Google has recently introduced some long-anticipated upgrades to basic features, and some entirely new tools too. We’ve taken a look and written up a general overview of what’s new, so you can make the most of these new features and get the best out of Google Slides.
Whether you’re a student, a professional, or a presentation aficionado, you’ve probably heard of Google Slides, the browser-based presentation tool from Google Workspace. Google Slides has been steadily gaining in popularity over the past few years, with more and more users keen to make use of its easy-to-use interface and collaboration features.
As presentation enthusiasts (which is, let’s be honest, a polite way of saying nerds), we at BrightCarbon know Google Slides inside out. We’ve created this extensive guide to cover absolutely everything you need to know about Google Slides — from the basics through to more advanced features — so you can take your presentation projects to the next level.
Whether you’re an experienced presentation creator or a total beginner, this is the ultimate guide for you! If you’re new to Slides, you can work your way through the sections from start to finish. If there’s something in particular you need help with, navigate to the section that interests you most by clicking one of the topic links below. This is a really in-depth guide, so bookmark the link and add it to your favourites to come back to. If you want more hands-on help, we also offer paid-for Google Slides training with an expert trainer.
- Is Google Slides free?
- Getting started
- Adding, removing, and hiding slides
- Understanding the menu bar
- Understanding the toolbar
- Using the theme builder
- Using and creating themes
- Using the Explore tool
- Using Extensions
- Inserting and editing shapes
- Inserting and editing images
- Advanced: Making attractive slides
- Creating charts
- Inserting media
- More Google Slides resources
- Resources for making better presentations
- Get involved with our Google Slides masterclasses!
How Google Slides works
Here we cover the basics of using Google Slides, from creating a brand-new presentation to setting up a slide theme.
Google Slides is free to use across web, mobile and desktop apps, as long as you have a free Google account. Businesses can upgrade to a paid-for version of Google Workspace, but within that, Google Slides is exactly the same product as in the free version of Google Workspace and offers all the tools individual users are likely to need. In fact, at the time of writing there are no differences between the paid version and the free version!
Creating a new Slides presentation
To use Google Slides you need to sign up for a free Google account. You can create one here.
From Google Drive, click New at the top of the left-hand dashboard, then choose Google Slides > Blank presentation. There’s also an option to build your Slides deck from a template – we’ll cover that later.
If you’re working from the Slides homepage, simply click the blank template with the plus sign which sits beneath the Start a new presentation header in the top left of the main page.
Once open, you can rename your new Slides deck any time by clicking the Untitled Presentation box in the top left. So can your collaborators – we’ll introduce them properly later.
Changes are saved automatically when working online. This is why there’s no Save button in Google Slides. We talk more about saving your work later on.
To add a new blank slide, right click one of the slide thumbnails in the left-hand panel and select New slide. This new slide will use the same layout as the one you right clicked on (more on layouts later). To create a slide that is identical to an existing slide (including content), right click the thumbnail and select Duplicate slide.
To remove a slide, click on the slide thumbnail that you wish to delete and hit the Delete key on your keyboard, or right click and select Delete.
If there’s a slide you want to keep in your deck but don’t want to show when presenting, you can hide it. Right click the slide thumbnail and select Skip slide. The slide thumbnail will fade back. When you are in slideshow mode this slide will no longer show. To unskip a slide, right click the thumbnail and click Unskip slide.
The menu bar covers all the key functionality you’ll need to get started building your presentation. You’re likely to have come across many of these options before in other software, so we’ll focus on some of the more Google Slides-specific functionality below.
The File tab has all the basics for sharing, editing, and toggling settings.
The Share button lets you share your presentation with others. To learn more about sharing and privacy settings, see Cloud working below.
Make a copy lets you create a copy of either your entire presentation or of a single slide. This is great if you want to play around with edits on a deck or slide without editing the original document.
Version history allows you to see past iterations of a document, which can be incredibly useful. We talk more about Version history in the Viewing and saving your work section below.
Publish to the web lets you publish a non-editable version of your presentation that can be viewed via a link or embedded on a web page. This is a great feature if you want a larger audience to see your final, finished piece of work. Click Share, then Publish to the web, select either Link or Embed, adjust any relevant settings, and hit Publish.
Language lets you change the language of the document so that spelling is checked correctly. Tip: If you change from US to UK English, your measurements will change from imperial to metric — useful to know!
This handy feature allows you to send an approval request to anyone who needs to give your presentation the final once-over — for example, your manager. To use this feature, simply click Approvals and the Approvals pane will appear. Click Make a request to send the deck to your chosen reviewers. You can toggle editing privileges or add a message before clicking Send request. You can also add a due date. Your chosen approver will see a message that says Pending approval at the top of the presentation when they open it. They can click to open a sidebar that allows them to see other reviewers, read your message, and see the due date if one has been assigned. Once they’ve approved the deck, you’ll get a notification to let you know.
The Edit tab houses some of the simplest — but most useful — tools you’ll use in Slides. Here you can find the expected Undo and Redo buttons for taking edits a step forward or back and options for Cut, Copy, and Paste. A particularly handy tool is Find and replace. If you have a word or phrase running throughout your presentation that needs changing, type it into the Find dialogue box and type your alternative into the Replace box. Then hit Replace to go through each instance individually, or Replace all for a blanket change across slides.
Tip: A lot of these actions can also be controlled using keyboard shortcuts. We’ve compiled a list of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Slides in a handy PDF. Click here to download it for free and check out our favourite Google Slides shortcuts for increased productivity.
The View tab is used to change screen setup, open side panels, and toggle grids and guides on and off. You can also toggle guides by right clicking your slide and selecting Guides from the drop down menu.
To edit animation and transitions in your presentation, click Motion. Here you can view all animated objects in your presentation. To animate an object, select it and click Select an object to animate in the Motion pane. Click here for more about using animations and transitions.
Click Theme builder to view the theme for your document. We’ve got a whole section about using theme builder later on.
Grid view shows your slides in grid formation so you can see an overview of your whole deck rather than looking at things one slide at a time. In Grid view, you can reorder slides by dragging and dropping them — a handy way of rearranging things in your deck. To toggle Grid view off, go back to the View tab and untick it. Alternatively, you can toggle between Grid view and Film strip view (default view) by clicking the icons at the bottom of the sidebar on the left.
Guides lets you add guide lines to your presentation by right clicking on the slide or by clicking the Add vertical/horizontal guide buttons. Once you’ve added guides you can click and drag to rearrange them. By selecting Show guides or Clear guides you can toggle them on and off.
Top tip: It’s best to add the guides through the theme builder to ensure that they’re locked on the slides and you can’t accidentally click and edit them.
The Insert tab is where you add text, shapes, videos, images, and more to your slides. We go into more detail about inserting and editing images later.
You can add Word art to your presentation by clicking Word art from the Insert tab and then entering your chosen text into the box that appears at the top of the screen. You can then edit the font or colour of text in the toolbar. Learn more about the toolbar here.
Tip: Word art can also be really useful for quickly resizing large numbers and statistics. If you have a break slide and want to have a large number on there, it’s quite difficult to adjust it to the correct position. Word art treats the number as an individual object, not text. That way you can resize it in the same way you would resize any other object.
Here you will find tools to help you customise your slide. You can format tables, images and other objects here, along with text. There are also some text formatting options that can ONLY be found through this menu, such as size, colour, and capitalization.
