Knowledge base KB0075

The current date or * (asterisk) is shown in think-cell labels


If you view a PowerPoint presentation in a program other than Microsoft PowerPoint, e.g., PowerPoint viewers for mobile devices, some think-cell labels instead of showing their actual content show * (asterisk), another character, the current date, or are empty.

Labels show asterisk in Lync 2010.

think-cell needs to use special elements of the .ppt and .pptx file formats to display textboxes that contain automatically updating data. Affected viewers and software do not fully and correctly support the public .ppt and .pptx file formats.

The elements used by think-cell to display automatic text in text boxes are

Presentations containing such elements can be produced without think-cell in Office 2003 as follows:

  1. Start Word 2003.
  2. Go to Insert > Date and Time.
  3. Check the box for Update automatically.
  4. Select one of the Available formats and click OK.
  5. Select the inserted date.
  6. Click on Edit > Copy.
  7. Start PowerPoint 2003.
  8. Select Edit > Paste Special…
  9. Select Paste > As Formatted Text (RTF). The date appears in a textbox.
  10. Save the file as .ppt or .pptx.

When viewing such a presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 2007 or any other affected software, the date field is shown incorrectly, e.g., as * (asterisk) or an empty text box.


We recommend to use Microsoft Office to view PowerPoint files. Microsoft Office Mobile is available for many smart phones and tablets.
Alternatively, you may save the presentation as a PDF file and use a PDF viewer.