What Are the Core Features For Google Slides?

With more than 800 million users every month, Google Slides continues to be the preferred presentation tool. It is indeed a powerful, feature-rich tool with versatile applications from the boardroom to the classroom. 

Google slides icon on laptop

The presentation tool is intuitive, and even a first-time user can excel at it with a Google Slides for Beginners guide. Beginner or not, you can unlock the full power of Google Slides by utilizing its core features to create engaging and impactful presentations. This blog post is a comprehensive look at these features and their benefits.

1. Animation and Transitions

According to a study, 65% of people prefer presentations with animated visuals over slideshows that are heavy with text. Incorporating animations will not only improve the overall presentation but also meet audience expectations. Animations highlight text boxes, images, and other elements in Google Slides. 

They add visual interest and drive engagement and eye flow by directing the audience to look at the animated elements. The animations on Google Slides affect how elements within the slide move or behave. Animations can appear or disappear, zoom, spin, and fly. A slide can contain many animated elements. 

On the other hand, transitions are effects applied to Google Slides that affect how the slides change. A slide can only have one transition effect. Here is a rundown of 5 Google Slides transitions.

  • Fade: Slides gradually fade to the next one
  • Dissolve: Slides blend right into the next one
  • Flip: The slide flips over, like a book, to reveal the next one
  • Slide from left: The new slide comes in from the left side, pushing the current one to the right
  • Slide from right: The new slide enters from the right side, pushing the current one to the left

In selecting transitions, stick to one or two options throughout the presentation so your slideshow doesn’t feel chaotic. Choose a transition that matches the tone of your presentation. For example, the dissolve and fade transitions are great for formal presentations, while you can get away with the flip effect for a creative and less formal presentation. Also, be sure to set the speed of the transition to match the rhythm of your presentation.

2. Collaboration

Real-time presentation sharing is a critical feature that supports collaboration and teamwork. You can share presentations with other team members and define their access levels and privileges. Collaborators with view-level access can only view the presentation, while those with comment-level access can both view and make comments on the presentation. 

Collaborators with edit-level access have full access rights and can view, comment, and edit the presentation. Similar to the “share with others” tool is the “invite people” function. You can invite people and give them different access rights. 

Multiple users editing the presentation simultaneously helps to tap into the creativity of different team members. It also helps save time, as the edits are done in real-time instead of the back-and-forth exchange that can be expected if you were to start discussing the ideas by email.

3. Add-Ons

Add-ons allow you to do more with Google Slides. You can integrate the data on your slides with other applications and establish connectivity to third-party systems for better presentations and enhanced functionality.

You can use different types of add-ons. For example, add-ons for charts, polls, and diagrams can help with data visualization. Similarly, add-ons for GIF creators and editors, as well as video integration can help you to make your presentations more entertaining. You can also use an add-on for creative colors to brighten and liven your presentation.

4. Presenter View

The presenter view is a dashboard from which you can control the presentation. Only the speaker can see this dashboard on a different screen, while the audience views the slideshow on the main screen. 

You can view speaker notes in this mode, boosting confidence during the presentation. Having the script on hand can be helpful, especially if you fall among the 60% of people who feel anxious when talking in front of people familiar to you, or otherwise.

In addition to the speaker notes, the presenter view also allows you to see a preview of the slides, so you know what is coming up next, ensuring flow in your presentation while boosting confidence. You can also use the slide preview to move between slides and emphasize the message on the slides.

To the left of the presenter view window is a timer. This timer will automatically start to run when you start presenting, and you can pause or reset this timer. Use this timer tool to pace yourself and keep an eye on the clock during the presentation. An effective presentation shouldn’t be too long as people tend to wander off and get distracted after some time owing to humans’ limited attention span.

You can also use the Q&A tool under the “audience tools” in presenter view to make your presentation more interactive. The tool allows you to take questions from the audience without interrupting the flow of your presentation. When Q&A is on, a URL appears across the top of your presentation. Send this link to the audience members by email or chat, and they can use it to ask questions anonymously or publicly.

5. Offline Access

To enable Google Slides offline:

  • Go to Google Drive and click on the Settings button at the top right corner.
  • From the Settings menu, click on and checkmark the Offline box before finishing off by clicking on the Done button.
  • Once that is done, open Google Slides, and under Settings, press the toggle button to turn on offline sync. 

Offline access allows you to continue being productive and work on your presentation even if you are in an area without internet connectivity or the coverage is poor. Whether it is due to internet service maintenance, or you are traveling, offline access allows you to continue working. 

The offline sync is also essential if you are presenting in a similar environment with poor or no internet connectivity. It is also beneficial if you deliberately turn off the internet to avoid distractions while working on your presentation. 

6. Accessibility Features

Google Slides has several accessibility features, ensuring you unlock your presentation for as many people as possible, regardless of any impairments. Here is an overview of these accessibility options.

  • Screen reader support: Press Ctrl+Alt+Z to activate screen reader in Google Slides
  • High-contrast mode: Text is easier to read with high color contrast
  • Present slides with captions: Turn on automatic captions 
  • Use alt/text: Use alt/text for screen reader users to read images and graphics in the presentation.
  • Share link to HTML view of presentation: HTML pages are easier to navigate for screen reader users as your presentation appears in a single, easy-to-scroll page.
  • Check text size and alignment: Large text that is aligned to the left is easier to read.
  • Use Lexend typeface: Add Lexend to your slides’ library, as this collection of typefaces makes it easy for people with dyslexia to read content on slides.

Mobile App Features

The Google Slides mobile app for Android and iPhone can be downloaded on the Play Store. From the mobile app, you can create, view, and edit your presentation. 

To create a presentation, tap on “New Presentation.” Click on the icon at the lower right corner to add more slides to your presentation. Tap on the text boxes and start typing to add text to your slides. Similarly, use the + icon to add images, shapes, comments, and more to the slides. 

As with the desktop version, you can share your presentation with others on Google Slides mobile. To do so, tap on the icon depicting a person with a + sign and add the names and emails of your collaborators.

In Conclusion

Animations and transitions, offline access, accessibility features, mobile app accessibility, and presenter view are the top features that bring to reality the benefits of Google Slides. Explore and use these and more features with your next presentation and you can be sure it will be more effective and engaging.

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