Go to Text to see a range of ways you can adapt the look and feel of text. Here you can change the Size, Colour, Capitalisation, and more. If you need to add numbered footnotes to your presentation, you can use the Superscript and Subscript options.
Below Text is Align and indent. Here you can choose whether your text aligns to the left, right, or centre margins of the text box it sits in. You can also choose Justified for text paragraphs, spacing the text out evenly to fall flush with both margins.
Tip: The easiest way to align your text is to select it and then use the Align button in the toolbar to make the alignments.
Under Borders & lines you can create and edit a border for your object, change its colour, style or increase/decrease its line thickness. To remove all formatting changes to your object, click Clear formatting. Under Borders & lines you can create and edit a border for your text box, change its colour or increase/decrease its line thickness. To remove all formatting changes to your text, click Clear formatting.
Slides has some more advanced tools for formatting text, we talk about these later on.
The Slide tab has more ways to add and remove slides from your deck. You can use it to apply a layout from your theme builder by clicking Apply Layout, or open the Motion pane to select a new transition by clicking Transition. Change background opens up a new window where you can choose a colour fill or image fill for your slide. Once selected, you can choose whether to apply it to a single slide, or click Add to theme and apply it to your overall theme.
The Arrange tab includes the alignment tools. You can use these to easily arrange and position objects in an ordered way. Tip: It’s worth noting that right clicking on objects and then using the alignment options on that menu is a lot more practical!
There’s a lot of easy-to-miss functionality hidden in the Tools tab.
The Spelling menu houses standard tools such as Spell check. Personal dictionary lets you add words and phrases that wouldn’t show up in a normal dictionary. This way, these words don’t get flagged as misspelt. This would be useful for a company name, for example.
You can also find the standard Dictionary feature in the Tools tab.
Unlike the Tools tab in Google Docs, Google Slides unfortunately doesn’t have an option for viewing word count. A way to see the word count for your presentation is to click File > Download as > Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx) or Plain Text (.txt), or copy and paste the text from your presentation into a Google Docs file.
From the Tools tab you can also open up the Preferences window. There are lots of features in this window, so it’s well worth exploring! Here you can toggle some standard Slides features on or off, such as Automatically detect links or Automatically capitalise words. This could be useful if you have a particular style you need to adhere to, such as all lowercase. You can also toggle Smart Compose and Smart Reply on and off to help you write sentences and comments using predictive text. Clicking on the Substitutions tab in the Preferences window, which allows you to set up autocorrect actions where you type one thing and it automatically replaces it with something else. This is great for copyright symbols, trademarks, superscript and subscript.
If you’ve previously presented your deck and allowed your audience to ask questions using the Q&A feature, you can view the history of this by clicking Q&A history – handy if you need to remind yourself of common questions asked!
The Tools tab is also home to the Voice type speaker notes feature, which we cover here.
You can click Linked objects to open up the Linked objects pane, which allows you to find and update charts, tables, or slides that are linked to other files, such as Google Sheets. This makes it easy to keep your data up to date across different Google Workspace documents.
The Tools tab also houses Accessibility options. Click on Accessibility to toggle useful accessibility features that help make Slides easy for everyone to use, such as screen reader, braille support and screen magnifiers.
Finally, the Tools tab is where you can find the Activity dashboard (as long as you’re part of the same organisation as the file owner).This useful feature allows you to track viewers, comments, and sharing history for your presentation. It also gives you the option to adjust privacy settings, helping you keep total control of your work while enabling easy collaboration.
There’s a lot to cover here, so see below for more on using Extensions in Google Slides.
The toolbar is home to all the helpful tools you need to create a dazzling presentation. We’ll guide you through some of Slides’ more unique tools so you’re ready to get stuck in with confidence. Note that the toolbar changes depending on what you click on — for example, if you click on an image, it will display options for formatting and replacing that image. These will be hidden when you click off the image.
Paint format: This handy tool allows you to copy and paste the formatting of one object and apply it to another. Select a shape and click the Paint format tool. Then select another shape and watch the formatting of the first shape (fill colour, line colour, line width) be applied. You can also double-click the paint format tool to continue applying the formatting across multiple objects! To turn the paint format tool off, simply press Esc.
Zoom: Google Slides’ zoom functionality is somewhat limited. Selecting the Zoom button in the toolbar only allows you to zoom to 50, 100 or 200 percent. One way to more accurately adjust your zoom increments is to use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL+ALT++ and CTRL+ALT+-. Tip: After clicking the Zoom button in the toolbar, you can select a particular area on your slide to zoom in on by drawing a box over it.
Image: You can use the Image button to insert images from Drive, the web, Google Slides, your webcam, from your computer, and more. However, Slides has a lot of functionality for inserting and editing images that isn’t confined to the toolbar. Learn more about inserting and editing images in Slides here.
Bullet points: While we don’t recommend presenting lots of bullet points and text-heavy content, the bullet tool is quite easy to miss in Slides, so we thought we’d call it out here for those of you wondering how to add bullet points to your presentations! The Bulleted list drop down sits towards the end of the toolbar. Simply highlight your text, select the drop down, and choose the type of bullet you wish to use. Next to the Bulleted list is the Numbered list, which you can use if you want to use numbers and letters to organise your text points instead. You can also use CTRL + SHIFT + 8 to transform your text into a bulleted list, while CTRL + SHIFT + 7 will give you a numbered list.
Align: The best way to align text is to select it and then click on the Align button in the toolbar. Click to show a drop down menu which will allow you to justify selected text , centre it, or align it left or right.
The Theme builder (known as the Slide Master in PowerPoint) controls the look and feel of your deck. Use it to set custom layouts, backgrounds, colour schemes and fonts for all your slides. It’s best to set up the theme builder at the very start of your project to create a consistent set of slides. Be mindful if you edit the theme slide; any changes to the theme will retroactively affect the slides you’ve already built, so be sure to check through the whole presentation afterwards!
Theme builder: To launch the theme builder go to the Slide tab in the menu bar and click Edit theme. You can also access this by clicking View in the toolbar and selecting Theme builder. Down the left hand side you will see a number of different slides. At the top is the theme slide. This is like the control centre for the rest of your deck. Any changes you make to this slide will be applied to all other slides in the theme builder, and all slides within your presentation, too.
Slide layouts: If you want to make a specific type of slide, like a title slide or agenda slide, you’ll want to edit the different slide layouts which sit below the theme slide. You can make small tweaks, like adjusting background colours or adding images, or larger adjustments, like repositioning text boxes. Unlike with the theme slide, these changes will not be applied to all slides; only slides which use that specific layout will be affected.
To edit a layout, first locate it down the left hand side of the theme builder view. You can also create a new one by right clicking on any layout and choosing New layout. Once you have the right layout selected, you can begin editing it like any other slide. Add, move, alter, or delete objects to achieve your desired layout style. Right click on the layout in the left hand panel and select Rename layout. A new window will appear where you can give the layout a new name, like ‘Agenda slide’.
Applying layouts to slides: When you are done editing your layouts, have a thorough check over your presentation. Once checked, you can exit the theme builder by clicking X in the right hand corner. All changes will be automatically saved.
