Unlimited WordPress themes, graphics, videos & courses! Unlimited asset downloads! From $16.50/m
  1. Business
  2. Google Slides

What Is Google Slides? Great (Free) Online Presentation Software

This post is part of a series called How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Use Google Slides (Quick Start Guide)

Everyone has heard of Google's search engine. What you might not know is that Google also offers a suite of professional office tools. Google Slides is one of those tools.

If you haven't considered Google Slides, you should. It's a great alternative to other professional office tools. And even better—it's free online presentation software.

What is Google Slides free online presentation software
What is Google Slides? Should you (and your team) start using it? (photo source)

In this article, we'll introduce you to Google Slides (also known as Google Drive Slides). You'll learn what you can do with Google Slides. We'll also hook you up with some resources that'll get you started with Google Slides online presentation software quickly. Finally, we'll share a good source for professional themes and templates for Google Slides.

1. An Introduction to Google Slides

When you set up a free Google account, several business software tools become available to you. Those tools include:

Google first offered a presentation program for Google Docs in 2007. Google's free presentation software has been named Google Slides since 2012.

While the basic Google Slides is free, Google's premium office software, GSuite, includes a presentation tool called Slides that's similar to Google Slides.

Because Google Slides is cloud-based, you can access it from any computer with an Internet connection. Simply log in to your Google account. It also supports real-time editing and collaboration.

If you're ready to get started with Google Slides, you'll find help in this multi-part learning guide: How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).

Is Google Slides for you? Next, read a discussion of who might find Google Slides useful.

2. Who Needs Google Slides?

Anyone who needs to make a presentation can benefit from using Google Slides. This includes small business owners, students and educators, public speakers, and more.

Google Slides is free, so that makes it an ideal tool for anyone on a tight budget. That also means it won't strain your budget if you're a small business owner or a student struggling to make ends meet. You can use Google Slides if you've already got a free Google account set up.

Google Slides is also a great option for anyone who doesn't regularly give presentations and can't justify purchasing presentation software, but who occasionally needs to create or edit a presentation.

Like many tools found in Google Drive, a strength of Google Slides is the ability to collaborate. Anyone with an Internet connection can be given access to the presentation, regardless of the computer platform they use. This makes it a great tool for project teams.

Now that we've explored who might want to use Google Slides, let's examine some of the advantages of using it.

3. Google Slides Benefits

Google Slides is a serious contender when it comes to presentation software. If you choose Google Slides as your presentation tool, here are some of the benefits you'll enjoy:

  1. No cost alternative. Unlike some of the pricier alternatives, Google Slides is available for free to anyone with a Google account. Choose Google Slides and your wallet will thank you.
  2. Real-time editing. With Google Slides, the version of your online presentation is always the most current. You don't even have to remember to save it.
  3. Collaboration. Do you work with a team? With Google Slides, teamwork isn't a problem. Share your presentation with anyone who has Internet access, no matter what type of computer system they use.
  4. Secure sharing. Control who has access to your presentation when you share it. Depending on the level of sharing you set up, co-authors can view, comment on, or edit presentations.
  5. Revision history. Not only does Google Slides auto-save your professional presentation, it also keeps track of past versions. Go back to an earlier version of your presentation using the Revision History feature.
  6. Compatibility. With Google Slides, import slideshows from other presentation software tools. You can also export presentations to other software tool formats.
  7. Professional features. Google Slides includes professional presentation features such the ability to format slides, change text, import images, import videos, and more.
  8. Template availability. Google Slides has a wide variety of templates available from both Google and from third-party vendors such as Envato's GraphicRiver.
  9. Online publishing. Google Slides lets you publish your presentation online. Use a secure link to share your presentation or embed the presentation into your website.

For a more detailed comparison between Google Slides and the other leading presentation software tools, read our article:

Next, let's take a more in-depth look at how you might use Google Slides:

4. What Can You Do With Google Slides?

Whether you've chosen Google Slides as your presentation software or you're still considering software presentation tools, you may wonder exactly what you can do with Google Slides. Here are just a few uses for it:

1. Create and Present a Professional Presentation

Google Slides is ideal for authoring and presenting a professional presentation. Presenter tools include speaker notes and the ability to set up a Q & A session during your presentation. 

