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Monday, January 22, 2018

Ten Overlooked Google Slides Features

Like any robust presentation tool, Google Slides has many features that often go overlooked by new users. Some of these features will let you accomplish the things that you used to do in PowerPoint or Keynote while others will just save you a bit of time. Either way, here are ten features of Google Slides that you should know how to use. 

1. Word Art
Word Art is different than just changing your font size or style. Inserting word art lets you apply custom borders, colors, and shading to your font. It also lets you dynamically resize font to fit almost anywhere in a slide. 

2. Live Q&A
Launch a live Q&A channel forum for your audience directly from the Presenter View menu. Your audience can submit questions by going to the Q&A link that is automatically displayed across the top of your slides when you have Q&A activated. You can also disable this feature at any time. 

3. Import Google Keep Note
Open the "tools" menu while editing your slides and you can choose to open a Keep Notepad. That will display all of the notes that you have saved in Google Keep including pictures and links. 

4. Integrated Unsplash Image Search
You can use the "insert image" menu to launch a Google Images search, but that's not the best option for an integrated image search. Unsplash Photos has a free Google Slides Add-on that provides access to hundreds of thousands of images that are in the public domain. 

5. Add Audio to Your Slides
There are two ways that you can do this. You could place a YouTube music video in your slide and then shrink it down and hide it in the corner of your slide. Or you could use the AudioPlayer for Slides Add-on which makes it quite easy to play music behind your entire presentation. 

6. Play videos without using YouTube. 
Last year Google finally added the option to include videos in your slides without those videos having to be on YouTube. Upload any video to your Google Drive account and then you can import it directly into any slide. 

7. Make Interactive Diagrams
I made a video about this last week and featured it in the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week. By using the hyperlinking tools in Google Slides you can link multiple parts of one slide to other slides within the same presentation. Take the model to its fullest extent and your students can begin to build choose-your-own-adventure stories in Google Slides. 

8. Voice Typing Speaker Notes
In the "tools" menu in Google Slides you will find an option for speech-to-text. This function only works for the speaker notes and not for the body of slides. 

9. Chart, Diagram, and Timeline Templates.
Within the "insert" menu in Google Slides you will find a handful of chart, diagram, and timeline templates that you can customize. 

10. Import your old PPT slides
If your school recently made the switch from a Windows-based environment to Chromebooks or just to G Suite for Education, you might be worried about having to recreate some of your favorite presentations. You don't have to do that. You can import your old PPT files into Google Slides right from the "file" drop-down menu in Google Slides. 

If you're new to using G Suite for Education, check-out the online course that I built just for folks like you. Use the code "construction" this week to get a discount on enrollment.