To apply a particular layout to a slide, right click the slide thumbnail in the left hand panel and click Apply layout. This will bring up all the layout options from the theme builder for you to choose from. Need a bit more info? Check out our article on editing the Google Slides theme builder and layouts.
Themes are a collection of slide layouts that you can apply to your presentation. Google Slides comes with a number of pre-made themes that you can use straight out of the box, or customise via the theme builder for a more personalised look and feel.
You can also create your own, personalised theme. To do this, open up a blank presentation and make the necessary edits to the theme slide and layouts, as explained above. Then go to the Slides home screen, select Template gallery in the top right. When the new window opens up you can submit a new template in the top right corner. In the next window you can choose a presentation to use as a template. You can also submit a copy of this file by checking the box at the bottom. Checking this box will duplicate your selected presentation and move it to your personal Drive. This means that nobody but you can edit it. This is very useful, as when you edit a deck that is saved in the template gallery, it automatically updates it in the gallery. It’s best practice to make sure nobody but you has access to the original file to help preserve it. Once you’ve set all that up you can create a new deck using that template by selecting New > From a template and navigating to it in the template gallery.
Choosing a theme: When you create a new Slides deck (by clicking + New and then Google Slides from your Google Drive homepage) you will be presented with a range of themes when your new deck first opens. You can also go to the Slide tab in the menu bar and select Change theme. You can click on any theme in the panel to preview it. Once chosen, simply close the panel by clicking the X in the right hand corner. To edit this theme, simply open the theme builder and follow the steps as explained above.
Changing the theme: If you are working from an existing Slides document and want to change the theme to one of Google’s preset options, go to the Slide tab in the menu bar and select Change theme to preview Google Slides’ pre-set options. If you choose a new theme, it will be applied to all of your existing slides, so check through all your slides once the change has been applied to ensure it looks how you want it to.
Tip: Once your content has been moved onto the correct template you can clean up other themes in the deck. First, navigate to View > Theme builder. By clicking the name of your theme, you can see the other themes in the deck in a drop down menu that appears. To delete them from the deck, simply click the name of the theme, then select the top panel labelled Theme and press delete. As long as no slides in the deck are using that theme, it will delete the theme (and all layouts connected to it) from your document.
Importing a theme from PowerPoint: Although you can import themes from one deck to another, it’s important to be careful when using the built-in Import theme function because it can merge with the existing one, causing irregularities. Also, your Theme builder can get cluttered with templates when slides are incorrectly copied and pasted from other sources. If you want to try this function out anyway, go to the Slide tab in the menu bar and select Change theme. At the bottom of the theme panel you can select Import theme. In the new window, navigate to the upload tab and click Select a file from your computer. Choose another Google Slides deck or PowerPoint file, and Google Slides will then extract the theme from it.
Because importing themes using the native function is so temperamental, we’ve discovered a workaround which works like a charm, and is especially useful if you have a PowerPoint theme that you’d like to import into your Slides deck. Find a deck on Drive that uses the theme you want to import into your Google Slides deck. Copy a slide that uses the correct template. Open up the deck that you’d like to import your theme into and paste your slide into it. Select Keep original styles. This will ensure that the entire theme is brought over (including fonts, colours, and guides) whilst keeping it separate from other themes in the deck. Now that your theme has been imported, you can create new slides within it by right clicking on the slide that has the correct theme and clicking New slide.
Changing and customising theme colours: To create a set of custom colours that appear in the colour palette for your theme, go to the theme builder, select colours just below the menu bar which opens up the colours tab on the right-hand side. You can change the colours for each theme from there.
Changing slide size: Google Slides defaults to 25.4 x 14.29cm, which is a 16:9 aspect ratio. Note that this is smaller than PPT, so if you’re copying objects or text from a PPT deck opened with Google Slides, they will paste into Google Slides much larger than the original.
There’s an easy way to toggle between set slide dimensions or create a custom size. Go to Page setup in the File tab. Use the drop down to choose a standard size (Standard 4:3, Widescreen 16:9, Widescreen 16:10) or choose Custom to input your own dimensions. Once chosen, click Apply.
If you do choose to use a custom size for your deck, make sure you do so with good reason. The standard 16:9 ratio is widely used because it fits perfectly on most widescreen screens and projectors. A custom size may not work so well, and may make inserting slides from other decks quite tricky! Learn more about how to change slide size in Google Slides.
Tip: It’s best to set a custom slide size before adding your content. Adjusting your slide size afterwards will stretch everything on the slide to fit!
The Explore tool has two key functionalities that we’ve found useful. Firstly, it generates suggestions for appropriate layouts based on what’s on your slide. Secondly, it allows you to search Google within your Slides document.
Opening the Explore panel
Accessing the Explore tool is simple. All you need to do is go to Tools in the menu bar and then click Explore in the drop down menu. After you’ve located, simply click — this will open the Explore panel sidebar.
After the Explore panel is opened, the first thing you should notice on the right-hand side of your screen is a column with a number of suggestions for slide layouts. These layouts can help you quickly and easily create more interesting presentations. Simply select a slide that has content on it, and select one of the layouts in the Explore panel. The slide will immediately adopt the layout you have selected. Bear in mind that if you have too much content on a slide, Explore won’t generate a layout for you. It may help to have the Explore panel open as you add content so that you can see the layouts being generated in real time.
Suggested layouts don’t only change when you update text. If you insert an image, graph, chart, or GIF, the layouts will also update to offer you more appropriate layout options for the specific type of visual you have included. For example, to insert an image, select Insert, choose Image, and choose one of the options provided to either upload an image from your computer, the web, drive, or another location.
Once you’ve selected a layout, any new slides you add from that slide will follow that same layout, helping you keep your presentation consistent. You can also use Explore to create different layouts for different slides depending on the content. However, be aware that your slide might need to follow a different layout to one you’ve used previously, and Explore won’t create any more layouts that are consistent with the first one. The individual layouts it suggests will be inconsistent with one another and so the more you use the Explore function, the more inconsistent the whole deck will be when it comes to things like title alignment and image positioning, etc.
Ultimately, this feature is good for giving you ideas for new layouts, but it’s important to be aware of potential inconsistencies across different slides.
Adding information from other documents or web sources
The Explore tool can do more than just create layouts — it also lets you quickly and easily locate something online or on Drive without opening a new tab on your web browser or exiting your presentation. All you need to do is navigate to Explore, type in a search term in the search bar, and your results will appear.
After searching for something, your search results will show in categories. There are three categories which will appear, Cloud search, Web, and Images.
Cloud search allows you to search through Google Drive, Gmail, and more. To filter by type, click the filter icon. It’s possible your administrator may have turned off this option, in which case it may not appear and you’ll need to search manually through Google Drive in another browser tab instead.
Web uses Google Search to help locate information from the web related to your presentation.
Images uses Google Image Search to aid in finding images from the web related to your presentation.
Let’s look at the Explore tool in action.
Let’s say you are giving a presentation on marine mammals, and you need to locate pictures of seals. Simply navigate to Explore, type ‘seal’ in the search bar, and press enter. Now, click Images from the three options just below the search bar.
To preview any images at a larger size, just click on them. If you decide you are happy with the image, simply click the blue Insert button at the top of the preview window. If you’ve located an image you want to add to your presentation from the Explore panel and don’t need to preview it, all you need to do is click the + that appears on the top right corner of the image when you hover over it. The image will be added to the slide you have selected, with a link to the original source page attached.