For a more complete look at creating a professional presentation, turn to our new eBook, The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations

How to Make a Great Presentation Free eBook

2. Share a Presentation Online

Use Google Slides to create a slideshow presentation that runs automatically online whenever anyone accesses it. With Google Slides, you can create a shareable link to your presentation for use with social media. You can also generate code that allows you to embed your presentation into your website. To get step-by-step guidance on sharing your presentation online, study this tutorial:

 3. Create a Timeline

Many business presentations revolve around a timeline. Whether you're on a project team or a sales team, your work probably includes timelines.

You could create a timeline with Google Slides using drawing tools. That takes a bit of work though. With the right Google Slides template, creating your timeline presentation is easy. To see details on how we used a GraphicRiver template to quickly create a timeline, review this tutorial:

4. Work as a Team

As we mentioned earlier, Google Slides is a great tool for teams. The following screen shows how to share a professional Google Slides online presentation. Then we'll touch on how you define each user's level of access:

Google Slides Sharing
When you share a Google Slides presentation, you can set the level of access the user has.

As you can see, the level of access varies by user according to how you define it. You can set sharing up so that some users can only view the presentation. Others can comment or even edit the presentation. You can also remove access if someone leaves your project.

5. Add a Video

A great way to add a little excitement to your presentation is to add a video. In today's multi-media saturated environment, adding video can give your presentation the edge it needs to hold your audience's attention.

For example, maybe you want to include a few words from your company's founder in your presentation—but they can't be there in person. With Google Slides, simply link to an .mp4 or YouTube video with a short talk from your founder. Voila! Your founder is now part of your presentation.

For a closer look at how to add video to your Google Slides presentation, study this tutorial:

6. Create a Presentation for SlideShare

SlideShare is free online platform that allows you to share presentations with a wider audience. The SlideShare site states that it has over 80 million users. That's a lot of users! Since SlideShare ranks as one of the top sites worldwide, publishing a presentation on SlideShare can grow your market share.

With Google Slides, you can create a compelling and professional presentation to upload to SlideShare and reach potential customers. Discover some examples of top SlideShare presentations for inspiration in this article:

5. How Can I Get Started Using Google Slides?

After reading all about Google Slides, you may think "I'd like to get started with Google Slides, but I just don't know what to do next." This section is for you.

Your Google account gives you access to all of Google's office suite, including Google Drive and Google Slides. If you've already got a Google account, you can access Google Drive even if you've never used it before.

If you don't have a Google account, learn how to set one up by following the steps in this Google tutorial:

Once you've signed up for a Google Account, access Google Drive. From Google Drive, you can work with Google's free office suite tools. Those tools include Google Slides (and Gmail too, if you want it).

To get started quickly and easily with Google Slides, follow the instructions in this Quick Start Google Slides tutorial:

For more in-depth instructions on how to use Google Slides, turn to our Google Slides learning guide for a series of helpful tutorials: How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).

6. Where Can I Find Themes and Templates for Google Slides?

A slide presentation template or theme makes it easier for you to create a professional-looking presentation quickly. With a professionally designed template or theme, your presentation is sure to make a good impression, as they come with lots creative slide designs that are ready to use. The appearance of your presentation is especially important if you are creating a business slideshow.

Normally, you'd expect to pay big bucks to get someone to design the "look and feel" of your professional presentation. By investing in a template or theme, you get that same professional "look and feel" at a fraction of the cost. Business branding has never been easier.

Plus, it's not difficult to add a professional theme or template to your presentation. This tutorial shows you what to quickly change the theme of your slideshow:

Of course, Google includes some professional themes that you can access from within Google Slides. But everyone who uses Google Slides can use those basic themes.

For a more unique look for your presentation, turn to a professional third-party provider. For example, the professional designers at Envato's GraphicRiver marketplace offer many top-notch Google Slides themes and templates. Here are just a few examples of our trending Google Slides Themes:

Conclusion + More Helpful Presentation Resources

Whether you're a business professional, a student or teacher, or just someone who needs to give a presentation—it's worth looking at Google Slides online presentation software.

You'll find that Google Slides offers similar features to many other presentation software packages at no cost to you. Depending on your needs, Google Slides may be your best choice for a presentation software tool.

In this article, we've provided an overview of Google Slides (also known as Google Drive Slides) that answers the question: what is Google Slides? You've learned about some of its features and benefits. We've even provided some resources to help you get started quickly with Google Slides online presentation software for free.

So, what's holding you back? Set up a Google account and start using Google Slides for your presentation needs today. Also, grab our new eBook for more help:

Learn All About How to Make Great Presentations (Free PDF eBook)

Take the knowledge you gained in this tutorial further with our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. Grab this PDF Download now for Free with your subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.

Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation

It will help walk you through the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.

Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.