Google Drive Essential Training: Working With Presentations

Presentations are an effective way to present an idea in many contexts, whether it be at a business meeting, in a classroom to your students, or as a student, presenting the knowledge that you have learned to your classmates and professor.   When I attended public school the purchase of a USB memory stick or e-mailing your presentation so that it could be opened at the new site was necessary so that it could be presented in class.  The first option was expensive and easy to lose and leave behind.  The second was unreliable, because if the computer at the site  did not have the same version of PowerPoint than the one you made it on, the formatting would not transfer and data could be lost.

As mentioned, presentations are often used by students to convey their knowledge to the class and their professor.  Often times, presentations are used by students when they are assigned a group project.  While collaboration is promoted in education, finding a time when all members of a group are free to work on a presentation is difficult–nevermind transportation to a location, choosing a proper location, and multiple people having to work off of one computer at once.

Creating a Presentation

Google Drive offers five different options that you can create online.

Luckily, Google developed a series of programs, housed in Google Drive, that can be created online, and accessed from anywhere—both computers simply need the ability to access the Internet.  Additionally, these programs can be edited by multiple users, at multiple locations, at the same time–allowing students to truly be collaborative team members with ease.  Further, Google Drive features a live chat in which all team members may speak about their project–they are able to communicate just as quickly as if they were face-to-face.

In the Lynda.com course entitled Google Drive Essential Training, chapter 5 goes over Working with Presentations.  It includes a total of 8 videos, spanning 28 minutes and 32 seconds, going over everything from creating and formatting your presentation to adding images and publishing and sharing your creation.  However, videos 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8 alone seem to cover the basics of the program.

Example Patterned Templates

Some examples of the patterned templates to choose from.

In the first video, Creating a Presentation and Adding Text, the narrator clearly describes how to get the presentation started, work with text, and create new slides.  The video shows how you can choose from a series of templates or simply start with a blank slide.  It explains how you can type text in existing text boxes as well as add more text boxes, and how preformatted or blank slides may be added to expand the presentation.

Highlighted text

The text on this slide is highlighted so that it can be changed to a different font, color, size, etc.

In the video Formatting Text and Changing Layouts, the audience is given an insight into the many ways the appearance of text can be changed in order to make it more appropriate for your presentation.  The color, size, font, and alignment of text can all be changed simply by highlighting it and pressing the appropriate button.  Additionally, text can be put into boldface, italics, can be underlined, can be given a background color, and can be put into lists by following the same steps.

In the fifth video, Changing backgrounds and adding objects, it is explained how each slide can be made more visually appealing.  By right clicking on the slide and choosing “background,” the screen behind the font can be changed to a solid color, or an image from the Internet, your hard drive, or your Google drive.  Additionally, directions on how to insert objects, such as shapes, equations, arrows, and callouts, into a slide are provided, as well as how to adjust their sizes.

Ordering images

In this slide, the order of the images is being changed so that the important elements of both pictures are visible.

In the video Adding and formatting images, the narrator guides you on how to take an image from the Internet, from your hard drive, or from your Google drive, and place it on a slide.  Additionally, information is offered on how to adjust the size of the images once they are on the slides, as well as how to change the order of images, if there are multiple featured on a screen, so that all important elements can be made visible.

In the final video, Publishing to the web and exporting the presentation, the process of sharing the presentation with classmates, colleagues, friends, or whomever else you wish is explained.  The presentation may either be downloaded as a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, as a PDF, or as a graphic file (a JPEG, a PNG, or an SVG) so that it can be sent in a message to others.  Or, it can simply be published to the web, allowing anyone who has the URL to it to view it as a read-only version, but still allowing you to edit it.  Or, if you want to open it on your own so that you may present your work, the presentation is always automatically saved into your Google Drive.  For example, below is a presentation, created on Google Drive, that is embedded.  To do so, I went to the “File” menu, and chose for my presentation to be published to the web, and then I copied the embed code and pasted it on this post.  Presentations may also be made accessible via the Internet by sharing the link.  When choosing to share a presentation, the creator is given the option whether to allow others to be able to edit the work, or simply view it as a read-only version.

If you have ever used Microsoft PowerPoint before, you will come to see that many of the features are the same, or at least very similar—making it especially easy for computer literate individuals to start using the program.  And for those who are new to using computers, Lynda.com is a great resource for not only learning about the programs featured in Google Drive but also all sorts of computer functions.  Google Presentations is made to easier for new users since hovering the mouse over a certain button almost always causes a description to pop up about what the given button does when clicked.  If you have any questions about Google Presentations that are not answered in this post, or want to stay up to date on any updates to the program, Google Slides Help Articles is a fantastic resource to refer to.

