How to use Google Docs? Create and edit presentations.

We have already come across different  Google Docs modules including a word processor and spreadsheet. Today we are going to discuss the topic concerning creating and editing presentations. This component is rather rarely used, however, it is worth checking since it comes bundled with a few interesting features.

Wojtek Wowra
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The process of creating a new presentation is limited to clicking the Create button in the upper left corner of Google Drive’s interface and selecting Presentation. The blank presentation will load in a new browser tab, where you can add your own text.

If you have not changed the default settings, the service will provide you with 20 presentation templates. So instead of creating a presentation from scratch, you can use any of them and save your time. They are quite simple, but most users should be happy with them. There is a business model, dark, bright, colorful, plain and patterned.

Once you selected the template, you can insert a background for any of your slides. Just click the box with the title and fill it. Repeat the same operation for the subtitle. Creating a simple cover page takes less than one minute. All the changes are automatically saved any time you make them.


Like in other Google Docs modules, the toolbar is placed at the top of the editing window. It contains the most common tasks, commands and functions. At first blush, the red button rivets our attention. It lets you add new slides. But we can also do it by using the shortcut Ctrl + M.

Next to the red button, there is a small arrow which hides different types of slides under the hood. We are mostly interested in the Title and Content. It is the most commonly used slide with a header and a place to insert more text. If you are using a template, you will notice that the background differs a little bit from the one in the title's page.

In addition to this, we recommend to try Title and Two columns (split text into two columns) and Empty, which give us more leeway to edit, but it lacks the background. Other buttons include the well-known Undo and Redo options and already described Copy formatting.

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Text Boxes and AutoShapes

The presentation’s toolbar consists of a comprehensive set of functions. So we are not going to discuss all of its components. We will focus on the most important ones. One of them is a Text box. This command allows you to add new boxes for a text in any place you wish.

Next, we have other option letting users insert a variety of objects including pictures, shapes and lines. The Shapes and Lines can be used on their own which mean you can draw on your slides by pressing the left mouse button. You can also customize the inserted objects, for example you can change color, size, location, fill color or line color.

Animated transitions

In the bar, there are options which let you change the theme (template) of the presentation and the layout of the slide - if you think that the currently used theme no longer serves its purpose, and the other will look better. Above the bar, there is a File menu and Edit. Most of the stuff looks like the one in a word processor.

What’s new in the Presentation module is a Slide option that allows you to add new pages to the presentation, but also to change their order. The second important thing is the Arrange menu, which helps you organize your items within the slides. With this feature, we can perfectly center the title vertically or rotate it 90 degrees.

Google Docs

When talking about presentations, not only the content is important. Visual effects and animations play a vital role, since they make your presentation look more creative and professional. To access them, exit the editing mode and then the toolbar changes. At the end, there is a Transition option that opens sidebar full of graphics effects.

As usual, the Help menu provides a list of keyboard shortcuts concerning activities related to editing presentations.

Left sidebar

Unlike in other modules, apart from the edit box below the toolbar there is also a left sidebar with a list of your slides in the form of miniatures. It offers a convenient way to access various presentations - even the most extensive ones.

Right clicking on any slide, opens a context menu offering similar commands to the ones we can find in Slide menu. There are also a few things known from the toolbar. Besides, below the slide editor you can add your own notes to help you create a presentation.

To see the results of your work, select the View the presentation option in the upper right corner of the screen. Down Arrow opens a menu of options. From this place, you can choose whether you want to display your presentation with notes or in a new window. Of course, the presentation is displayed in full screen.

Data transfer

While creating a presentation using Google Docs is simple and fun, the problem arises when you want to display it. Of course, we need access the Internet. If you go to a business meeting and want to show the results of your work, it is recommended to download the document to disk before the meeting rather than desperately look for Wi-Fi.

When it comes to exporting data, it is extremely easy. Just click File in the main menu and choose Download as. You can choose between several formats including PPTX (PowerPoint), PDF, SVG, PNG, JPG and TXT files. If you have the Office Suite or even the free version of PowerPoint Viewer, you can opt for the first option.

Regarding PDF or PNG files, both of them can be opened with the use of a wide range of free applications. But keep in mind, that we will lose the animated transition effects and interactive elements, we have placed in our presentation.
Important: If you are going to display it on the tablet without 3G, we can download the file to our device thanks to Google Drive’s mobile application. Then, the presentation still runs from the disk, but the network connection is no longer required.

The presentation editor comes bundled with other functions which have already described, such as sharing. For detailed information, feel free to go to our previous articles concerning Google Documents. Next week, we will show you how to create forms and drawing in Google Docs.


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