15. Text boxes

This chapter shows you how to work with think-cell’s text boxes to quickly create a complex slide layout like the example from Introduction to layout:

slide with example complex layout

In the following, you will learn how to work with think-cell’s text boxes how to insert, snap, duplicate, delete, move and change them to build your slide. Afterwards, we will recreate the example above with minimum effort using these actions. Of course, different or even more complex layouts are also possible, always relying on simple, meaningful actions defining the relations between elements and making manual placement and resizing unnecessary.

Editing and formatting text in think-cell’s textboxes works just as it does in PowerPoint. It is important to note, however, that think-cell’s text boxes differ from PowerPoint’s text boxes with regard to placement and layout. think-cell’s text boxes do not have a predefined, fixed size or position on the slide from the outset. Instead, they will adjust dynamically when you enter text, insert further elements or move existing ones. In this process, think-cell’s text boxes always maintain their relations to the other elements on the slide.

think-cell will automatically position the elements on the slide evenly. This way, you do not have to manually readjust the size and position of every element after each change on the slide.

15.1
Inserting and snapping text boxes
15.2
Duplicating text boxes
15.3
Deleting text boxes
15.4
Moving text boxes
15.5
Unsnapping text boxes or changing snap connections
15.6
Setting the same size for multiple text boxes
15.7
Building a complex example
15.8
Setting a fixed size or locked position of elements

15.1 Inserting and snapping text boxes

Let’s assume that you start from an empty slide. Let’s start with how to insert text boxes and snap them together:

1.
Go to the think-cell group in the PowerPoint ribbon and click on image Text Box.
2.
Click on the slide once to insert your first text box. think-cell text box on an empty slide before text is inserted

The box is automatically centered on the slide. Don’t worry if this isn’t the position you want the box to appear on your finalized slide. Its position and size will change as you build your slide, adapting dynamically to entered text or other elements on the slide.

3.
Start typing to enter text. think-cell text box on an empty slide after text is inserted
4.
Optionally, click into the box and use think-cell’s floating toolbar to add some fill color to it. think-cell text box with a fill color on an empty slide
5.
Insert another text box by clicking on the image Text Box button again. When the mouse pointer is directly above, to the right, below or to the left of the existing box, you may snap the next text box to the existing box by clicking on one of the snap positions once.
snap positions for think-cell text boxes

The two boxes are now snapped together.

two think-cell text boxes snapped together

Snapped text boxes in think-cell have the advantage that they remain connected through all content and design changes. As you type in your text, the position of the boxes and their alignment is continuously readjusted.

You may have a slide that already has text boxes arranged in rows or columns, and you would like to insert another text box to form a table. When you insert the new box, you can decide to how many of the existing boxes it should snap:

1.
Click on the image Text Box button on the ribbon.
2.
Move the mouse cursor towards the row of text boxes on the slide. Note how the orange insertion frame changes depending on the mouse position.
  • If you move the mouse cursor close above the center of one of the boxes, the snap target will only be this box. snap target to align with one box
  • If you want the snap target to be two neighboring boxes, hover a bit higher above the middle of the combined width of these boxes. snap target to align with two boxes
  • And if you would like to snap to the full width of the row, hover some distance above the middle box. snap target to align with a full row
3.
Click once to insert the new text box and it snaps together with all three text boxes below.
a heading and three think-cell text boxes snapped together from a table

As you can see, it’s easy to form a table by snapping think-cell’s text boxes together. Unlike with PowerPoint shapes, the structure of this table is preserved while you add content or change other elements on the slide.

It is also possible to only snap the outer edges of an inserted text box to existing boxes on the slide. This will place the new box separately from the others but still maintain the same width for both:

1.
Click the image Text Box button and hover below the left edge of the element until you see a thin grey line emerge as a snap indicator. snap indicator to align with the left edge of a text box
2.
Click and hold down the mouse button as the left edge snaps.
3.
Move your mouse below the right edge of the table until you see a similar line there to which the insertion frame snaps. snap indicator to align with the right edge of a text box
4.
Release the mouse button.

The outer edges of the new text box are now snapped to the object above. If the width of any of the two changes, the other will be resized accordingly.

15.2 Duplicating text boxes

After learning how to insert and snap think-cell’s text boxes, let’s have a look at how to duplicate them. There are different ways to do this, most of which resemble the options you are familiar with from working with PowerPoint shapes:

  • You can duplicate think-cell’s text boxes by selecting them and hitting Ctrl+D. The familiar orange insertion frame appears for the duplicated boxes and can be moved to your preferred snap position. Click once to insert it there.
  • You can use Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to insert a copy of the selected text boxes.
  • Another option known from PowerPoint is to right-click and drag the frame of selected text boxes. Release to drop the duplicate into position.
  • The same duplication can be achieved when holding down Ctrl while dragging with the left mouse button.
  • Finally, another quick and easy way to insert a snapped copy of existing rows or columns of text boxes is to click the small image Plus button that appears when text boxes are selected. text boxes selected for duplication below

15.3 Deleting text boxes

If you would like to delete individual text boxes or entire rows or columns, just select or multi-select them (see Multi-selection) and hit the Delete key. You can also right-click into the selection and click the red image Delete button in think-cell’s context menu.

15.4 Moving text boxes

Now, let’s look at how you can move an existing text box (or a selection of text boxes) to another position. To do this:

1.
Left-click on its frame to select it and begin the drag. It is important to click on the frame instead of inside the text box, as that would select the text box content for text editing. think-cell text box selected for move
2.
Click and drag the text box to the new position. You will see different snap targets while you move your mouse.
3.
When you are happy with the position, release the mouse button to drop and snap the text box there.

