We already explored think-cell, an extensive graphic visualization and charting add-in for PowerPoint in our Five Best Features of think-cell post. However, did you know that think-cell adds some small niceties in PowerPoint that are not documented anywhere, and which were discovered by accident?
Get think-cell and Use These Features
Did you know that you can get a trial of think-cell and use these features? Even better, you can get an extended trial if you use this link!
Plus, on the same link, you will find a usually unavailable option to subscribe to think-cell with just one user. Normally, you need to have at least 5 users signed on to be able to subscribe to think-cell.
Yes, there are at least three extra timesaving features that think-cell adds, and all three of these features have nothing to do with charting. In fact, they relate to language settings, creating quick graphics, and replacing fonts in PowerPoint. Without further ado, let us look at these goodies that think-cell places within PowerPoint.
1. Language Settings
Typically, when you set the language for any text container in PowerPoint, you are limited to changing the proofing language only for the selected text container, such as a text box, placeholder, shape, etc. Yes, you can change the language for the entire outline in PowerPoint, but even that is limited to just text placeholders and leaves text within text boxes and shapes unchanged.
You May Also Like: Text Placeholders vs. Text Boxes in PowerPoint
However, think-cell adds the ability to change the proofing language for all text containers on the slide or even all text containers within the presentation deck.
To find these options, make sure that think-cell is installed and activated. Then, follow these steps to change the proofing language:
- Select any one text container, as shown in Figure 1, below. Next, click the Language option on the Status Bar, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.
Figure 1: Text container selected
What’s a Text Container?
A text container is any of these three slide objects that can include text such as text placeholders, text boxes, and shapes.
- You’ll now see the Language dialog box, as shown in Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Language dialog box with think-cell installed
- If you had no think-cell installed or activated, you would see a smaller Language dialog box with fewer options, as shown in Figure 3, below.
Figure 3: Language dialog box without think-cell installed
- Primarily, you will see two extra buttons within this dialog box that you won’t see if think-cell is not installed. These two buttons are:
- Click this button to change the proofing language for all text containers in your presentation.
Text on Slide
- Click this button to change the proofing language for all text containers in your active slide.
2. Copy from Excel to Multiple Shapes
This is an almost unbelievable option. Why is this unbelievable? That’s because no one has spoken about this feature, nor can you find it anywhere in think-cell’s documentation. I wish to thank think-cell’s Robin Jung for sharing this feature. Surely, this will help many PowerPoint users quickly create diagrams in PowerPoint using shapes and text.
Follow these steps to copy content from Excel to multiple shapes in your PowerPoint slide:
- Make sure think-cell is installed, and also active within both Excel and PowerPoint. Launch both programs. If you are working with new files, there’s no need to save the files although it’s a good idea to work with saved files.
- Now within Excel, create some cell content. We created a list of months, which was easy because we just typed January and used the AutoFill feature to populate the remaining cells with the other months, as shown in Figure 4, below.
Figure 4: Form Fill in Excel
- We then placed these months in a 4×3 matrix, as shown in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: Months in a matrix
- Now in PowerPoint, we created and placed several shapes with the same arrangement, as within our Excel sheet. This set of shapes can be seen in Figure 6, below.
Figure 6: Matrix of shapes in PowerPoint
- Within Excel, copy the cells. Now in PowerPoint, ensure that all cells are selected, as shown in Figure 6, above. Now paste within PowerPoint, and you will find that each cell from Excel has its cell content pasted in a separate shape in PowerPoint, as can be seen in Figure 7, below.
Figure 7: Pasted content in shapes
For this trick to work optimally, you must ensure that the number of shapes available on your PowerPoint slide is the same as the number of cells you copy from Excel. This technique can save you hours of work.
3. Replace Fonts
The final feature in think-cell we are exploring is the Replace Fonts option. This is an existing PowerPoint feature that think-cell makes so much more powerful.
Follow these steps to explore options within the Replace Font dialog box:
- Open any presentation where you want to replace fonts. Now, access the Home tab of the Ribbon. Next, click on the Replace button to bring up a small flyout menu, as shown in Figure 8, below. Now click on the Replace Fonts option, highlighted in red within Figure 8.
