of contents, and image is maintained.

Additional features

You can now customize the appearance of the Gantt chart using the new <gantt> element in the style file: From setting default background fills for different elements over fine-grained control over the properties of every single kind of line in the chart to new choices for the look of the date scale.

think-cell now supports Windows on ARM! This means you can now use it on your Microsoft Surface Pro X, for example.

You can now remove the X-axis/baseline of any chart. Simply right-click the axis and click the image Delete button, or left-click the axis to select it and press the Del key. To add it back in, right-click a highlighted segment of the X-axis area, and select  Add Axis Line. A column chart without a baseline

think-cell has expanded its cleaning and sanitization options, to help you prevent leakage of sensitive internal or client data, and has bundled them into a single Clean Up... dialog. For example, think-cell can remove all Comments and Presentation Notes, as well as any unused Slide Masters and Layouts embedded in the presentation. It can also automatically replace all numbers contained in the presentation with random ones. The same functionality is available when using think-cell's Send/Save Slides... dialog.

think-cell 11

Our CEO Markus Hannebauer walks you through the most important new features of think-cell 11 in the following short video. See below for further details.

Linked data tables

You can create linked data tables in PowerPoint from data ranges in Excel.

Chart and data table, both linked to Excel data

To create both a chart and a data table:

  1. Create a linked chart as usual
  2. In Excel, select just the series labels and numbers
  3. Choose Table from think-cell's Elements button in Excel
  4. Place the data table on the slide and restrict its position as desired with the locks, e.g., to be below and aligned with the chart.

Updating the linked table works exactly the same as updating the chart. You can even set it to update automatically whenever the data changes in Excel. See Table to learn more.

Image element and inserting stock photos

You can convert bitmap image shapes to think-cell elements by selecting the image and choosing Convert images to think-cell in the ≡ menu. think-cell will take the image into account when automatically positioning smart text boxes, process flows and tables.

Convert image to think-cell menu item

Using the Stock Image button in the Elements menu, you can directly insert a stock photo that will be part of the automatic slide layout. On first use you need to enter your Getty credentials, or you can use free images from Unsplash. See Images to learn more.

Insert Stock Photo menu item

Data connector for Tableau

You can connect a view on a Tableau dashboard with a PowerPoint chart using think-cell. See Tableau data to learn more.

  1. Open a Tableau dashboard in Chrome.
  2. Click the icon of the think-cell extension:

    think-cell Chrome extension icon
  3. The different views on your dashboard are detected and shaded in green when the mouse pointer is over them. Click one.

    Select view on Tableau dashboard
  4. A new tab is opened with the view's data. Pick the chart type you want to create.

    Pick think-cell chart type
  1. Assign columns to the parts of the think-cell data sheet pertinent to the chosen chart type, i.e., for a stacked chart, categories, series and values.

    Assign Tableau data columns to think-cell data sheet parts
  2. Click Create to create a think-cell chart in PowerPoint.

    think-cell chart from Tableau data

think-cell remembers the connection to the Tableau data! Clicking on the datasheet button of the chart in PowerPoint will open the tab with the view's data in Chrome. There, you can click on Update to transmit updated data to PowerPoint. You can also start the data update from think-cell's Data Links dialog:

Category labels on top of a chart

Text fields linked to Excel

You can insert a text field that is linked to a cell in Excel into any think-cell label or PowerPoint text box.

  1. In Excel, select the cell with the content you wish to link to
  2. In PowerPoint, place the cursor in a label or text box
  3. Choose Text Field Linked to Excel from think-cell's Elements button in Excel

The contents of the linked text field always updates automatically when the cell contents in Excel changes.

Changes to the user interface for Same Scale

The Same Scale functionality is improved and more flexible. It was necessary to move the button to access it. The Same Scale button is not shown anymore when two or more whole charts are selected. Instead, select the parts you want to scale the same in both charts:

  • two segments, one in each chart
  • two axes, one in each chart
  • two gridlines, one in each chart
  • two data points, one in each chart
Applying same scale after selecting two gridlines

You can also mix and match, i.e., for a line and a column chart, you would select a data point in the line chart and a segment in the column chart.

