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14+ (Quick) Professional Tips to Using Google Slides Better

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This post is part of a series called How to Use Google Slides (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Make a Timeline on Google Slides With Templates
How to Create a Professional Google Slideshow Presentation

Google Slides is a great tool for creating a professional presentation. Even if you feel comfortable with the basics of how to use Google Slides, you may not realize everything it can do. 

There are killer techniques you can use to save time and make an even bigger impact with your Google Slides presentation—but you can't use them if you don't know them. In this article, we share over 14 pro tips to help you get the most out of using Google Slides.

Using Google Slides
Are you ready to start use Google Slides better?

Guide to Making Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)

Before going further, be sure to grab our free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It will help you master the entire presentation process, from: initial idea, through to writing, design, and delivering with impact.

Making Great Presentations eBook Free Download

Also, if you need to learn more about the basics of Google Slides, check out our comprehensive Google Slides tutorial series

Now let's dive into these powerful tips to using Google Slides like a pro:

Tip 1. Use a Pro Google Slides Template

A template is a great way to get a professional look for your Google Slides presentation without spending a lot of time on design or hiring a pricey designer.

To use a presentation template or theme, first rename it. Then, simply find the professionally designed slides you like and type over them with your own information. You can quickly delete the template slides you don't need, use those you do, and add your own custom photos and info.

Learn how to change Google Slides themes in this tutorial:

Hint: You can find professional Google Slides themes at GraphicRiver or Envato Elements. Or browse through our best Google Slides themes in this feature article: 

Tip 2. Cut and Paste a Slide from One Presentation to Another

If you give a lot of presentations, you may find yourself in a situation where you want to re-use a slide from one presentation in another. Don't recreate the slide—there's a better way.

You can copy a single slide from one presentation to another. Or you can copy a single slide from a theme or template. This can be a huge time-saver if you create a lot of presentations.

Here's what to do:

Open the Google Slides file with the slide you want. Click the desired slide and Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard.

In the example below, I'm copying a slide from a theme into an existing presentation:

Copy a Slide
You can copy a slide from one Google Slides presentation to another.

Open the presentation you are creating. Click on the slide before where you want to insert the copied slide. Click Ctrl + V to paste the copied slide from the clipboard to the new presentation:

Copied slide pasted into Google Slides presentation
The indicated slide was pasted from the clipboard.

Notice the clipboard icon in the image above. Edit and modify the copied slide, as needed, from within your presentation.

Tip 3. Master the Master Slides Tool

Have you ever wanted to change an element in your Google Slides presentation that appears on multiple slides and been unable to make the change?

Chances are that you're trying to change something that is defined on a master slide or master layout. Master slides and layouts can be changed, but to do so you have to open the Master Slides tool:

Google Slides Master Slides tool
Illustration of the Google Slides Master Slides tool.

Changes that you make on the master slide are reflected on your entire Google Slides presentation. Changes you make on a master layout affect all other slides using that layout.

It's important to completely learn how to use Google Slides powerful Master Slides tool. For everything you need to know about the Master Slides tool, study this helpful tutorial:

Tip 4. Dictate Your Presentation Text

For computers with a microphone, use your voice to dictate speaker notes in your presentation. Here's how:

Make sure your microphone is turned on. Click in the Speaker Notes section of your screen. Select Tools > Voice type speaker notes.

The Microphone icon appears on your screen:

Accessing the Microphone icon
Use the Voice type speaker notes option to dictate text.

Click the Microphone icon and begin speaking. Your text is added to the speaker notes as you talk:

Dictating speaker note text
With this option, text is added to the Speaker Notes as you speak.

When you have finished, click the microphone icon again to turn voice typing off. Click the X in the upper right corner of the icon to close it.

Hint: While you're speaking, you can add punctuation by stating the name of the punctuation you want to add. For example, saying "period" adds a period. Saying "comma" adds a comma. You can even say "new paragraph" and the text starts a new paragraph.