Reminder: Consider usage rights when selecting an image. Be sure to consult guidelines on fair use and licensing when searching for images online. Site owners often use licences to indicate if and how others can reuse content on their sites. The licence details should provide guidance on whether or not an image can be used for your intended context, and whether to include appropriate attribution for the image if necessary.
Once you’ve selected your images, you can use Explore to place them in layouts by clicking the back arrow in the Explore panel until you get back to the layout options.
You’re not just limited to searching for images. Type a keyword into the search bar, click the Web tab, and you’ll be given Google search results related to your keyword. If you want to find out more, simply click on one of the links and a new tab opens in your browser taking you to that webpage. If you need to see more results, simply scroll down to the bottom of the Explore tab and select See all results on Google.
To locate files in Drive, simply search in the Explore tab using the process we’ve outlined above and click Cloud search in the three options below the search bar.
How to add an extension to Slides: Extensions (also known as add-ons) are independent apps you can add to Google Slides to increase its capabilities. You can find the full range of add-ons by clicking the Extensions tab in the menu bar and choosing Add-ons and then Get add-ons. This opens a new window with some featured add-ons, as well as a search bar that allows you to look for something specific. Once you’ve found one to try, click on it and then click Install. You may then be asked to verify your login details and allow permission settings. Once you’ve clicked Install, the add-on will be added to Slides. You can find all of your downloaded add-ons in Add-ons under the Extensions tab.
Our favourite add-ons and extensions: We’ve compiled a list of the handiest Google Slides add-ons that help us do our jobs better, so you can get some inspiration!
To insert a text box, click the Text box button in the toolbar, or Insert > text box from the menu bar. Then, drop the text box onto your slide by clicking with your cursor. You can now begin typing. The majority of text editing tools can be found in the toolbar. Here you can change the font, colour, and size of your text, add bullet points, or change its alignment. We’ve put together a list of the 10 best fonts to use in Google Slides. It’s worth noting that not all text needs to sit inside a textbox. You can also type directly into a shape by simply double clicking it and starting to type.
Slides has a handful of more advanced tools for text formatting. Access them by selecting the object or text box you want to format, and clicking Format options to the far right of the toolbar or by right clicking on the object. This opens up a number of different options. Here we will focus on Size & rotation and Position.
The Size & rotation options allow you to resize objects more precisely. You can adjust the Width and Height of objects,, by typing directly into the provided input fields. If you want to resize your object without it being warped or stretched, check the Lock aspect ratios box.
The alignment tools will suffice for most users, but if you need more precision the Position option provides a more accurate way of positioning an object or text box on the slide. The Rotate tool allows pinpoint accuracy when rotating an object by enabling you to enter a specific degree. Size & rotation and Position format options can be applied to all objects on slides, not just text boxes!
Text fitting: Text fitting tools give you more control over how your text sits within a shape or text box. The Indentation tool lets you fine-tune paragraphs of text without having to alter the shape they sit within. You can play around with this by typing in the size of your desired indentation, in inches or centimetres (depending on your document’s language settings), into the provided input fields. Within the Indentation menu there are some further options for controlling indentations. Click the drop down labelled Special and select one of the following:
- None: Select for text to follow the default indentation parameters
- First line: Select to adjust the indentations on the first line of a paragraph only
- Hanging: Select to adjust the indentation for all lines of text except the first one
You can use indentations to control the spaces between bullet points and the text that connects them, too.
To automatically adjust how a text box interacts with the text within it, use the Autfo-fit function. This is found directly below the Indentation tool. You can choose from Do not auto-fit, (makes the text box height fully adjustable regardless of how much text used), Shrink text on overflow (to make the text smaller if you make the text box smaller), or Resize shape to fit text (to make the text box get larger or smaller to fit your text as you add or remove content). If you choose Shrink text on overflow, be aware that Google Slides adjusts your line spacing, font size and gaps between letters to ensure it all fits. Using this setting across the deck will make your text boxes largely inconsistent!
While Indentation allows you to fine tune specific paragraphs of text, Padding is used to adjust the spaces between the edge of the shape and the text. By adjusting the four Padding values (top, bottom, left and right) you can control the margins of your text box. For example, if you wanted to perfectly left-align an object with some text, you can adjust the left-hand margin to 0.
At the time of publishing, there is no way to fully wrap text around an image or shape in Google Slides — these tools are your best options! Read more text formatting tips.
To insert a table onto your slide, go to the Insert tab in the menu bar and hover over Table. In the drop down menu you are given the option to select how many columns and rows you want (for example, 2 x 5). Once selected, your table will appear on your slide.
You can now move it around your slide or make it bigger or smaller. Each cell can have its individual indentations and margins adjusted in the same way as a normal text box. You can add or remove columns and rows by right clicking on a cell and selecting the appropriate command. You can format the lines in a table by highlighting the cells and selecting the small arrow in the top right corner of the selection. This allows you to select the appropriate line in that selection, which will allow you to quickly edit all the lines at once.
At the time of publishing, Google Slides does not support custom fonts. You cannot import them, and there are currently no add-ons for custom fonts in the add-ons store. However, there is a way to add a few new fonts to your existing Slides font library. In the toolbar, click the font drop down and select More fonts. This opens up a new dialogue box with a selection of Google fonts that you can add to the default list. Click on a font to install it. Installed fonts will turn blue, with a blue tick next to them. To remove a font, simply click on it again and the blue tick will disappear. Once you are happy with the fonts you have added, click OK.
To insert a shape, click the Shape button in the toolbar, or Insert > Shape from the menu bar. Select the shape you want to use, then either:
- Click your slide to drop a perfectly proportioned shape at a default size
- Click and drag (whilst holding down the SHIFT key if you want to retain proportions) and drag your shape to an appropriate size
Adjusting the size of Slide objects: Whether you’re working with an image, shape or text box, there are some simple but effective ways you can edit them to achieve a more customised look and feel.
To adjust the dimensions of an object, click it to make the blue adjustment nodes appear. Click and drag any one of these nodes to alter the size of your object. If you want to make your object bigger or smaller whilst maintaining its proportions, hold down the SHIFT key whilst dragging the corner nodes. You can also rotate your shape by clicking and dragging the small circular node above the object. Holding the SHIFT key will lock those rotations in 15-degree increments.
Grouping and ungrouping objects: If you have objects on your slide that intersect with one another — like a text box layered on top of a shape, or a complex bar chart — you may wish to group them so that they stay together in a particular order when moved or resized. Grouping is also very useful for applying edits to multiple objects at the same time.
First, select the objects you want to group together (it can be as many as you like). Then right click the objects and select Group, or use keyboard shortcut CTRL + ALT + G.
Now, when you select one object, all other grouped objects will be selected as well. This makes them easier to move around your slide and edit.
To ungroup your objects, select the group and right click on Ungroup, or press keyboard shortcut CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + G.
Note: you can only group elements that are on the same slide as one another, though it is possible to group shapes even if they are outside the bounds of your slide template.
Grouping objects can be helpful if you want to format multiple shapes or text in the same way at once. For example, if you need to change the font style, colour and size of all of your slide text, you can group the textboxes together and edit them using the ribbon as normal. These changes will apply to all elements within your group.