As before, you then right-click and choose Same Scale from the contextual menu. And also as before, you can set more than two charts to the same scale. Just select, e.g., one segment in each chart and apply Same Scale. See below for another example, this time using two segments, in two charts:

Applying same scale after selecting two segments

To revert to automatic scaling, select a segment, axis, gridline or data point and choose Reset to Automatic Scale from the contextual menu.

Additional features

Ctrl+A is much more powerful now. Hit it repeatedly to automatically select ever larger sets: all labels of one series, then for all series, then all labels in the chart. Same for all segments of one series, then all segments in the chart, then even all segments across all charts on the same slide. As the next formatting change you make will be applied across the whole selection, this makes wide-ranging changes very fast.

You can move category labels to the top of the chart, without flipping the chart itself.

Category labels on top of a chart

Do you have a multi-level agenda with too many sub-items to always show everything? You can now hide all chapters of a certain type. For example, select a third-level agenda item, right-click and choose Hide this and similar chapters. The currently active chapter can not be hidden, of course. To go back, select the whole agenda and choose Show all chapters and subchapters from its context menu. (learn more)

Agenda with button to hide all chapters of a type

Chart scaling is adjustable even without a visible axis by selecting a segment, data point or gridline and using the usual axis handles.

Chart with axis handles without a visible axis

Support for right-to-left charts for use with right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. When you change the language, all existing charts are switched to right-to-left automatically and vice versa.

Gantt chart in Hebrew going from right to left

Specify fill colors directly in JSON:


In the Gantt chart, you can set a fiscal year that is different from the calendar year. In a style file, include the following snippet for a fiscal year that ends in September. Q1 of the next year would start with October:

    <end month="sep"/> 

think-cell 10

Now on macOS

After several years of development, we have achieved what no other company has done before – we have ported a complex Windows Office add-in to Office for Mac without sacrificing functionality! Your license for think-cell on Windows is also valid for macOS. think-cell 10 works with Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac version 16.9 or later, running on OS X Yosemite (10.10) or later.

With think-cell 10, you can now choose your favorite working environment and have the same great user experience. The interface is exactly the same and all features are available.

User Interface

With think-cell now branching across multiple platforms we took the opportunity to refresh the user interface. Icons in the Elements menu and context menu have a fresh new look.

Context toolbar with row of chart type icons

With one click, you can change the chart type from this row of icons.

Context toolbar with row of chart type icons

In the Data Links dialog you can now also easily select all charts linked to a specific Excel source file, and update them with one click (see Data Links dialog).

Data Links dialog

New buttons in the contextual toolbar help you easily update and revert, as well as switch to automatic updates for a chart.

Context toolbar with row of excel link icons

Selecting a series in the legend of a scatter or bubble chart highlights all points or bubbles of the series.

Bubble chart with one series highlighted

Same scale and axes

Setting charts to the same scale is now persistent. If the scale changes in one chart, all charts with the same scale will be updated. You can set charts to the same scale even when their axes are not displayed (see Same scale).

Using the same scale for multiple charts also works with axis breaks. Setting the same scale does not remove existing breaks, and adding an axis break to one chart will automatically add it to other charts using the same scale.

Two charts set to the same scale with an axis break

The X axes can also be set to same scale if they are value-based or date-based. For example, you can easily set two line charts to show the same years, even when the date range covered by the data is different (see Same scale).

Two line charts set to the same scale

Scatter and bubble charts now support same scale. You independently choose whether the X- or Y-axis should use the same scale.

Two scatter charts set to the same scale

Value axes support a reversed axis. Scatter and bubble charts support a numerically reversed axis. Column, clustered and area charts simply flip the chart. In a line chart with two axes, you can set one to a reversed order to highlight negative correlations (see Reversing the value axis).

Line chart with one reversed axis

Save and send slides

On Windows, you can use Gmail when sending slides instead of Outlook. To enable this, you set "think-cell Send With Gmail" as the default email program (see Save and send slides).

Default progams dialog with think-cell Send With Gmail selected

The "Save Slides..." command uses a dialog which includes your Quick Access folders. At the bottom of the dialog, you can choose which slides to include and whether date and time should be added to the filename.

Save slides dialog with options to choose included slides and append date and time to filename

When using "Save Slides..." and "Send Slides...", the filename better represents your choices: If you choose to send the entire presentation, for example, the file name does not contain slides numbers.

Color and style

The font color of text in labels can be chosen and is not reset, even if the label background changes (see Font color).

