Google Slides has a lot of useful tools for presentation creation and collaboration, but if you want to improve your performance and add extra functionality, add-ons can come in really handy. Add-ons are tools built by third-party developers that enhance functionality to help you create even more impressive slides. Add-ons equal more power! A variety of add-ons are available across G-Suite, including Chrome, Docs and Sheets, but due to our love of presentations, we will turn our attention to Google Slides.
Google Slides add-ons
Add-ons have only been available in Google Slides for a year or so, and so there aren’t hundreds to choose from. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some really robust tools for you to play with. By extending the original functionality of Slides with these add-ons, you can increase your productivity and efficiency. Whether you want direct access to quality images or more advanced editing tools, these new integrated features could help you build slicker presentations. Enjoy!
Are add-ons safe?
Like the apps we download on our mobile phones, most add-ons request several permissions for accessing your G Suite data. When you are installing an add-on it’s likely you will see a message from the provider asking for permissions to do things like ‘View and manage files in your Google Drive’ or ‘View your email address’. Obviously, it is totally up to you whether you grant that permission, but if you’re concerned about third-parties accessing your data it’s worth reading over what is being asked in detail to make sure you are comfortable with it!
How do we install them?
To start, open a presentation, click Add-ons in the menu bar, then scroll down to Get add-ons. This opens the add-ons store, where you can browse featured add-ons or use the search bar in the top right corner to look for something specific. Most add-ons are free to install, although some contain in-app purchases. Once you choose an add-on, click the install button to make the add-on available for use. When you wish to access it, just go back to the Add-ons button on the menu bar and scroll down to the add-on you’ve installed. It’s that simple.
How do we uninstall them?
If you wish to uninstall an add-on, you just open a presentation and go to the Add-ons menu. Scroll down and click on Manage add-ons. That will open up a list of all add-ons available on your Google Slides. Click the Manage button and choose Remove from the drop-down to remove it from your account. Done!
Our favourite add-ons
As presentation nerds, we at BrightCarbon have tried and tested a lot of the available add-ons for Google Slides. Here we’ve asked our creative team which add-ons they find most useful:
This is a super handy tool which generates attractive, flat, simple icons in any colour you choose. All you need to do is type in a key word, such as clock, to see options that fit the description in a nice high-resolution format with a transparent background. My job would take twice as long if I didn’t have this add-on, as it would mean creating every icon from scratch! The only drawback for me is that although they have an extensive library, there isn’t much style variety as there are only two very similar icon sets to choose from. Insert icons also exists for Google Docs and Google Sheets!
I use Slides Toolbox often, especially on busy slides, as it allows me to do batch editing operations, cutting down the clicks on repetitive tasks. For instance, instead of having to individually delete various shapes, I can automate the process with a single click. Slides Toolbox has a lot of nifty tools, and the ones I use the most are: sort text (alphabetical, length, random, etc.), letter casing (upper case, lower case, title case, etc.), and set font and size. I can also export slides, which saves each slide as an individual image (jpg, png and svg).
PowerPoint has similar add-ins to boost productivity, here’s one we reviewed earlier this year.
CloudConvert is an online file conversion tool that supports more than 200 different formats. It isn’t technically an add-on, but it’s so useful I had to include it on my list. This is a resource many people using Drive may not be aware they already have, but which they will not want to live without once they’ve tried it. There is no need to go to the add-on store, just right click on the Google Drive file you want to convert and click CloudConvert. This is definitely the tool I use most, as it allows me to convert different file types, for example a PDF to a JPEG or an SVG file to an EMF, which means that I can simply upload an image from Adobe Illustrator and put it into Slides. As a result, I can then edit the illustration or icon I’ve uploaded within Google Slides, helping me be a lot more productive!
As a designer I know how using powerful, high-quality imagery can change the look and feel of a presentation. Unsplash gives you access to a robust library of high-definition photographs that are completely free for personal and professional use, with no attribution required. I’ve previously used the Unsplash website to access impactful nature shots, but their add-on for Slides is even handier! It’s ideal if you are working to a tight deadline and need to access quality stock images with just one click. There is a range of other stock photo add-ons available for Slides, but I personally prefer Unsplash because, aside from being free, it runs a lot smoother than similar apps, with less glitches throughout. If you prefer to look at photo options full-screen when searching, then the website may be a better option for you, as with the add-on you can see images only as thumbnails.
Docs365 GIFmaker is an easy to use add-on that allows you to turn presentations into animated GIFs. If I need to create a simple gif, I find that this tool is quite straightforward and speedy. It is a great resource for users who don’t have much technical experience and are looking to get an immediate result. Each slide in the presentation represents a frame of the animation that will be generated. You can set the size of the GIF, the frame duration (in seconds) and how long the last frame of the animation should last. By clicking on the generate button, the tool processes all the slides in your presentation and after a few seconds… the job is done! Simply upload your newly created GIF to Google Drive, insert it into your presentation or save it on your local hard drive by right clicking on the generated image from the side panel. The only downside for me is that the image quality of the exported GIF is quite low.
Easy Accents allows users to insert language accents from a sidebar into their presentations. This is a very simple and straightforward add-on, but if you often write in different languages, as I regularly do, this saves a lot of time. Typically, for those with keyboards that aren’t set up for using accents, the process can be quite drawn out. In order to add one, you would have to go to the menu bar, click on “insert”, then “special characters”, and only then search for the accent you want. With this add-on, once you open the tab on the right-hand side of your slide and choose the language you want, you simply click on the accented letter you need. By having the accents sidebar open and handy at all times, you can increase your productivity considerably. This add-on is also available to use in Google Docs.
Sorc’d is a handy tool for storing and organising snippets of information – like quotes or references – from around the web to use later in presentations. Sorc’d works initially as a Chrome extension, helping users save information from web-pages to their personal Sorc’d library. Then, using the Sorc’d add-on for Google Slides, a user can transfer snippets saved in his or her library directly into a presentation. There is also a Sorc’d add-on for other G Suite programs, so it’s easy to transfer snippets to Google Docs and Sheets too. I often discover interesting and useful things whilst browsing the web, but when I want to use them later I forget where I found them! Sorc’d helps solve this problem by giving me a way to quickly store handy info from web pages and record the address for future reference.
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