Using the alignment tools: To ensure that your slides are slick and professional, you need to use Google Slides’ handy alignment tools. To show you how to make the most of these tools, we’ll demonstrate how you could use them to format an agenda slide.
Select all four agenda points and right click on your selected object (or click the Align drop down in the Arrange tab). Here you will see a range of alignment options. Click Left so that all points line up along the left hand side.
Next, with all four points still selected, right click again (or click the Arrange tab again), but this time choose Distribute and then Vertically. This spaces all of your points evenly between the top and bottom point.
Now you have a perfectly aligned and distributed agenda slide!
Another handy tool here is Center on page, again found by right clicking on the object (or in the Arrange tab). Choosing either Horizontally or Vertically positions your selected object in the centre of the slide on the horizontal or vertical axis.
To insert an image, click the Insert image button in the toolbar, or go to Insert > Image from the menu bar to upload from your computer, Drive, Google photos, or even directly from your camera. If you have a web link for a specific image, select By URL and paste the link into the dialogue box.
Slides even has an in-built Google Image Search feature. Simply select Image > Search the web.
Note: Images sourced through this method claim to be copyright-free, but to be safe, it might be best to use images that you are sure are free or that you have permission to use.
Images need to be under 50MB, less than 25 megapixels and in JPEG, GIF, or PNG format to upload correctly.
You don’t have to stop at simply uploading your image. There are lots of ways you can edit an image to achieve a more polished, on-brand look and feel. Click here to learn how to make your slides more visual with clever image editing.
Cropping images: If you only want to show a specific part of an image, you can simply double click the image to start cropping. You can also click on the image and then choose Mask image (next to crop image) in the toolbar. This will allow you to crop the image into different shapes such as a circle or a triangle.
Once the cropping interface appears, pull the black handles to adjust the mask that will hide the it parts of the image that you don’t want to see. This tool can be a little fiddly, and if you accidentally select one of the blue image nodes instead of a black handle, you could end up distorting your image instead of cropping it. If this does happen, just hit CTRL + Z to undo or hit the Undo button in the toolbar and try again!
More image formatting: There are some other formatting options available when editing images. Simply right click on your image and then choose Format options. Recolour allows you to recolour an image with a colour filter that’s based on your theme colours. Adjustments lets you adjust your image further by changing the opacity, brightness, and contrast.
Adding and editing GIFs: Google Slides is very GIF-friendly, and you can insert and edit animated GIFs in the same way as static images. If you edit a GIF (by cropping or resizing, for example) it will still work, playing in both Slideshow mode and on your slide as you edit! See more cool stuff on Google Slides and GIFs.
It’s all well and good knowing how to add images and shapes to Google Slides, but we want to show you how to use them more effectively to help tell your story better, too. At BrightCarbon, we strongly believe that text-heavy slides won’t help you achieve much besides sending your audience straight to sleep. When audiences are forced to read slides like this, they naturally tune out everything that the presenter is saying because it’s impossible to read and listen at the same time! So instead of presenting distracting slides like this, try toning down the text and introducing more visuals. People respond much better to interesting visuals, and what’s more, are much more likely to listen to what you, the presenter, is trying to say.
So, here are our four simple tips for using more visuals to not only make your slides look more attractive, but to increase audience engagement and help get your message across!
Use charts, processes, and timelines to relay information: Charts and timelines are an excellent way to show information visually, and help audiences see results or trends straight away. What’s more, they are an easy visual for anyone to create. We talk a bit about how to use linked charts elsewhere, so here’s an example of a simple but effective timeline, using nothing but Google Slides shapes. Looks better than a list of bullet points, right?
Use visual metaphors to help tell stories: Combining simple but striking visuals with a little bit of text can be a great way to get your audience thinking. This kind of simple imagery is great for segue slides or section headers (to change the tone before heading into a new section).
Replace bullet points with simple iconography: Consider removing large chunks of text and replacing them with simple icons that speak to the larger themes of your slide. Icons are much more visually interesting — and less daunting — than long blocks of text! Here’s a great tutorial that shows you how to make a lovely two-toned icon directly in Google Slides in less than four minutes!
Use high quality photography- not stock photo clichés: Before we move on to choosing the right images, it’s important to source images that you have permission to use. Aim to use high quality imagery from free websites like unsplash.com, rather than pulling straight from Google Images, where the majority of content is copyright-protected. Don’t underestimate the power of photography. The image choice you make will have an impact on how your brand is perceived. The right photography can create a positive atmosphere and sense of finesse around you and your presentation; cheesy stock images will have the opposite effect!
This image uses unrealistic and cheesy imagery that the audience may struggle to relate to. They may, as a result, not take you or your brand seriously. There’s also a lot of text on the slide, which the audience will read instead of listening to what you are saying.
This image, on the other hand, shows a more realistic depiction of events that audiences may be able to better relate to. Using high quality, modern-looking stock-photography also helps to paint your brand and your presentation in a better light. Reduced text means your audience can focus instead on the imagery and on listening to what you are saying.
When it comes to graphs and charts, Google Slides doesn’t have the largest library to choose from, but it does cover the basics and is incredibly easy to use, customise, and update. There are four different types of built-in charts you can create; Bar, Column, Line and Pie. Each chart works in a similar way, so here we’ll show you how to add a simple pie chart.
Adding data to your chart:
Go to the Insert tab in the menu bar, click Chart and then Pie. A basic pie chart will appear on your slide. To edit the data in your pie chart, select the chart and click the small drop down arrow in the top right-hand corner that looks like a ‘v’, then click Open source.
This opens a new Sheets doc where you can start to edit the data for your pie chart. Once you have inputted all of your data, close the Sheets doc and click the UPDATE button that will appear next to the pie chart on your slide. The pie chart will now adjust to reflect your new data.
Be aware that when you create a new chart that’s linked to a Google Sheets doc, the source file will be added to your personal Drive. You may wish to store this in another folder on your Drive so that you don’t delete it by mistake!
Customising the look and feel of your chart:
You can recolour the individual segments of your pie chart by clicking the small drop down arrow in the right hand corner that looks like a ‘v’, then clicking Open source to open up the data in Google Sheets.
In Sheets, double click any segment of your chart to open up the Chart editor. Here, beneath Series, click the Colour drop down to choose a colour for the segment. Repeat on each segment until your pie chart is the desired colours. Once done, close the Sheets doc and click the UPDATE button. The new colour scheme will now be applied.
If you’re looking to totally recolour your chart, you can also use the recolour method discussed earlier in the images section.
Inserting a GIF: Adding an animated GIF to a slide works in exactly the same way as adding an image. In the menu bar go to Insert > Image > Upload from computer, then select the GIF from your computer. The GIF will appear on your slide and begin looping. You can edit it in the same way you would edit a static image such as a JPEG.
Inserting a video:
Go to the Insert tab in the menu bar and select Video to open up the Insert video window. At the top of the window you will see two tabs; YouTube and Google Drive. These are the two places you can get videos from.
The YouTube tab shows a search bar and the YouTube logo. Type into the search bar to search for any video on YouTube. As with any media you use in your presentations — make sure you have the rights to use the video you choose. Click on the video you want to use and then hit Select. The video will now appear on your slide. You can move it around or resize it like any other Slides object. To watch the video, click the play button in the centre of the video. This works in both normal and Slideshow mode. If you already have a link to a YouTube video you wish to use, paste it into the box labelled Paste YouTube URL here. Once entered, hit Select and the video will appear on your slide.
