Showing posts with label Google Presentations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Google Presentations. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

5 Google Slides Editing Tips

Google Slides has come a long way since its early days as a bare-bones slideshow tool. Today, it is packed with features. Some of those features are obvious and others are hidden away in menus that are frequently ignored. In the following video I provide an overview of five Google Slides editing tips.

Watch the video to learn about:
  • Setting background colors and images.
  • Editing images in Google Slides.
  • Inserting emojis into Google Slides.
  • Quickly centering objects on a slide.
  • Animating elements within your Google Slides. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How to Add Audio to Google Slides

AudioPlayer for Google Slides is a free Add-on that will let you add music to the background of a presentation created with Google Slides. The music that you add through the Add-on can loop in the background throughout the course of your presentation. Watch my video to learn how to use AudioPlayer for Google Slides.

As I noted in the video, you must have audio files stored in your Google Drive prior to using the AudioPlayer Add-on. It's also important to remind students to only use music that they have the rights to use for public presentations. and the Free Music Archive are good places to find free music to use in presentations.

New to G Suite for Education? Join my online course G Suite for Teachers to get up to speed on everything you need to know to feel comfortable using Google Slides and more in your classroom. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Add Audio to Google Slides With This Add-on

One of the things that almost every new Google Slides user wants to know the answer to is, "how can I add music to my presentation?" Last year I shared two methods for doing that. And for 2018 there is a third method that I am recommending. That method is to use the Audio Player for Google Slides Add-on.

Audio Player for Google Slides is a free Add-on that will enable you to play music in the background of your Google Slides presentation. It will work with any audio file that you have stored in your Google Drive account.

To use Audio Player for Google Slides simply activate the Add-on then choose that audio file that you want to have played in the background of your presentation. You can specify an start and end time for your file. It is also possible to have your audio file loop continuously throughout your presentation.

Applications for Education
Audio Player for Google Slides could be the perfect solution for students and teachers who want to have some soft background music in their Google Slides presentations. Remember to remind students to be mindful of copyright restrictions when selecting music to use in their presentations. Just because they have purchased the rights to download and listen to a song doesn't mean they have rights to use that song in a public presentation.

Check out the Free Music Archive for free, copyright free music to use in a presentation. also has an extensive library of music that is in the public domain.

Learn more about Google Slides in my new on-demand course, G Suite for Teachers

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Grids, Timelines, and Notes in Google Slides - Best of 2017

As I do during this week every year, I am taking some time off to relax and prepare for the new year. Every day this week I will be featuring the most popular blog posts of the year. This was one of the most popular posts in September.

This week Google added a handful of new features to Google Slides. Some of them are features that teachers and students have been requesting for years.

Please note that some of the following new features may not appear in your G Suite for Education account for a couple of weeks. All of these features are available now for users logged-in with a Gmail address.

1. Quickly insert pre-formatted timelines and other diagrams.
Now when you open the "insert" drop-down menu you will see an option for diagrams. Choose that option and you'll be able to insert a variety of pre-formatted diagrams including timelines. All of the content within the diagrams can be edited.

2. Add-ons for Google Slides.
There are now seven Add-ons available in Google Slides. Those of interest to teachers and students include Lucidchart, Pear Deck, and Unsplash. Unsplash provides high resolution photographs to re-use for free.

3. Grid view of presentations.
There is now a grid option under the "view" drop-down menu. This lets you see all of your slides in a grid and re-arrange slides by dragging them into different sequences in the grid.

4. Google Keep notes integrated into slides.
Google Docs integrated Google Keep notes earlier this year. That allowed you to drag your Google Keep notes directly into a document. Now you can do the same in Google Slides.

5. Skip a slide without deleting it. 
If you are in the habit of duplicating your own presentations then deleting a slide or two for different audiences, the new "skip slide" function could appeal to you. This function lets you specify a slide or slides to be skipped in a version of a presentation. Skipping a slide doesn't delete it, it just prevents it from being displayed when you're in the full screen presentation display.