Chart with colored labels and font color control

The Load Style File command makes it easy to load previously used and default style files. Initially, it contains all styles included with think-cell for easy selection.

List of recently used files for Load Style File command

The color scheme for new charts is always taken from the think-cell style. The most recently used color scheme is now irrelevant when inserting a new chart. You can use a style file to set your preferred color scheme as the default (see Customizing think-cell).

Chart decorations

In the scatter chart, trendlines based on a power law, exponential or logarithmic relationship can be fitted to your data (see Trendline).

Scatter chart with power law trendline and trendline type control

You can represent the numerical scale of your chart with only grid lines instead of an axis line, instead of showing both (see Value axis).

Stacked chart with grid lines and axis handles


Create slides with text content based on JSON input while using the full power and flexibility of smart text fields. The new named text fields serve as placeholders in your automation templates (see Introduction to automation).

Named Text Field element in Elements menu

think-cell 9

Smart text boxes

think-cell's text boxes have been given a boost of intelligence. You can now use them to create complex slide layouts without manually moving or resizing any elements (learn more). Watch the video to see how it works.

Doughnut charts

Make your pie charts stand out even more by converting them to our newest chart type, the doughnut chart. And yes, doughnut charts look just like they sound. They’re essentially pie charts with a hole in the middle. This new chart design helps to accentuate the data slices and provides a place to highlight additional information. Learn more.

Doughnut chart with labels and title

Enhanced chart rendering

For better visual quality and faster editing, think-cell 9 uses PowerPoint's native chart component to render charts instead of the legacy MS Graph component. This also removes several other limits, e.g., scatter and line charts can now contain more than 4,000 data points. think-cell's user interface itself is not changed at all by the new rendering back-end. You will just notice the improved visual quality and better compatibility.

Automation with JSON

In addition to Excel, you can now use JSON data to automatically create and update periodic reports (learn more). This new enhancement allows you to:

  • Create presentations automatically by merging template charts with JSON data.
  • Build a web service that creates think-cell charts.
  • Export your business intelligence reports as PowerPoint slides.

More new charting features

The new "Flat" agenda style uses background fills instead of rectangles. Learn more.

Agenda slide flat visual style

Tooltips now show labels and numeric values for individual datapoints.

Chart labels and numeric values tooltip

Chart types can now be switched between absolute and percentage, even when there's no axis. Learn more.

Absolute and percentage-based charts

The sort order of slices can now be easily changed for pie and doughnut charts.

Pie and doughnut chart sort order

In waterfall charts, category sort options such as "Categories First Up, Then Down, Including Start" ensure that sum columns stay in their position.

Waterfall chart category sort options
The baseline weight can now be changed. Baseline weight options

Changes to existing charting features

In previous versions you adjusted the column width by changing the gap width between columns. In think-cell 9, you instead adjust the column width directly by using the following handles: Learn more.

Change column width with a handle

Label rotation was changed by dragging a handle in previous version, while other properties like font size and number format were set using the floating toolbar. In think-cell 9, you also set label rotation in the floating toolbar. Learn more.

Set label rotation in the floating toolbar

In previous versions, milestones where shaped as a triangle or diamond and you switched between them with a button in the milestone's context menu. In think-cell 9, additional shapes were added. Therefore, you choose the milestone shape with a control in the floating toolbar, which shows a list of choices. Learn more.

Choose milestone shape from the floating toolbar

New tools to make you more productive

Quickly switch the decimal symbol (e.g., German to US format) for labels on all or selected slides. Learn more.

Change decimal symbol on PowerPoint slides

Remove animations from all or selected slides. Learn more.

Remove PowerPoint animations from slides

Quickly choose custom colors with the new eyedropper tool. Learn more.

Choose custom colors with eyedropper tool

New keyboard shortcuts:

  • Multi-select labels with Ctrl+Alt+Shift+ .
  • Duplicate elements, e.g., in tables and process flows, with Ctrl+Alt+ .

Additional customization options

  • Control agenda placement through a custom layout that can also contain more shapes for agenda slides. Learn more.
  • Define theme color shades as a base color plus brightness. Learn more.
  • Specify checkboxes with more options: non-square images, e.g., traffic lights, and all Unicode characters. Learn more.
  • For a color scheme, specify that it is not remembered as the default for subsequent charts. Learn more.