If you have a local copy of the video you want to show (in MP4 format, for example), you can upload it to Drive and then use the Google Drive tab to search and locate it. Once you have found your video, hit Select and it will be added to your slide.
If you need to set a specific start and end time for your video (so that it only plays a chosen section of the content) here’s how to do it. Once your video has been added to your slide, right click it and select Format options. In the new window that appears to the right, click the Video playback drop down. From there you can input the desired start and end times by typing into the boxes. Once completed, the video will start and end at the chosen times whenever it is played, in both Slideshow mode and normal view.
You can also choose when your video plays. On click will play when you click anywhere on the slide, Automatically will just start the video without any action from you, and Manually means that you’ll need to hover over the video and click Play to get it to start.
To add audio to your presentation, go to Insert in the menu bar and then click Audio. A pop-up window will appear allowing you to choose to upload audio from Drive or paste in a URL. An audio icon will appear on the slide. Be mindful that this icon will be visible — if you don’t want it to be visible when presenting, just move it off the slide. To adjust your playback options, right click on the audio icon mentioned above and go to Format options. The top drop down is Audio playback. From here you can choose when your audio starts playing, the volume, and whether you want it to loop. You can also choose whether or not you’d like your audio to stop when moving onto the next slide.
Just like images, using animation can bring your presentation to life and make it much more engaging for your audience. Everyone prefers a fun animation to a boring block of text! Well-chosen animations can help your audience absorb more information and remember your key messages — and adding movement doesn’t have to be a chore. Read on to find out more about the power of motion in your Google Slides presentations.
Transitions: Google Slides has a number of transitions to help you segue from one slide to the next. Go to Transition in the toolbar to open up the motion pane. In this panel click the None drop down to see the different options.
Whilst it’s tempting to use a number of different transitions to jazz up your deck, we advise keeping things simple, so as not to distract from your story. Typically, we like to use Dissolve (fades between slides) for most slides in the deck, as this is the most subtle way to transition between slides without distracting the audience. At the end of each section, we like to use Fade (fade to black) to accentuate the break between sections in a more obvious way.
If you want to apply one transition to all slides, click Apply to all slides below the transition drop down.
The motion pane is nice and easy to access. Either click Transition in the toolbar, or select an object, go to the Insert drop down in the menu bar and select Animation. Here you can view all the animated objects in your presentation, and access the range of animation options that Google Slides has to offer. You’ll see that there aren’t as many options as some other presentation software, but the essentials are there.
To animate an object begin by selecting it, then click Add animation in the Motion pane. Using the animation drop down (which defaults to Appear before an animation has been selected) you can choose from a variety of animation options. Options such as Fly in and Fade in make your objects appear on the slide. Conversely, Fly out and Fade out make objects that are already on your slide disappear.
You can also choose when your animation will begin with the Start condition drop down. Your animations will happen in order from top to bottom as they appear in the Motion pane. Choose between On click (animation starts when you click with mouse or keyboard), After previous (animation starts after the previous animation) or With previous (animation starts with the previous animation, or directly after the previous slide has ended).
Slides makes it easy to animate paragraphs of text individually by checking the By paragraph checkbox when creating your animation.
Adjust the Duration slider to set the time it takes for your animation to complete.
As a web-based program, Slides makes great use of hyperlinks, so you can easily navigate between Slides, web pages, and other documents whilst you present.
Hyperlinking text and objects
Long, complicated URLs can make slides look messy. If you want to provide a link to an external website in your presentation whilst keeping your slide looking slick and professional, you need to know how to hyperlink text!
Highlight the text that you want to turn into a hyperlink — one or two words is best. Right click the text and scroll down to Link. This will bring up a new dialog box, in which you can paste the link of your chosen website. Click Apply, and you’re done!
Now, whenever you click that link (even in Slideshow mode) a new browser tab will launch, directing you to the web page. You don’t have to link to just web pages; you can link to other Google Docs and Sheets too. This same method of linking works on shapes, images and any other kind of Slides object.
Linking to a slide within your presentation
You may need to link between different sections of a presentation, or easily navigate back to an agenda slide. To do this, highlight the text or select the object that you want to act as the hyperlink, right click it and scroll down to Link. Be aware not all objects have this option when right clicking! You can add a link to these objects by using the keyboard shortcut: CTRL + K. In the dialog box, you should see a drop down at the bottom with a button that says Slides in this presentation. Click this to reveal a choice of Slides in your deck. Select the one you wish to hyperlink to and hit Apply.
Linking to a slide in a different presentation
It may also be necessary to link to a particular slide in a different presentation. To do this, first open the deck that you want to link to, and click on the slide you want it to open on. Whilst on that particular slide, copy the hyperlink from the browser bar.
Now, in the deck you want to link from, right click the text or object that will act as the hyperlink, scroll down to Link, and in the dialogue box, paste the hyperlink next to where it says Link. Click Apply. Now when you click your hyperlinked text or object, a new browser window will launch your presentation, starting on the exact slide you want!
Google Slides has a wide range of collaboration features. It’s purpose-built for collaborating in real time, offering a number of different ways for interacting with colleagues or friends. No more version control problems, emailing files back and forth, or being pushed to download anything. Here’s how you can make the most of these features:
Sharing a presentation: Sharing means granting someone access to view, edit, or comment on your presentation. This is handy if you are collaborating on a project, would like a second opinion on your own work, or need multiple team members to work on the same document at the same time. Google’s sharing settings allow you to set restrictions, so you are always fully in control of the document you share.
To share a Slides presentation, click the blue Share button in the top right of your screen. Alternatively, head to the File tab and select the Share button. This will open a new window where you can input the email addresses of the people you want to share with. To the right of the email addresses you will see a drop down that lets you toggle whether recipients will be able to edit, comment, or simply view your presentation. You can adjust an individual’s access later by navigating to the share window and clicking the drop down next to their individual email addresses. Another really useful feature here is the Notify checkbox, which lets you share a presentation with someone without them getting an email about it — great if you want to avoid bombarding someone with emails or if you want to share something for later use without immediately drawing the recipient’s attention to it (perhaps while you finish working on it!)
Advanced sharing settings: Advanced sharing settings are found in the sharing window mentioned above, under General access. Below People with access you can see the sharing status of your presentation.
This may be set to Restricted, meaning only you have access, Shared with your organisation, or set so that Anyone with a link can view. Please note that setting your presentation so that Anyone with a link can view means that it is no longer private. Anybody with that link can access your presentation. To learn more about sharing your Google Slides deck, head here.
Working with multiple users: So, you’ve shared your presentation with a few people and given them editing privileges. But how does this kind of collaboration work in practice? Here are a few handy pointers to get your collaborative efforts off to a flying start.
There’s only one document
Sharing your presentation with somebody else does not mean you’ve shared a separate version of it. There is only one master version, and any edits you make will be made in your collaborators’ document, too. This is great for real-time collaboration, especially if you have a deadline or need something to be reviewed as you work on it. You can revert your document back to Private at any time in the Sharing settings, or make a private copy by going to File > Make a copy.
Working together is easy
Google have tried to make working with multiple collaborators as simple as possible. You can see which collaborators are in the presentation in the top right panel. Collaborators will appear as colourful circles with initials, or profile pictures if the user has one. You can hover over the circles to reveal the full details of the collaborator.
