Whether you're a student, a small business owner, or just someone who works with presentations—you don't always have a choice in the type of file you receive to work with. If you use Google Slides to create and update presentations, receiving presentation files in a non-Google Slides format doesn't have to slow you down.
Google Slides can readily convert presentations in other formats to a Google Slides presentation format. That means that if you are asked to change or update a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, for example, you can do it using Google Slides.
The conversion process is not difficult, but many Google Slides users may not realize it's available. Or you may know it's available, but not know exactly how to go from PowerPoint to Google Slides. That's where this tutorial comes in.
This tutorial explains in detail how to convert a PowerPoint presentation to a Google Slides presentation. You can review the quick video guide below, or read through the step-by-step written instructions. We'll also take a brief look at some of the best practices for importing PowerPoint files as well as provide tips on how to import other file types.
How to Convert PowerPoint to Google Slides (Quick Video)
Here is a screencast to quickly show you the first method of converting a PowerPoint presentation to Google Slides:
Before you go further into this tutorial, download our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. (It's available for FREE with the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.)
Now let's look at more options you have with importing into Google Slides, starting with best practices.
7 Best Practices for Importing Files to Google Slides
Conversions between file types has never been easier—especially when it comes to importing files from PowerPoint into Google Slides. Generally speaking, the process to import files is quick and easy.
Here are some best practices:
- Control Quality. Start with a clean original presentation. If you start with a low-quality presentation before import, you'll wind up with a low-quality presentation after import. Make sure that slides are designed well and your images are clean. Also, be sure that your fonts are readable and the links work.
- Manage File Size. If there are slides you do not need in the presentation you are importing, delete them before you import the file. This reduces the file size and the amount of work you have to do after the conversion.
- Pay Attention to File Type. If the presentation file type you are trying to import into Google Slides is not supported, go back to the package that was used to create it and export it to a supported format (such as PowerPoint). Retry your import. (Depending on the original file type, you may lose some features or formatting after import).
- Be Aware of Font Changes. Google Slides may not match the fonts you originally used. Instead, it converts your fonts to the closest available font. The fonts may not be an exact match. (Google Slides uses web fonts by default and PowerPoint uses locally installed fonts.)
- Expect Format Changes. Likewise, your formatting after the import into Google Slides will be similar to your original formatting, but it may not be the same. You may need to tweak the presentation to improve the formatting.
- Reinsert Links. Currently, links embedded into a PowerPoint presentation do not work after the presentation is imported. Make sure you know where each link is supposed to go before you convert the file so you can add the hyperlinks after conversion.
- Don't Import PDFs. At this time, a PDF File cannot be imported as a Google Slides presentation or into one. However, you can take a screenshot of a PDF and insert the image into your Google Slides presentation.
The import process for importing PowerPoint files into Google Slides is like the import process for all Google Drive tools. To read a complete tutorial on Google drive file conversions, review:
How to Convert a PowerPoint Presentation to Google Slides Format
There are basically three methods to import a PowerPoint presentation to Google Slides. All are relatively easy. In this tutorial, I'll go over each method.
Note: This tutorial is based on the Google Chrome browser on a PC using Microsoft Windows. The process is very similar for other browsers and systems, although some screens may vary slightly.
Method 1: Open Presentation in Google Drive
The first method to import a PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides is through your Google Drive. Here are step-by-step instructions:
Step 1. Drag Your PowerPoint File Into Google Drive
Start with your Google Drive open. Open the folder where you will store your imported presentation:
Notice the area in the in the center with the words
"Drop files here." With Google Drive still open, open File
Explorer in Windows and find the PPTX file you would like to import into Google
Click on your PowerPoint presentation in File
Explorer and drag it into Google Drive. You should see the file in your Google
Step 2. Open and Convert the PowerPoint File
You are now ready to convert the PowerPoint PPTX file to Google Slides. Double-click on the file in Google Drive to open it. You should see the following screen:
Notice the folder icon next to the words Open with Google Slides in the top center of the screen. (Outlined in red above.) Click the down arrow to the right of the words:
From the drop-down menu, click the Google Slides option. Your presentation file opens in Google Slides in editable format. The conversion is automatic:
Notice that the filename in the upper left corner of the presentation still contains a PowerPoint extension. You should change that, because the file is now in Google Slides format. If you look in your drive, you will notice two files: your original PowerPoint file that you dragged into your drive and the converted file you just created.