Figure 8: Replace Fonts
- If you do not have think-cell installed, you will see the Replace Font dialog box, as shown in Figure 9, below.
Figure 9: Replace Font without think-cell activated
- However, if you have think-cell installed, you will see the vastly improved Replace Font dialog box, as shown in Figure 10, below.
Figure 10: Replace Font with think-cell activated
- We will now explore the improvements added by think-cell. Firstly, there is no difference in the Replace drop-down list, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 11 below. In this drop-down list, you see fonts used within the open presentation.
Figure 11: Replace drop down list
- Next, let us explore the With drop-down list, shown highlighted in red within Figure 12, below. This is a list of fonts that can be used to replace the font selected previously in the Replace drop-down list, shown highlighted in red within Figure 11, above.
Figure 12: Replace Fonts With drop-down list
- think-cell brings two amazing options placed right above all other font options. These are:
- This option does not change the font, but lets you change other options in the dialog box such as the font size, as explained later in this section.
- One of the big differences here is that with think-cell installed, you can replace any font with a Theme font. This option is not available in PowerPoint without think-cell installed.
What is a Theme Font?
A Theme Font is the font that’s used by your PowerPoint file if you drag a new text box and start typing. It is the default font choice and is set by the active Theme of your presentation. Learn more about Themes here.
- There’s another amazing feature that think-cell adds which is almost a killer feature. This Change size by option, shown highlighted in red within Figure 13, below, maybe a very simple feature, but it’s extremely useful.
Figure 13: Change size by
Not All Fonts Are The Same
You may use the Replace Font dialog box to change fonts in your PowerPoint presentation, but not all fonts are created the same. For example, if your original font is Garamond, and you change to Open Sans, you may find that the content which spanned 6 lines now needs 8 lines, as shown in Figure 14, below. Yes, this is true even when both fonts are using the same point size.
Figure 14: Change Size By Font Examples
The solution to this problem is to use the Change Size By option and choose to reduce the point size of the changed font. For the above example, we chose the -1 value in the Change Size By drop-down list to end up with something that takes the same space after replacing the font, as shown in Figure 15, below. Compare with Figure 14, shown above.
Figure 15: Change Size By Example with Reduced Point Size
- One amazing option in the Change size by feature is that you can change the size of the font for the entire presentation without changing the font. This can be done by choosing the (Keep Font) option, as explained in the preceding section. Then, as an example, you can instruct the Replace Font dialog box as below:
- In the Replace drop-down list, choose Arial.
- In the With drop-down list, choose another font, or choose the (Keep Font) option to retain Arial.
- In the Change size by drop-down list, you can choose the -1 or +1 options of even larger steps to reduce or enlarge the point size.
- These choices can be made for the active slide or the entire presentation, as we will explore later. So, as you can see, the think-cell improvizations in the Replace Font dialog box can pack quite a punch.
- The next option to explore relates to whether you want to change fonts in English and other Latin Text languages only, or if you want to include other language families in this replacement process. These settings are visible in the Restrict to drop-down list shown in Figure 16, below.
Figure 16: Restrict to drop-down list
- The final option provided by think-cell is probably the most powerful. It lets you perform the Replace Font process in all slides or only within selected slides. By default, you see the Selected Slide option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 17, below. The selected slide in this case is the active slide.
Figure 17: Replace Font in Selected slide
- Now, what would happen if you had more than one slide selected? In that case, think-cell is intelligent enough and will mention Selected slides rather than Selected slide in the dialog box, as shown in Figure 18, below. Compare with Figure 17, shown above.
Figure 18: Replace Font in Selected slides
Selecting Multiple Slides
To use the selected slides option, it’s best to select multiple slides in Slide Sorter view, or even within the Slides pane in Normal editing view.
- Of course, you can also choose the Entire presentation option, which performs the Replace Font process for all slides in the presentation.
As you can see, as in the three features explained above, you could be using think-cell’s amazing features even without being aware that you are using think-cell!