You can even see what your co-workers are editing. Whether they are typing, drawing a shape or adding an image, you can see them do this in real-time, and they can see you in turn. This visibility over other people’s work means you can ensure everybody is on the same page and complete work faster. You can also follow collaborators around by clicking their headshot, which can be useful if you’re on a call with somebody in the deck and need to keep up with what they’re looking at. Whilst these collaboration features can be a total game changer, they’re best used in moderation. We’d advise against lurking on slides your co-workers are editing for too long, as it could be a little off-putting for them to know that you’re watching their every move!
Using Comments: If you and your co-workers aren’t editing a presentation at exactly the same time, you may want to leave notes for them to pick up on later. To leave a comment, click the Add comment button in the toolbar, or go to the Insert tab in the menu bar and choose Comment. You can also just right click on a slide to add a comment, or press CTRL + ALT + M. A box will appear next to your slide where you can begin typing. To assign an action to a specific person, type the @ symbol and then type their email address. An option will appear for you to Assign to that person. When you @somebody in a comment, they will receive an email notification, so you can be sure they won’t accidentally miss it.
Using the chat feature: If you need to chat with collaborators in real-time, Slides has a built in chat feature, too. To use it, at least one other collaborator must be in the presentation at the same time as you. To Show chat, click the blue person with the speech bubble icon in the top right, next to the profile icons. This will open up a separate window where you can type to chat. Close the chat window by clicking the same button used to open it.
Email multiple collaborators
One final collaboration feature worth mentioning here is emailing collaborators from Slides. This is handy if you want to send a message to all collaborators. In the File tab click Email and then choose Email collaborators. Here you can write a message to be emailed to as many or as few collaborators as you want. Simply check the names of the people you want to send the message to in the right hand column and click Send.
Read more about getting the most out of online collaboration.
Using Google Slides doesn’t necessarily require an internet connection. If you use Chrome or Edge as your browser, you can use Slides offline. This is particularly handy if you want to make changes to a Slides deck on the go, or if you are due to present to an audience in a location without an internet connection. If you’re running low on storage, you can prioritise saving individual files by going to File and clicking Make available offline or by right clicking on the file in Drive and selecting it from there.
Setting up Google Slides for offline use: Firstly, make sure you’re connected to the internet and using Chrome or Edge as your browser. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to download the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension, which can be found here. In Google Drive, click the icon shaped like a gear in the top right, and select Settings. Under General, make sure that the Offline checkbox is ticked and click DONE. You may see a notification box appear in the bottom left of your screen that says Setting up offline.
Next, navigate to the Slides homepage and click the main menu button (represented by an icon with three horizontal lines) in the top left hand corner. Go to Settings and make sure that the Offline button is toggled on (to the right). You can now disconnect from the internet and begin working offline!
Google Drive should still load as normal via Chrome browser. You can open up a presentation as normal and begin making changes. Next to the title of your presentation you should see a small lightning bolt icon. This indicates that you are now working offline. You can make changes and even present your deck as you normally would when working online. When you’re done making changes, close your presentation as normal.
Syncing offline work when you reconnect to the internet: Changes made to an offline presentation will automatically sync when you go back online and open up that file in Google Drive. It’s worth noting that if a collaborator made changes to the online document whilst you were working on it offline, both sets of changes will sync up in the same file. If this happens and you are unhappy with conflicting changes, use the Version history functionality to revert back to an earlier version.
If you are using the online version of Slides, your presentation is constantly being updated and saved as you work. This is why the Slides browser version doesn’t have a save button — it’s done automatically, meaning you don’t have to worry about losing unsaved work if your computer crashes or you accidentally close your browser window.
Saving your work to desktop: If you really want to save a copy of your Slides file to your desktop or a flash drive, you will first have to convert it to a different file type, such as Microsoft PowerPoint. We talk you through how to do this step by step later on.
Duplicating your work: There are two easy ways to make a copy of a presentation. From Google Drive, you can simply right click on any presentation, and choose Make copy from the drop down menu. Alternatively, with a presentation open, go to File > Make a copy….
Version control: If you’re used to working with desktop presentation software, you may be in the habit of emailing different versions of a presentation back and forth. This can get confusing, especially when it comes to consolidating changes across versions.
With Google Slides this isn’t an issue, because everybody is working from one single document. This means that if you make a change it will be visible to all collaborators who have access to the document. This is very handy, but what happens when you want to revert to an earlier version?
Version history: Slides makes it easy for you to see all previous iterations of your deck and revert back to an earlier version if necessary. Here you can view all past editing rounds, going right back to when the presentation document was first created.
Go to File and choose Version history, then click on See version history. Click on the different dates to see a preview of how the document looked at the time. If you are just looking for a particular slide, line of text, or image that was deleted, you can simply copy and paste it from the earlier version, close the Version History window, and paste it into the latest version.
If you want to completely revert your document back to an earlier state, click the Restore this version button at the top left. If you choose to do this, bear in mind that your current version will be completely overwritten by the version you are restoring.
Naming versions: If there are multiple collaborators working in your deck, the Version History window can sometimes be difficult to keep track of, especially if there are multiple iterations in the same day. To better track the different iterations that you work on, you can easily name different versions. To do this, in the Version History window, double click the date of the version you want to name. This opens up a dialog box in which you can type a new name.
For more help on using this feature, check out this YouTube tutorial on getting the most out of version control in Google Slides.
Google Slides has tried to make it easy to convert to and from other presentation software. Here we’ll cover the basics of how to convert using some popular programs. Keep in mind that different presentation software have different features, so certain slide elements like animations or colour palettes may not convert exactly. When converting any file type, always have a thorough check through your slides for any errors before presenting!
Converting Google Slides to and from Microsoft PowerPoint:
Converting to and from PowerPoint is, in theory, very straightforward with Slides – however, complications are very common. It’s worth noting that the animation functionality in particular is very different in each program, so it’s likely that some animations may be lost in the conversion process. This is definitely something worth checking before presenting!
To download your Slides document to your desktop as a PowerPoint file, simply click File in the menu bar and hover over Download. In the drop down menu, select Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx).
Converting from PowerPoint to Slides isn’t much trickier – though again, glitches are common. From your Google Drive homepage, click the + New button and select File upload, then choose the PowerPoint file to upload from your computer. Once your file has been uploaded, locate it in Drive and right click. Select Open with and choose Google Slides.
If you want to insert PowerPoint Slides into an existing Google Slides deck, click File > Import Slides and then choose a file you have already uploaded to Drive, or alternatively upload a new one from your desktop. Once uploaded, you will then be given the option to choose which specific PowerPoint slides you want to import into your Google Slides deck.
Learn more about the dos and don’ts of PowerPoint to Google Slides conversion.
Converting Google Slides to and from Apple Keynote: Converting Slides to Keynote and vice versa is slightly trickier as it involves the additional step of converting to PowerPoint. There’s currently no way to convert directly between Slides and Keynote.
To convert from Slides to Keynote, click on the File tab in the menu bar and select Download, then choose Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx), and save your presentation. In Keynote, click on File in the menu bar, click Open, then select your converted PowerPoint file in the new window. Your presentation should now import to Keynote. To save it as a Keynote file, click File in the menu bar, then Save.