Tip 5. Use an Image as a Background

Images add a lot to a presentation. An image can illustrate a point, often better than words can. An image also adds interest to a slide and draws in your audience. An image can even be used symbolically to represent an important concept.

But you can do more with images than simply put them onto your slides. A background image can help make your presentation be more visually appealing. And it's easier to use an image as a background in Google Slides than you might think.

Here are complete instructions on how to use images in Google Slides, including step-by-step instructions for using an image as a background:

You can find an assortment of pro quality, royalty-free images on Envato Elements. in addition to ready-to-use photos, you also get access to templates, fonts and creative assets—all with unlimited downloads for a single monthly fee.

Tip 6. Put an Image in a Shape

We've already discussed the importance of using images in your Google Slides presentation to add interest. We've also explored how to use a photo as a background.

But background images are just one cool thing that you can do with photos in Google Slides. Another trick that many presenters don't know about is the ability to import an image into a shape.

To set your presentation apart with images embedded in shapes, learn how to do it in our tutorial on working with images:

Tip 7. Answer Audience Questions With Q & A Tool

Google Slides has a neat feature that allows you to accept questions through the Internet while you are making your presentation. This tool can also be helpful for live webinars.

When you activate the Q&A feature during your Google Slides presentation by clicking on the Q&A icon, the audience sees the words Accepting questions with a weblink:

Google Slides QA Tool
The Q&A Tool provides a URL where your audience can go to ask questions on your presentation.

To ask a question, your audience goes to the weblink and types their question into the prompt:

QA prompt for presentations
To ask a question about your presentation, an audience member types it into the prompt on this screen.

Your audience can even ask their questions anonymously. There's also a feature that lets other presenters rate the questions that are being asked by giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down

If you are going to give the presentation again, review past questions as part of your preparation. Select the Tools > Q&A history menu option, a panel displays on the right showing past questions:

Past audience questions in Google Slides
The Q&A History panel displays audience questions from past presentations.

Tip 8. Add Sound to Your Presentation

Currently, the Insert drop-down menu in Google Slides doesn't have an audio option. But, that doesn't mean you can't add audio to your presentation.

Basically, there are two ways to add sound to your presentation:

  1. Link to a streaming music service like Spotify, SoundCloud, or Apple Music.
  2. Insert a YouTube video that has a soundtrack you want to use.

Caution: Make sure that you have permission to use the soundtrack or music you choose.

The following tutorial takes you through the process in detail:

Tip 9. To Collaborate, Share Your Presentation

Collaboration is a great way to make sure your Google Slides presentation is the best it can be. The give and take of ideas often results in a higher quality end product.

Like all Google Drive based tools, Google Slides allows you to share your presentation.  Using the Share button to share your presentation with a specific person:

Google Slides Share dialog box
Enter the names of the people you want to share your Google Slides presentation with.

Or, create a shareable link to send out in email or use on your website:

Google Slides shareable link
Click Get shareable link to get a link you can embed on websites or otherwise share.

Google Slides allows you to define the level of access others have and what they can do. You decide whether they can edit the presentation, comment only, or just view it.

Define the level of access to Google Slides presentations
You control the level of access someone has to the Google Slides presentation.

Once your presentation is shared, those who have the right access to your presentation can use the Comments button to provide you with feedback and ideas.

Tip 10. Add Technical Terms to the Personal Dictionary

Under the View menu option, choose Show spelling suggestions. When this option is selected, possible spelling errors show up underlined with red.

However, Google's spellcheck is not perfect. Often company-specific terms, names, and abbreviations show up with the red underline.

To fix this, go to Tools > Personal dictionary. Add your specific terms. They will no longer be flagged as possible spelling errors:

Google Slides Personal dictionary
Add unusual terms and phrases to the Personal dictionary to keep them from getting flagged as errors.

If you later decide to remove a term from your personal dictionary, open it up again. Click the X to the right of the term you want to delete and click Save.

Tip 11. Go Back to an Earlier Version of Your Presentation

Suppose you update your existing Google Slides sales presentation to include some new features of your product. Then, at the last minute, your company decides not to release those new features.

