Knowledge base KB0191

Recommended setup for editing think-cell style files


A think-cell style file can be used to customize the default colors, styles, and schemes for think-cell charts. For the documentation of think-cell style files please refer to our online user manual in C. Customizing think-cell. This knowledge base article describes our recommended setup for creating valid think-cell style files.

Editing a think-cell style file

In principle, any program that creates plain text files can be used as an editor. A think-cell style file should be created using a dedicated XML editor since it can check your style file for possible errors. Fix any indicated warnings or errors before you use the style file.

On Windows

We recommend to use the free Visual Studio from Microsoft (any version will do) since it offers the best XML editing experience we have seen so far.

Visit Microsoft's download page, choose the free edition (Visual Studio Community) and run the installer. Select Visual Studio Community once again when prompted. Please contact your internal IT department if you have problems installing the software.

Setting up Microsoft Visual Studio

Add XML support during installation

  1. In the window that allows to choose the components for Visual Studio, click Individual components > Cloud, database, and server > Connectivity and publishing tools.
  2. Click Install.

Enable automatic download of the associated syntax definition (XML Schema) from our webserver

  1. Go to Visual Studio > Tools > Options…
  2. On the left, go to the Text Editor category.
  3. Choose XML > Miscellaneous.
  4. Enable Automatically download DTDs and schemas.

Enable the Error List View

  1. Go to View > Error List.

Now, if you move the mouse over highlighted errors, you will get a tooltip with a detailed explanation of the error.

On Mac

We have not found a completely satisfying, free editing solution for the Mac, but there are workable options.

Free options

The free online validator on the FreeFormatter website worked well in our trials. It performs validation against the syntax definition (XML Schema) on our webserver. Under XML Input you can either paste the style file contents or upload it directly. It is not necessary to upload the schema, the schema location in the style file is interpreted automatically.

Microsoft's Visual Studio Community for Mac does not support online validation against the syntax definition (XML Schema) at the time of writing. To enable validation, you must download the XML schema from the link on the second line of the think-cell style file example (<BUILDNUMBER>/tcstyle.xsd). Be aware that the syntax definition may differ per build number and you must use the appropriate version for your style file. We recommend always using the current version of think-cell, the style file examples that come with it, and the .xsd file referenced in these examples. Make sure to enable the Error View.

Purchase options

Of course, good editors for the Mac are offered for purchase. Examples include BBEdit and Xmplify. BBEdit offers a free version, but the XML validation seems to be available only in the paid version. For Xmplify, a free trial version is available at the time of writing and it worked perfectly in our trials: just open the think-cell style file. The online validation as well as the error checking window pane should work automatically without any setup work.