To convert from Keynote to Slides, open your Keynote, go to File in the menu bar and select Export to > PowerPoint (.pptx). In the new window, select Next > Export. From Google Drive, create a new Slides presentation, then select the File tab in the menu bar and Import Slides. You should then see a new window where you can upload your converted PowerPoint file. From here, you can select specific slides to import, or choose all of them by clicking All in the top right corner. When you are happy with your slide selection, select Import Slides.
Converting Google Slides to and from Prezi: At the time of publishing, there is no way to directly convert to and from Prezi and Google Slides. You could use PowerPoint as a vehicle to import your Prezi into Slides. A way to convert Prezi to PowerPoint is exporting it as a PDF, then copy and pasting each individual slide into PowerPoint. This is not a very efficient technique, though, and means that some of your colours or slide objects may be corrupted, and all animations would be lost in the PDF conversion process.
When creating and sharing your Google Slides presentation, you should keep in mind the accessibility needs of your audience. There are lots of tools available to increase the accessibility of your deck — check out this blog post for details.
Using Slideshow mode: At some point you are likely to want to practise running through your deck and will want to see what it looks like from the audience’s perspective. At BrightCarbon, we recommend always clicking through your deck in Slideshow mode at least once before presenting! For a deep dive into Slideshow mode, head over to this article.
To see your presentation in Slideshow mode – whether working online or offline – click Slideshow in the top right corner to go straight into standard view. Alternatively, you can click the drop down to the side of the Slideshow button for a few different options.
- Presenter view: In this view you can see a separate window from which you can do things like time your presentation, see thumbnails of the previous and next slides, begin Audience Q&A and also read your speaker notes. For more information, see our guide on Presenter view in Google Slides. For more on audience Q&A and speaker notes, see below.
- Start from beginning: This opens up the standard presenting view, the same as what you would see if you simply clicked Slideshow. This view is what your audience will see when you present to them, so it’s great for practising.
- Present on another screen: This option is exclusively for people who have access to Chromecast. If you have a Chromecast device connected to a TV screen that you want to present from, you can click this button to cast your presentation to that screen. If you want to show your presentation on a large screen but don’t have Chromecast, you can always do things the old-fashioned way and connect a HDMI cable from your laptop to the TV screen, using normal Presenter view.
Present to a meeting: If you want to present your deck directly in Google Meet, you can do this without leaving Google Slides. Navigate to the top right-hand corner of your screen and click on the video camera icon next to the Slideshow button. You can then join an existing meeting or start your own using the options in the drop down menu. Once you’re in a meeting, click on the video camera icon again and click Present this tab to share. It’s worth noting that we’ve found it’s generally easier to just share your screen from whatever video calling software you’re using — but if you work exclusively in Google Workspace and use Google Meet a lot, this feature may be worth checking out.
Speaker notes: Speaker notes can be accessed by dragging up from the bottom of your Slides window. Hover your cursor over the horizontal line in the bar at the very bottom of your window, and it should turn into a hand icon. Click down and drag up to reveal the Speaker notes bar. Here you can type anything from the script of your presentation to additional notes about the content of your slides. Speaker notes won’t be visible when you present unless you use Presenter view.
Slides also has a nifty built-in tool for voice typing speaker notes. Access the Speaker notes bar, then go to Tools in the menu bar and select Voice type speaker notes. This will launch a new window to the left of your slide with a microphone icon. When you are ready, click this icon and begin speaking. You should see your words appear as text in the Speaker notes bar. We have tested this out and found that it works pretty well if speaking clearly into a good microphone, like the kind found on a headset.
Audience Q&A: Audience Q&A is a fantastic feature that makes your presentation more interactive and engaging for participants. Encouraging users to ask questions virtually can inspire confidence and, if timed correctly, can give you more time to think about the best answers, rather than being caught off guard with on-the-spot questions.
In Slideshow mode, hover your cursor towards the bottom left of the screen to reveal the Presenter bar. From here, click the three dots to reveal a pop-up menu, then click More > Q&A to launch a new window. Clicking Start new begins the Q&A and generates a link that participants can follow to ask their questions. Participants do not need a Google account to sign in, and can check a box to remain anonymous should they so wish. When a question is asked, it will appear in the window, ready for you to answer! This is particularly useful if you don’t like answering questions on the spot and would value the opportunity to review and prepare answers, perhaps in a short break during your presentation. Reviewing the questions before bringing them up in front of your audience is a good idea — there is no built-in moderation filter, meaning participants could ask almost anything and remain completely anonymous.
Pointer: In Slideshow mode, hover your cursor over the Presenter bar and select Turn on the laser pointer. Clicking this button turns your cursor into a red laser pointer with a tail, so that the audience can easily see any areas that you wish to highlight.
To view Slides’ basic print settings, go to File > Print (you may need to scroll down to find it). This opens up a new window with a print preview of your Slides, and a few options for customising your printout. Next to Pages you can choose whether to print All pages, or type in a Custom range. You can also toggle Colour options, Paper size and the Image quality that is printed.
Printing slides with speaker notes: To print slides with their speaker notes, go to File > Print preview. This opens a new window where you can preview what your slides will look like when new print options are applied. To the top right of the modified toolbar, click the button that says 1 slide without notes. In the drop down, choose 1 slide with notes instead. This doesn’t mean that only one slide will be printed — you can choose which slides are printed in the normal Print settings. Once selected, the speaker notes will appear in a box to the side of each slide. You can now click Close preview in the far left, and navigate to the Print settings in the File tab to print your document. Or, with the preview still open, click the Print tab in the modified toolbar.
Printing slides without skipped slides: If you have a number of skipped slides throughout your presentation that you don’t want to print, you can easily toggle this off. Go to File > Print preview. To the top right of the modified toolbar, click the Include skipped slides button to toggle it on and off. When the button is completely white it is toggled off; when it is yellow it is toggled on. You can now click Close preview in the far left.
Learn about other methods for sharing your Google Slides presentation.
Google Slides top keyboard shortcuts: We’ve compiled a list of the most used – and most useful – Google Slides keyboard shortcuts, so you can create amazing presentations that are quicker, smarter, and slicker than ever before!
Our pick of the best add-ons for Google Slides: Level up with improved productivity, performance and added functionality- all by using a few simple add-ons! We’ve rounded up our favourite Google Slides add-ons here.
Editing images in Google Slides: Make your presentation more compelling with these few short and simple image editing tips for Google Slides. Guaranteed to make your slides look slicker and your audience feel more engaged!
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We’ve got some great Google Slides masterclasses that run regularly on our events page. We also offer live in-person or online Google Slides training for small groups — why not invite us to train your team?Leave a comment
Senior design consultant; View Joey Dudley's profile
Google Slides training lead
Google Slides templates are a great starting point to improve the look and feel of your presentation. They’re fab as they’re accessible and low cost, but it’s important to remember that even well-designed presentations can be ineffective if the content is text heavy.
If you’re creating a presentation and someone has added images of slides or images of data, it makes it really hard to develop a deck that’s consistently on brand, animated and updatable! Transforming these images into editable slides will make your life so much easier!
Throughout all stages of this project we have had a world class experience. The team was uber-responsive and open to feedback and collaboration to ensure we were getting the best presentation possible.Marc Chaanine Jamaica Bearings