Step 3. Edit File in Google Slides
Now that you've converted your PowerPoint presentation to Google Slides format, you can edit it just as you would any other Google Slides presentation.
Method 2: Import From Within Google Slide
The second method of importing a PowerPoint presentation involves opening a blank Google Slides presentation. Here is the process:
Step 1. Open a Blank Google Slides Presentation
Click the New > Google Slides:
A blank Google Slides presentation opens:
Click File > Open:
The Open a File dialog box appears:
If the PowerPoint file you wish to convert is on your Google drive or if it is shared with you, select the My Drive or Shared with Me option from the top of the dialog box. When you've selected the file to be converted, click the Open button.
In this example, we are going to Upload a file to be converted from our computer. We click the Upload option on the right side of the dialog box. The dialog box that opens is very like what we saw on Google drive in the first method:
Step 2. Select Upload from Your Computer
We could open File Explorer and drag the file to be converted into Google Slides from here if we wished.
In this example, we click the Select a file from your computer link to see a list of the files on your computer:
Navigate to the folder where your PPTX file is stored. Select the file and click the Open button in the lower right corner. Your presentation is then converted to Google Slides.
Step 3. Edit Files in Google Slides
You can now edit your PowerPoint presentation in Google Slides.
Note: There's no need to open the presentation with Google Slides since Google Slides is already open. Also, the imported file does not have the PowerPoint extension by default with this method.
Method 3: Import Some Slides into Google Slides
The third method of importing a presentation is to import only parts of a presentation into an existing Google Slides presentation or into a new Google Slides Presentation you are creating.
Step 1. Open a Google Slides Presentation
If you are creating a new presentation, follow the first step of Method 2 above to open a blank Google Slides presentation.
If you are importing slides into an existing presentation, open the Google Slides presentation you want to import slides into.
Step 2. Import PowerPoint Slides
Once your Google Slides presentation is open, click File > Import Slides from within the presentation:
The Import Slides dialog box appears:
From this dialog box, you can select a presentation to import from on your Google Drive or you can use the Upload option to select a presentation on your computer. Once you find the file you want to import slides from, click on it and click the Select button in the lower left corner.
The Import Slides dialog box displays with thumbnails of the slides in the presentation:
To select individual slides to import, click on each slide to select it. Click the Import Slides button in the lower right corner of the dialog box when you have finished selecting slides.
To import all the slides, click the All link in the upper left of the dialog box and click the Import Slides button.
The slides you have chosen to import appear below the current slide in your Google Slides presentation.
Step 3. Edit the Imported Slides
Once you've imported the PowerPoint slides of your choice into your Google Slides presentation, you can edit them as you choose. They are now part of your new Google Slides presentation.
The conversion process is automatic, but you may notice font and formatting differences after importing.
Converting Other Types of Files to Google Slides Format
PowerPoint is one of the most popular presentation packages. For that reason, we've covered how to convert PowerPoint presentations to Google Slides format in detail in this tutorial.
However, there are other presentation types that convert fairly well to a Google Slides format. In my own experience, presentations created with Open Office Presentation software (.odp files) can be converted easily. Here is an example of an Open Office presentation before and after conversion to Google Slides.
Open Office presentation before Google Slides conversion:
Open Office presentation after Google Slides conversion:
As mentioned earlier, if you have a presentation in a format that doesn't convert to Google Slides, return to the software the presentation was created in. Save the presentation in PowerPoint PPTX format and try to import it again. (Note though, that your fonts and formatting may change on import.)
You can work with presentations that were originally created in PowerPoint or other packages, even if those packages are unavailable to you. The key is to convert from PowerPoint to Google Slides format.
Converting a PowerPoint presentation to Google Slides is not difficult, once you understand how.
More Great Presentation Resources
Learn the best presentation strategies in our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations (grab it now for FREE). Get your ideas formed into a powerful presentation that will move your audience!
Also, if you are trying to decide between using Google Slides or some other type of presentation software, here are some more resources to help you make your decision:
- PresentationsShould Google Slides Replace PowerPoint in Your Workflow?Laura Spencer
- PresentationsPowerPoint vs. Keynote vs. Google Slides: What Is the Best Presentation Software?Laura Spencer
- Presentations15+ Best Presentation Software Alternatives to PowerPoint (of 2017)Laura Spencer
What's your favorite presentation app? Do you find yourself having to convert presentation file types between popular apps on a regular basis?