How to Use Google Slides to Make a Presentation

An overview of Google's presentation software

Google Slides is an app that allows you to easily collaborate and share presentations with text, photos, audio, or video files. Similar to Microsoft's PowerPoint, it's hosted online and can be accessed in a web browser from any device with an internet connection. Here's everything you need to know to begin creating your own presentations.

What Is Google Slides?

Google Docs is a set of office and education applications, similar to the tools in Microsoft Office. Google Slides is the company's answer to Microsoft's presentation tool, PowerPoint. You can create dynamic presentations with images and audio. You can even add GIFs to put some fun into your presentation. One of the main advantages of using Google's tools is that they're free; all you need is a Google account and an internet connection.

But there are other great reasons to use Google Slides, like wide compatibility. Users can view and edit presentations on their PC or Mac. Google Slides also has Android and iOS apps so you can work on your presentation on a tablet or smartphone.

Google Slides Basic Features

Here's a quick look at some of the basic features of Google Slides.

Export PowerPoint Presentations to Google Slides

To convert one of your PowerPoint presentations to Google Slides, upload it to Google Drive.

Some PowerPoint features won't carry over to Google Slides.

You can also save your Google Slide presentation as a PowerPoint file, a PDF, or other file formats. Go to File > Download, and select one of the options.

Saving Google Slide presentation as a PowerPoint or other type of file.

Use Google Slides Offline

Google Slides is cloud-based, but you can access and edit documents in Google Drive offline. Once you're connected to the internet again, all of your work syncs to the live version. If you want to take your work offline, just go to File > Make available offline.

Although Google Slides is cloud-based, you can work on a project offline

Live Collaboration on Google Slides

One of Google Slides' key advantages over Microsoft's PowerPoint is live-team collaboration, regardless of where your co-workers are located. You can share Google Slides from Google Drive and invite collaborators via their Google accounts. You control what level of access each person has, such as whether they can only view or edit the presentation.

Live collaboration allows everyone on the team to work on, and view, the same presentation simultaneously from satellite offices. Everyone can see live edits as they're created.

For this to work, everyone must be online.

The easiest way to invite others to view or edit your project is via the Share button in the upper right. From there, you can copy a link to the presentation or you can add collaborators via their email addresses.

Use the Share button to add collaborators to your Google Slides presentation

Google Slides Version History

Because Google Slides is cloud-based, it continuously auto-saves while you're working online. The Version History feature keeps track of all changes, the time they were made, and who made them. To see the document's history of edits, go to File > Version history > See version history.

Google Slides version history.

Google Slides Built-In Themes

Just like PowerPoint, Google Slides offers pre-designed themes, backgrounds, colors, and fonts. It also provides some nice design features, including zooming in and out of your slides and the ability to apply masks to images to modify their shapes.

How to Publish Google Slides

You can publish your Google Slides presentation online using a link or embedded code. You can also limit access to who can see the presentation through permissions. These are live documents, so whenever you make a change it also appears on the published version.

To publish a Google Slides presentation online:

  1. Go to File > Publish to the web.

    Google Slides publish to the web.
  2. Select Link to get a shareable URL. You can also choose how much time passes before each slide advances and whether or not the presentation restarts after the final slide.

    Google Slides publish to the web.
  3. Select Embed to generate code you can add to your website. There's also an additional option here to choose the size of the slides.

    Google Slides publish to the web.
  4. Once you tweak all of the settings, select Publish.