This could mean a major rewrite of your presentation, but with Google Slides it doesn't have to mean that.

Use the revision history under File > See revision history to see a panel listing older versions of the presentation. The Revision history panel appears to the right of your presentation:

Google Slides Revision history panel
Use the Revision history panel to restore an earlier version of your presentation.

Click on an older version to display it. A prompt appears at the top of the screen asking if you want to Restore This Version:

Confirm that you want to restore a revision
Click the RESTORE THIS REVISION button to revert back to an earlier version of your Google Slides presentation.

Another prompt asks you to confirm the restore. After the confirmation prompt, the older version becomes the current document.

Tip 12. Embed Your Presentation in a Website

Use the File > Publish to the web menu option to embed a slide presentation on your website. Publishing a Google Slides presentation means that someone can see it without logging into their Google accounts. (As opposed to sharing a presentation, where a user must be logged into Google Drive to see your presentation. Also, note that those who view a published presentation cannot edit or make comments.)

Here is the Publish to the web dialog box:

Publish to the web dialog box in Google Slides
Use this dialog box to publish your Google Slides presentation through a link or by embedding it.

As you can see from the image above, you can also define the following aspects of your published presentations:

  • Slide size
  • How often the slide auto-advances
  • When the slideshow starts
  • Whether the slideshow loops

Tip 13. Play Your Presentation Using Chromecast

Chromecast allows you to share a presentation from an Android mobile device if you have a Chromecast device available and set up. You also need to have a Google Home app on your mobile device, available WIFI, and be using the Google Chrome browser.

The Chromecast device plugs into the monitor you want to use. It even works with some Smart TVs.

When you open your Chromecast app, it looks for nearby Chromecast devices. Select the correct device, enter your password, and name your Chromecast. Select the Google Slides presentation you wish to stream to the TV or monitor. Then, click on the Chromecast button to stream your presentation.

For more information, here are Google's instructions for using Chromecast.

Tip 14. Learn Google Slides Keyboard Shortcuts

Did you know that Google Slides has keyboard shortcuts? If you use Google Slides often, learning and using keyboard shortcuts can save a lot of time.

Find the keyboard shortcuts at the Help > Keyboard shortcuts menu option. Here's a screenshot of some the available shortcuts for Google Slides:

Google Slides keyboard shortcuts
Here is a partial list of Google Slides keyboard shortcuts.

The shortcuts are arranged by functionality. To see the shortcuts for a specific functionality, click on that functionality in the list on the left.

Rather than trying to memorize all the keyboard shortcuts at once (which could be somewhat intimidating), focus on learning the shortcuts for the tasks you use most often.

Tip 15. Make Your Text More Stylish

Like most presenters you probably realize that you can change font size and type, as described in this basic tutorial:

You may even realize you can change the font color and add font attributes like boldface, italics, and underline. What you may not know is that there are other ways to make your text stand out. Here's a tip to add a drop shadow to your text using two text boxes.

Select the text you want to add drop shadow to by highlighting it. Click the A icon in the toolbar to open the color palette and change the color of the text. It's best to choose a dark color since this will be the shadow.

Select the text again and use CTRL+C to copy it to the clipboard. Draw a new text box on the slide. Use CTRL+V to copy your text into the text box.

Select the copied text by highlighting it. Click on the A icon in the toolbar to change the color of the text. A bright color works well.

Drag the second text over the first text box. Position it slightly to the side and beneath or above the first text box.

Here's an example of the drop text effect I made using red and black as font colors:

Google Slides drop text effect
Use two text boxes to create a drop text effect in Google Slides.

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.

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.

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Conclusion

You can accomplish more with Google Slides than you may have realized. Once you master these professional tips, you'll be amazed at what you can do. 

Learn more about using Google Slides in our ultimate tutorial series on How to Use Google Slides.

What techniques do you use to bring your presentation to the next level? Share your professional Google Slides tips in the comments below.

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