Knowledge base KB0185

Elements menu does not open or contents are scrambled in a server-based Microsoft Office environment

Description

think-cell uses Microsoft's DirectX 9 technology to render its user interface. In some configurations, DirectX 9 is either not available or rendering issues occur when drawing the user interface.

Ensure the availability of a protocol to deliver DirectX functionality (e.g., Microsoft RemoteFX or Citrix HDX) and a graphics driver which provides full and reasonably bug-free support of DirectX 9.

Before starting the analysis of this issue, please verify that you are using the latest version of think-cell by clicking More → About in the think-cell toolbar. You can always download the latest think-cell version from our website.

If you are a think-cell user experiencing this issue, please contact your organization's internal IT support and ask them to help you with the analysis!

Elements menu does not open

Problem: If you are using Citrix XenDesktop/XenApp version 5.x/6.x, compatibility issues in the Citrix 3D driver may prevent DirectX 9 from working even if all requirements seem to be in place.

Solution: By blacklisting PowerPoint and Excel, Citrix's 3D GPU support can be disabled for both applications, preventing the Citrix 3D driver failure. A software fallback will be used instead, which renders the think-cell user interface correctly.

To exclude PowerPoint and Excel from using the Citrix 3D driver, please follow these steps:
  1. Open the registry editor on the VDA
    32-bit: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\Vd3d
    64-bit: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Citrix\Vd3d
  2. Create a new Key and name it Compatibility.
  3. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it PowerPnt.exe, and assign it a value of 8.
  4. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it Excel.exe, and assign it a value of 8.

Note: This issue does not occur anymore with XenDesktop 7.x according to Citrix and confirmation we received from our customers. XenDesktop 7.x has a built-in DirectX 9 software rasterizer in the standard Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA). You may therefore choose between using GPU-supported DirectX or the software rasterizer depending on your hardware configuration and performance needs.

Screen drawing problems, e.g., scrambled contents

Problem: In some configurations DirectX 9 is available either with GPU hardware support or software-rendered, but screen drawing issues occur when using think-cell elements or rendering think-cell's user interface.

Solution:

  • Please make sure the latest graphics drivers are installed. Depending on your environment, you should try an alternative graphics driver.

  • If your graphics drivers are up to date, find out if hardware acceleration features are available in your environment:

    1. Open DxDiag: Press Start or the Windows key → type dxdiagEnter

    2. You can find the DirectX features on the Display tab as shown in the screenshot below:

      dxdiag tool for testing hardware acceleration / DirectX support to render think-cell components

    Depending on the rendering mechanism used and your current hardware configuration you could try to switch between hardware and software rendering.

  • If the DirectX hardware acceleration features are not enabled according to DxDiag, please verify if they can be enabled. Please note that a physical GPU has to be available on the server in order to use hardware acceleration. Otherwise, the software fallback will be automatically used.

  • If hardware acceleration features are available, but the rendering is not accurate, please check your hardware configuration. If you are using a low-performance GPU, you can avoid hardware rendering by blacklisting PowerPoint and Excel:

    • XenDesktop/XenApp 5.x/6.x
      1. Open the registry editor on the VDA
        32-bit: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\Vd3d
        64-bit: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Citrix\Vd3d
      2. Create a new Key and name it Compatibility.
      3. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it PowerPnt.exe, and assign it a value of 8.
      4. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it Excel.exe, and assign it a value of 8.
    • XenDesktop/XenApp 7.1/7.5
      1. Open the registry editor on the VDA:
        32-bit: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\Vd3d
        64-bit: Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Wow6432Node\Citrix\Vd3d
      2. Create a new Key and name it Compatibility.
      3. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it PowerPnt.exe, and assign it a value of 0.
      4. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it Excel.exe, and assign it a value of 0.
    • XenDesktop/XenApp 7.6
      1. Open the registry editor on the VDA and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Citrix\Vd3d
      2. Create a new Key and name it Compatibility.
      3. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it PowerPnt.exe, and assign it a value of 0.
      4. Create a new REG_DWORD, name it Excel.exe, and assign it a value of 0.
  • If screen drawing issues occur when using software rendering and you cannot switch to hardware acceleration, please set the screen resolution and/or color depth to lower values and see if the problem persists. If this works but your preferred screen resolution and color depth does not, you may consider improving your environment's performance.

Contact Support

If you performed the steps above and this issue still occurs, please contact our support team. Please describe the steps you have already performed and their results. Additionally, please provide us with the following information:

  1. The DxDiag log file of a system with which the problem occurs:

    1. Open DxDiag: Press Start or the Windows key → type dxdiagEnter
    2. Click the [Save All Information] button. Save this file as DXDIAG.TXT.
    3. Attach the DXDIAG.TXT to your support request.

  2. Detailed think-cell log files of a system with which the problem occurs:

    1. Start think-cell's diagnosis tool, "tcdiag.exe". tcdiag.exe is delivered with think-cell:
      For 32-bit versions of Office, start tcdiag from the think-cell installation folder.
      For 64-bit versions of Office, use the version located in the subfolder \x64.
    2. Start PowerPoint
    3. Reproduce the problem. E.g., try to open the Elements menu or insert a think-cell chart.
    4. Please send us the think-cell log files. To do that, simply go to the think-cell Tab on the Ribbon in PowerPoint and click MoreRequest Support. The log files will be attached automatically to a new email.

      If this does not work, you can find the log files as explained below:

      • Open a new Windows Explorer window and type

        %LOCALAPPDATA%\think-cell

        into the address field and press Enter.

      • If you want to browse to these directories but cannot see them, they are probably set to invisible. You can change that in Windows Explorer by checking:

        • Windows Vista and Windows 7:
          OrganizeFolder and search optionsViewShow hidden files and folders.
        • Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10:
          ViewShow/hideHidden Items.
      • Please send all files with the extension .log contained in this folder to our support team. This may be any of the following files: POWERPNT[_log].log, EXCEL[_log].log, TCMAIL[_log].log, setup_think-cell_xxxxx[_log].log.
  3. Information about your environment.