Learn more about how to use Google Slides in your classroom in my on-demand course, G Suite for Teachers

Friday, November 10, 2017

Seven Tips for Getting More Out of Google Slides

Google Slides are a great tool for creating presentations. They are simple to use, provide us with a way to collaborate, and are easy to share. I'd like to share a few tips and tricks I have learned over the years that might help you get even more out of Google Slides.
  • Start with a template- Google has provided us with dozens of templates to help us create beautiful presentations. Why not use them? There are templates for photo books, recipes, case studies, science project, lesson plans, and so much more!
  • Explore button- This button lives on the lower right corner of your slides. Really cool things happen when you click it! If you have added an image or two and some text, Google will automagically provide you with several suggestions for layouts that might look better than what you have created. This is super helpful for students who believe that neon yellow text looks awesome on a hot pink background.
  • Resize your slides- Sometimes the size of your slides isn't what you want. Maybe it would work better if they were taller or a specific size. What if you resized them to 8.5x11? When you resize to these dimensions (or to 11x8.5) your slides will be the same size as a sheet of paper. Think of the possibilities! Students could create posters and print them! To resize to to file, page setup, custom, then enter your desired dimensions.
  • Fun fonts- By default, there are only a dozen or so fonts that are available in Google Slides. Did you know there are hundreds of fonts that you can add with just a couple of clicks? When you click on the font menu in slides it will open a drop down menu where you can add as many additional fonts as you wish. When you add a new font in one type of Google Doc it will transfer to the others.
  • Edit photos- Slides has some really cool built in photo editing tools. You can adjust the transparency, brightness, and contrast of images as well as recolor them. Slides also has tools that allow you to create shadows and reflections.
  • Mask image- If you find the perfect image, but you wish to change the shape of it you can mask it. Perhaps you want to change a square picture into a circle or heart. It is easy to do inside of Google Slides with just a couple of clicks.
  • Duplicate slides- Perhaps you want students (or audience) to fill in specific information on a slide. All you need to do is create a single slide with the information you want then duplicate the slide so there is a slide for each person. If there are special instructions or links you want to share with your students then add them in the speaker notes before you create the duplicates. 
These tips and tricks should help save you time and get more out of Google Slides. Click the following links to learn more about Google Slides. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Clarification About the Explore Feature In Google Slides

Last week I published a video about the new Explore feature in Google Slides. Since I published that video I have received a bunch of emails and Tweets from folks saying that they cannot find the Explore feature. If that describes you, don't worry because it's not you, it's Google. The Explore feature hasn't been rolled out to all users and all domains, yet. In the video embedded below I explain this in a bit more detail and I demonstrate the differences between the new Explore feature and the other Research option in Google Slides.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Student Created Videos: Google Slides and Screencasting

This week I am hosting some guest bloggers. This is a guest post from Jonathan Brubaker.

Right place at the right time. The place was Edcamp Palm Springs. The time was a session on video in the classroom led by Jessica Pack. This perfect moment pushed me to provide opportunities for students to use video in their projects.

Since my students have Chromebooks, I decided to use Google Slides to design content and screencasting extensions to record video. Google Slides is a very versatile image and text editing tool and I spent a lot of time throughout the year teaching my students how to use it effectively. In order to make our slide decks into video, I used screencasting tools for Google Chrome. The two best options are Screencastify or Snagit’s screen clipping app and extension. Both products have many of the same features, but Screencastify allows students to include their faces when creating video projects. Both of them work by clicking on the extension and then pressing the record button. Students can record a single tab or the whole screen.

One of the first projects my students completed was a screencast of a Google Slide presentation. Throughout the year my students worked in collaborative groups to create a slide deck to present to the class on a topic the class was studying. Unfortunately, this meant that students had to furiously take notes while the speakers presented. When we turned this assignment into a screen cast, the speakers could work on writing carefully worded scripts and the audience could pause and rewind the content as needed.

Next, I had my students create a Public Service Announcement after a unit on brain research. Students were required to come up with advice for fellow teenagers on how to use technology responsibly using the information my students had learned about the brain. Again, slides was an excellent resource for creating the visuals for the unit. While I usually tell students to stay away from animations in live presentations, many of the animations worked out well on a screencast. Students also had to think through how to create visuals to supplement what they had learned.

