If there’s one thing that gets our goat at BrightCarbon its people “presenting” their slides without using present mode. The slides are much smaller, you lose any animations, and it looks unprofessional – wave goodbye to an interested and influenced audience. It takes time to create engaging, visual slides, so why undermine all your effort at the crunch point? Delivering a presentation properly really isn’t that tricky! With Google Slides’ Present mode toolbar, it’s super easy to present in Google Slides navigating your presentation effortlessly.

How to present in Google Slides: Previous, Slide Selector and Next

How to use Autoplay in Google Slides

How to use the Pointer in Google Slides

How to add captions to Google Slides

How to make Google Slides full screen

How to finish a presentation in Google Slides

The Present mode toolbar is only accessible when you view a presentation in Present mode. To do this, click the white Present button in the top-right corner of your screen. Once your presentation has started, hover your mouse in the bottom-left corner of the screen to bring up the Present mode toolbar. If you move your cursor away from this section of the screen, the toolbar will disappear.

How to present in Google Slides: Previous, Slide Selector and Next

The three buttons on the Present mode toolbar are Previous, Slide Selector and Next. You can use the arrows to navigate through your presentation. You can also advance to the next slide by clicking anywhere on your screen. However, to move backwards you’ll need to use the toolbar or the left arrow key on your keyboard.

Screenshot of present mode toolbar in Google Slides

Between the Previous and Next arrows is a box displaying the current slide number. If you click the number, a list of all the slides in your presentation appears. You can use this to jump to any part of the deck as you present. This is handy if you need to skip past certain slides or if you’re running a conversational presentation and want to tailor your deck to a specific audience.

How to use Autoplay

In Google Slides it’s possible to set a deck to present itself automatically.

To find this option, follow these steps:

  1. Click the three dots on the Present mode toolbar to bring up the options menu.
  2. Select Autoplay.
  3. Choose how long you’d like your slides to play for.

A word of warning: you can’t set different times for each slide in your deck with this tool. This feature is ideal if you want slides to just run in the background – perhaps at an event or before a webinar. However, if you’re presenting to an audience and talking through content, we’d recommend advancing the slides manually, so your delivery is more natural, and you aren’t rushed or held back by the autoplay.

Screenshot of the present mode toolbar options with Autoplay options selected

How to use the Pointer

One of the topics we highlight in our Presentation Skills training course is that interacting with your slides helps you deliver a truly effective visual presentation. Turning towards your slides and using your Audience Attention Device (AAD, or hand!) to point out specific elements is a great technique for ensuring that audience attention is focused precisely where you want it to be – that is, on following your visuals as they build, adding depth of meaning and emphasis to your presentation.

If you’re presenting your deck online or using a large screen that towers above you, your hands aren’t much help. However, the Present mode toolbar offers a convenient Pointer feature when you present in Google Slides. This acts like a laser pen that you can use to gesture towards certain parts of your slides, like a particular data point or important section of a graph.

Like with Autoplay, when you present in Google Slides click the three dots on the right of the toolbar to bring up the options. Then select Turn on laser pointer. Alternatively, you can tap the L button on your keyboard. Either of these options will transform your cursor into a red laser pointer that you can move across your screen using your mouse or touchpad.

Screenshot of the Laser pointer option in the presenter mode toolbar

How to add captions

If you have a microphone, you can enable the Captions function when you present in Google Slides. Captions make your presentation more accessible and help participants follow along if sound quality isn’t great. Read more about why captions are important.

To access captions in Google Slides, you need to re-open the options menu by clicking the three dots on the Present mode toolbar, then select Captions preferences. To turn captions on, click the Toggle captions button or simply press Ctrl + Shift + C whilst in present mode.

Screenshot of the Google Slides captions options

How to make Google Slides full screen

Changing screen size can be helpful if you’re switching between multiple tabs, displaying images or delivering more than one presentation. You don’t have to close your presentation completely. Instead, you can shrink your presentation and then easily click back onto it once you’ve finished showing your other tabs or images. Super slick!

You can change the size of your presentation to fill the whole screen, or you can keep it the size of your browser window. Just click the Exit/Enter full screen option in the options menu or click Ctrl + Shift + F to toggle between the settings.

Did you know that you can put Google Slides into full screen presentation mode by changing the URL? This means you don’t need to click the share button and work out which mode you’d like to present in. Instead, change “/edit#slide=id” at the end of your deck’s URL to “present?slide=id”, then hit Enter. Your slides will play automatically in full screen, and you can use your keyboard keys or mouse to navigate as normal. The only difference is that you won’t be able to exit this mode and return to your Slides deck or take a peek at your speaker notes.

How to finish a presentation in Google Slides

Once you’ve made it to the end of the presentation, click the Stop Presenting button in the options menu or simply hit the Esc key on your keyboard.


And that’s a wrap! If you’ve found this blog post useful, check out some of our other blog posts written by our Google Slides gurus: How to share your Google Slides presentation or Editing the Google Slides Master and Layouts. And, if you’re ready for the big time, head over to our ULTIMATE guide to Google Slides.


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Emma Trantham

Principal consultant

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