Improved Sharepoint support

think-cell fully supports the new user interface for conflict resolution in PowerPoint 2016 that is based on whole slides. Concurrent editing in SharePoint/PowerPoint 2013 is also improved.

think-cell 8

Process flow

think-cell 8 greatly expands the slide layout functionality of our software by introducing the pentagon/chevron and textbox as new think-cell elements. Show project steps with accompanying bullet points by creating the basic structure very quickly out of building blocks, and use flexible single-click duplication to add additional steps. The following video shows this in action.

The layout is continuously re-arranged and optimized automatically when the text in elements changes. Furthermore, the direction of the whole structure can be changed from left-to-right to top-to-bottom by dragging the unified rotation handle. Learn more.

Excel link for Gantt chart

You like linking charts directly to Excel and having them update automatically? With think-cell 8, Excel links also work in Gantt charts. You can link activities and milestones to dates in Excel. When the dates change, the Gantt chart is updated as well. Learn more.

Link Excel data with Gantt charts in PowerPoint

Chart to data

Sometimes source data is only available in a chart on a website or a PDF document. The new Chart to Data tool in think-cell 8 lets you work with this data. Below on the left is a chart in a PDF document. On the right, the segments were automatically detected by think-cell and the numerical data is ready for import. Learn more.

Extract data from chart images and create functional charts in Excel and PowerPoint

Chart type conversion

Would you like to change chart types after the chart has already been created? In think-cell 8, you can easily convert chart types. For example, you can change stacked columns to clustered columns, segments to lines and many more combinations.

Change think-cell chart types

More new charting features

  • Do you want the series labels in a legend to appear in a different order than in the datasheet? With think-cell 8, you can also use the chart's visual order, which may be different due to sorting, or an alphabetical order.

    Chart series labels reordering
  • Automated chart updates with think-cell's programming functions become even more automatic: The chart width remains fixed when the number of chart categories changes, minimizing necessary manual changes to the slide layout.
  • Set the numerical sign of labels independently for segments and totals.


Co-authoring in Microsoft Sharepoint is supported.

think-cell 7

Compatibility with Microsoft Office 2016

think-cell 7 is the first version of our software that is compatible with Microsoft Office 2016. Of course, it is compatible with all current Microsoft Windows and Office versions, including 32 and 64 bit versions. It is therefore recommended to install think-cell 7 regardless of which Windows or Office version is used.

Charting features

  • Aggregate data into a separate Other series from the segments' context menu in column, Mekko, area and combination charts. Add segments to or remove them from the Other series simply by dragging a handle. (More on this)

    Aggregate data into separate series in column, mekko, area, and combination charts
  • Sort categories by their total values directly from the chart's floating toolbar. (More on this)

    Sort chart categories by total values
  • Interactively resize data bubbles in bubble charts by dragging a bubble's handle. The other bubbles will be updated automatically, maintaining correct size ratios.

    Resize data bubbles in bubble charts Resized data bubbles in bubble charts
  • Adjust the reference size of the bubble size legend by dragging its handle.
  • Easily toggle the value axis between absolute and percent representations in stacked, 100% and area charts. (More on this)
  • To move all Gantt chart date items at once, press Ctrl+A while a bar, milestone or process is selected.

Formatting and style

  • Choose from the complete set of Microsoft Office design theme colors to style your think-cell charts. If needed, compatibility with Office 2003 and older versions can be ensured by a restricted color scheme offered in the chart's floating toolbar.
  • Customize your charts for a consistent visual identity with new options in the think-cell style file. In version 6, you could already change defaults for segment colors and color schemes. Now, in addition, you can define your own line colors and line styles, arrow bubble fills and outlines, Harvey balls and checkboxes, which may even include pictures instead of checkmark signs. (More on this)

Label content

  • Labels entered into the datasheet can now be up to 255 characters long without being truncated in the chart.
  • Create clean yet unambiguous charts by showing 4-digit year numbers on specific axis labels, while keeping 2-digit years for all others. (More on this)
  • In recognition of our growing Asian user community and its currency conventions, you can now find 104, 108 and 1012 in think-cell's magnitude dropdown box.

User interface improvements

  • Floating toolbars now open to the right of the mouse pointer, staying out of the way of selected elements.
  • Easily access cell formats from the datasheet toolbar with the new datasheet formatting button.