Finally, my 8th grade students had to create a children’s book for a performance task after completing a unit on Frederick Douglas. The book had to adapt an episode from his autobiography and turn it into a powerful narrative for fifth graders. After completing the books I wanted the students to share them with a wider audience and add a personal touch beyond the text. I decided to have them create an audio-visual book by screencasting themselves reading their book. Since the book was created in slides, all they had to do was record themselves reading the book while turning the pages. We could then share the links to the videos with one of our feeder elementary schools.

In the future, I would like students to create tutorials on how to use common web tools as a resource for other students. Screencasting can also be a great way to share Genius Hour projects with a wider audience. If it is on the screen, students can create a video project with it.

I am middle school teacher in Beaumont, CA. In 2014 I was the California League of Middle Schools State Educator of the Year. I have a passion for inspiring students to love reading, writing, discussing, and presenting. I do my best to incorporate technology into the classroom in a way that amplifies my instruction and engages students.


Friday, November 14, 2014

How to Make a Copy of a Google Slides Presentation Marked as View Only

Last night I posted a copy of my iPad Summit presentation. The presentation was created in Google Slides. I forgot to share it as view only and instead only selected publish to the web in my settings. I have changed that setting so that now anyone who has a Google Account will be able to make a copy of the slides for themselves.

To make a copy of a Google Slides presentation that you find on the web, click on the gear icon and select "open editor." When the editor opens (you'll need to be signed into your Google Account) select "make copy" from the File menu.

The process is similar for Google Documents that have been shared as view only. That process is outlined here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to Add Custom Backgrounds to Google Slides

When I design slideshows that are intended for sharing on the web I use Google Slides. (For in-person keynotes I use Keynote for the timing features that are built into it). One of my favorite aspects of Google Slides is the ease with which I can create custom backgrounds for my slides. In the video below I demonstrate how to add a custom background to Google Slides.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Two Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed This Week

This week Google released a couple of updates that many of us have been eagerly waiting on for months. The most significant of those updates is the release of the Google Slides iPad app. The app allows you to create and edit Google Slides presentations on your iPad. The app also supports editing PPT files on your iPad. And as you would expect from Google, the Google Slides iPad app supports collaborative editing of slide content. Click here to grab the new Google Slides iPad app.

The second update of note, although not nearly as significant as the iPad app update, is a new way to search for special characters in Google Slides, Documents, and Drawings. You can now perform a keyword search for special characters to insert into your slides, documents, and drawings. To perform a keyword search open the "insert" menu then select "special characters."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New "Replace Image" Function Makes it Easier to Edit Google Slides

In their on-going quest to make Google Slides as robust as Keynote and PowerPoint, the Google has added a new slide editing tool. You can now right-click on any image your slides to quickly replace it with another image. In the past you would have had to delete the old image then insert the new image and in the process lose the size formatting. The new "replace image" function allows you to swap images without losing the size formatting.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kaizena Adds Support for Giving Audio Feedback on Google Presentations

This is news that I have been waiting to announce for days! Kaizena now supports adding audio feedback on Google Presentations. Kaizena is a tool that integrates with your Google Drive account. With Kaizena authorized to access your Google Drive account you can highlight portions of your students' work and add voice or text comments to it. Until today you could only leave voice comments on Google Documents, now you can leave voice comments on Google Presentations too.

To use Kaizena to leave voice comments for your students your student should share their Documents or Presentations with you. Once they have shared their Documents or Presentations with you, open the shared file through Kaizena. With the shared file open you can highlight a portion of a slide then click the microphone icon to record your voice comment. Your students will see the comments after you have saved them. Greg Kulowiec outlined the process in this post. You can also watch the video below to see how the new feature works.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Short Example of the Benefits of Classroom Blogs

Six years ago I created a short slideshow featuring cartoons that I made to explain the benefits of having a classroom blog. That slideshow focused on the benefits to teachers. Today, I used Storyboard That and Google Presentations to create a new slideshow about the benefits of having a classroom blog. This slideshow is focused on the benefits to parents.

Each of the frames in the slideshow were created by using Storyboard That. Storyboard That offers more than 40,000 pieces of clipart that you can use to create comic strips.