You may also use Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V to move a text box from one position to another.

Reordering columns in a table is an example for moving multiple text boxes. You simply select all text boxes in the column and then drag them to the new position or press Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V and then choose the new position.

15.5 Unsnapping text boxes or changing snap connections

After learning how to snap text boxes together in different ways, let’s look at how to unsnap them or change the snap connections. Both can be done easily. To unsnap a text box:

1.
Click to select it.
2.
Click on one of the handles. click position to unsnap a think-cell text box
3.
Drag away from the other element the box is snapped to and release. think-cell text boxes after unsnapping
4.
Repeat this for other edges if necessary.

You can also change the snap connection by dragging handles to a new snap target. The gray snap indicator lines help you snap the text box to another position of your choice.

gray snap indicator line when changing a snap connection of a think-cell text
box

Just release the mouse button once you are happy with the snap position.

15.6 Setting the same size for multiple text boxes

You can select multiple elements and choose image Same Height or image Same Width from the context menu of an element included in the selection.

multiple think-cell text boxes with different widths

The elements are resized to make them the same width.

multiple think-cell text boxes with different widths

To return to individual sizes for the text boxes, select one of the text boxes, click on the double-ended arrow and press Delete or .

15.7 Building a complex example

The sections above described all the basic interactions with think-cell’s text-boxes. As an example, let’s make use of them to build a complete slide with text boxes from scratch that will look like this:

slide with example complex layout
1.
Start by inserting your first text box from the ribbon button image Text Box. building a complex example slide, step 1

Enter the text and choose an appropriate fill color, if desired. In the following, simply entering text or making formatting changes is not explicitly mentioned between steps anymore.

2.
Use Ctrl-Drag to duplicate the box until you have your desired number of boxes. building a complex example slide, step 2
3.
Insert a new text box above as a heading and snap it to the full width of the five boxes below. building a complex example slide, step 3
4.
Add boxes below the five text boxes with the help of the image Plus button. If your master slide does not have a bullet on the first text level, you can add a bulleted list to the text boxes using PowerPoint’s buttons for indentation. You can also use the indentation shortcut Shift+Alt+. building a complex example slide, step 4
5.
Insert a separate box below and snap it only to the outer edges of the table above as a sub-heading. building a complex example slide, step 5
6.
Now duplicate this box by hitting Ctrl+D and snap it below. building a complex example slide, step 6
7.
Use PowerPoint’s buttons to center your text in selected boxes. building a complex example slide, step 7
8.
Right-click and drag the topmost box to copy it to the very bottom. As you can see, all the positioning of the text boxes is done automatically by think-cell. Not a single box has been moved manually. building a complex example slide, step 8
9.
Unsnap some of the text boxes from each other to create a gap between them. building a complex example slide, step 9
10.
Finally, multi-select the text boxes with the column headings, right-click into the selection and choose image Same Width from the context menu. This gives all five columns the same width. building a complex example slide, step 10

15.8 Setting a fixed size or locked position of elements

After building up your slide from elements and content, you may wish to manually adjust little layout details and fix the final position and dimensions of the elements on your slide. Let’s work again with the example above. The elements fill the whole slide and are centered on it.

complex example slide before fixing the final position of elements

As there is some space between the text boxes, you may want to tighten the structure a bit by fixing its size, or you may want to explicitly leave larger margins by fixing the position.

15.8.1 Setting a fixed size

In PowerPoint you can resize a shape by holding down the Ctrl key and dragging its boundary. You can do the same in think-cell:

1.
Select all elements with your mouse.
2.
Hold down Ctrl, click on the handle in one of the corners, hold down the mouse button and drag it to constrain the size of your text box structure. building a complex example slide, step 11
3.
Release the mouse button. building a complex example slide, step 12

There is less space between the text boxes now, while the whole structure is still centered on the slide.

Instead of choosing the size with Ctrl-dragging, you can also enter the size directly:

1.
Select the element or elements that you wish to resize think-cell text boxes selected for setting a fixed size
2.
Hold down Ctrl and drag one of the handles on the blue boundary to set a fixed size. think-cell text boxes while Ctrl-dragging to set a fixed size
3.
Click on the double-ended arrow representing the fixed size selecting the double-headed arrow representing a fixed size for think-cell text
boxes
4.
Enter the desired size into the control. fixed size control for a think-cell element

As units, you can use points, length units like millimeters or inches, and fractions of the slide height or slide width.

list of possible size units when setting a fixed size of a think-cell element

We recommend that you do not set a fixed size until you have added all content to the slide. To reestablish automatic sizing based on your content, click on the double-ended arrow and press Delete or .

15.8.2 Locking elements to a position

To leave some margin next to elements, you can lock the text boxes to specific positions:

1.
Select all elements.
2.
Click on the little lock icon in the bottom left corner. lock icon to lock a think-cell element in place
3.
Hold down the mouse button and drag to the position you want the lower edge of the element structure to be. dragging a lock to lock a think-cell element in place
4.
Release the mouse button to close the lock and fix the elements into position.
5.
Repeat this for the left, right or upper margin if necessary. building a complex example slide, step 13

We recommend that you do not lock your text boxes until you have added all content to the slide. To open a lock and reestablish the automatic positioning, simply click once onto the closed lock. Repeat this for other closed locks if needed.