If you need help developing a blog for your classroom, check out my free 90 page guide to using Blogger in school. In June I am offering a three week webinar series on blogging and social media. You can learn more about that webinar on

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Now You Can Edit Images In Google Slides

Google Slides has come a long way since its early days of offering very basic collaborative slideshow creation. Today, Google released a new Google Slides option for editing the images in your slides. You've always been able to re-size images in your slides, but now when you add an image to a slide you can crop it, apply borders to it, and apply masks to it. To do any of these things simply select the image then select an editing option from the new image editing menu. See the screenshot below for the location of the new image editing menu. Click here for Google's post with directions on using the new image editing tools.

Click to view full size. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lots of Interesting Ways to Use Technology In Your Classroom

Earlier today in my Feedly account I noticed that Tom Barrett had published updated versions of two of his very popular Interesting Ways presentations. It appears that Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes and Interesting Ways to Use Google Forms in the classroom have received a facelift. These are just two of the many crowd-sourced Interesting Ways presentations that Tom has published over the years.

Interesting Ways to Use Google Forms in the Classroom is embedded below. Open the editor to make a copy of these slides or get in touch with Tom to learn how to contribute to any of the Interesting Ways presentations.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Use Google Slides to Organize Research

Like many of you, when I was in middle school and high school I was taught to create index cards to organize our research. After creating the cards we sorted them into an order to support writing our research papers. That same concept can be applied to organizing research with Google Slides. In the video below I demonstrate how this is done.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The New Google Drive Activity Stream Shows You All Activities In One Place

Beginning today Google Drive users have a new option for tracking activity on their files. If it hasn't appear already, a new ⓘ  icon will soon be appearing in your Google Drive home. Clicking that icon will allow you to see a stream of the activity on all of your files. You can also select an individual file to see a stream of activity for just that file. The new activity stream doesn't replace revision history which you can open in the "file" menu while viewing a Google Document, Presentation, Drawing, or Spreadsheet.

The following types of activities will appear in your Google Drive activities stream.

  • Moving and removing 
  • Renaming 
  • Uploading
  • Sharing and unsharing
  • Editing and commenting
This feature will be rolling out over the next week. If you don't see it today, be on the look out for it soon. Click here to see an animated GIF of the new Google Drive activities stream in action.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How to Make Copies of Google Documents Shared With You As "View Only"

Have you ever come across a Google Document or Google Presentation on the web that you wanted to have a copy of for yourself but discovered that it was shared as "view only?" Most of the Google Documents and Presentations that I share on this blog are marked "view only." Even if the document or presentation is marked "view only" you can still create a copy for yourself. The directions below show you how (the directions apply to Documents, Presentations, and Sheets).

Step 1:
click image for full size

Step 2:
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Step 3:
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Applications for Education
Sharing Google Documents and Presentations as "view only" is a good way to distribute directions for assignments or templates for completing assignments. By sharing the Google Document or Presentation as "view only" all of your students can see it, but they cannot change what you've written on the document or presentation. Have them follow the directions above to make copies of their own that they can edit without affecting the originally shared item.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Reuse Custom Themes in Google Slides - And Other Enhancements

Earlier this fall Google added the option to create custom themes in Google Slides (the Google Drive presentation tool). Today, they added the option to reuse those themes throughout your presentations. Now when you create a new presentation in Google Slides you have the option to choose a theme from another presentation.

Another enhancement to Google Slides to note is the option to add any object to a theme. After adding an element to a slide, right-click on it to add it to the theme. This could be useful if you want to put a school logo on every slide in a presentation.

The final enhancement is one that should bring order to the occasionally chaotic process of collaborating on Google Slides. Now when you and your collaborators type on a slide your names will appear next to the cursor as you type. This should enable you to see who is typing what and when.

Click here to see screenshots of the new Google Slides features.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Google Slides Goes Widescreen - New Theme Options Too

If you opened Google Slides today, you may have noticed a couple of new options available to you. Earlier today Google announced the addition of widescreen settings and new theme customization options for Google Slides. Widescreen is the new default setting for Google Slides. You can change this setting by opening the the drop-down menu in the theme chooser (see the image below for directions). 
Click to view full size. 

The other new addition to Google Slides is the option to edit the master slides for your presentations. Open the "slide" drop-down menu to edit your master slides and apply format changes to all of your slides in a presentation. See the GIF in Google's blog post for directions.