Please take the time to comment on this post and share your thoughts on Google Presentations.  Have you ever used it before?  If so, did you find it more convenient than using the Microsoft version?   Have you used it to collaborate with others?  If you have not used Google Presentations before, do you think you will start?  In what contexts have/will you use this?

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33 Responses to Google Drive Essential Training: Working With Presentations

  1. Kelly F. says:

    Sara- Your post is very well written, and I also really enjoyed the presentation that you embedded in your post, because it gave a visual review of your post. I’ve used Google Presentations in many of my classes and love the collaboration it offers, because as you mentioned we can literally be anywhere in the world and make a presentation together. I never knew that you could export presentations from Google Presentations, and I think that’s a really cool feature.
    Thanks for the great post.
    – Kelly

    • Sara R. says:

      Thank you so much for the comment as well as your kind words. Honestly, before writing this post and learning about Google Presentations on Lynda, I did not know about the exportation feature either. I definitely will keep that in mind and will use it in the future!

  2. Steph G. says:

    Sara, your post was very informative and interesting! I totally understand the hassles of having a USB drive, and this makes presentations so much easier. I didn’t know that you could start a live chat while working on the presentation, that makes it so much simpler to talk about ideas and opinions! This is such a convenient way for group projects to work because it is so difficult to find time to meet. There were so many features you talked about that I had no idea. For example, I did not know that Google Presentations was so similar to PowerPoint and that you could design slides and even upload media. The presentation you embedded into your post was really helpful in further explaining how to use Google Presentation. Awesome job, I really liked reading your post!

    • Sara R. says:

      Steph, I’m so glad that you enjoyed my post and that you learned so much from what I said. I hope that you are able to use these techniques in the future while using Google Presentations and that they make completing your projects easier!

  3. Tabitha C. says:

    Sara–I never even thought to use Google Chat for group projects. Even though that was only a line of your blogpost, that was a great idea! Anyways, I thought you did a great job at not giving step-by-step instructions, but rather giving a broad layout of the content, making me want to go watch the Lynda videos. I thought it was well-done that you gave the most detailed explanation of the final video about publishing videos/exporting them because that is probably the content we are least familiar with. I do think Google Presentations is a great software and I am growing to like it more than Microsoft Powerpoint. At first, I was reluctant to use it because I am not a huge fan of change. But, I have grown to realize that Google Presentations is more practical when working on group projects. You don’t even have to have the large file size cluttering up your computer like you would with Powerpoint. Great post!

    • Sara R. says:

      Thank you for your kind words! I, like you, am not a huge fan of change and had difficulty transitioning from using Microsoft PowerPoint to Google Presentations. However, now that I have, I definitely use Google Presentations more frequently than I do Microsoft. I find it to be much more convenient, and much more user friendly (especially in college, where you are required to work with several other students whose schedules are different than your own).

  4. Maria H. says:

    Sara, as many Google Presentations as I have made while at Elon, I never knew about publishing and exporting the presentation or formatting images to meticulously! This post was great for information in regard to those two things-as well as simply getting started! I can definitely see myself sending my students to this post for them to make their first Google Presentation, great job!

    • Sara R. says:

      I am so glad that you are planning on introducing this technology to your students–I definitely plan on using it with my students as well. In this increasingly technology based-society, I think it is necessary for teachers to keep up with this progression, and I think Google Presentations is an excellent way to do so; our teachers showed us Microsoft PowerPoint while we were in grade school, and we much show our students, the next generation, this new technology in order to better fit their lifestyles.

  5. Sydney R. says:

    Hi Sara, great post! As someone who has frequently misplaced USB sticks (once on the day of my presentation-yikes) and has had to deal with the formatting errors that can arise from switching PowerPoint to different computers, Google Presentations is basically a dream come true. That being said, because I have not had as much experience with it, I still tend to use Microsoft PowerPoint as my default for presentations. After reading your post, however, I feel much more comfortable using Google Presentations in the future, and if I have any additional questions I now know what videos to watch in Lynda and where to find them. Also, I found the fact that you included a sample presentation in your post very neat, thanks for sharing!

    • Sara R. says:

      Thank you for your comment! I understand the hesitation to make the transition between the two presentation programs, but I am glad that my blog post instilled some more confidence in you to do so. If I remember correctly, I believe we even did a project together last year for GST using Google Presentations, but I do not believe we used many of the features I spoke about when we did so. If we get another opportunity to make another presentation together again, we will definitely need to try out the techniques I listed above to make our work even more appealing.

  6. Chelsea R. says:

    I’ve used Google Presentations in many of my classes and love the collaboration it offers. It is so much easier to do group assignments with a group because of everyone’s hectic schedules. I never used a USB drive because I didn’t understand how to use them, and this makes presentations so much easier. I didn’t know that you could start a live chat while working on the presentation. It makes it so much easier to talk to others while working on a project or even during a presentation. I also never knew about publishing and exporting the presentation or formatting images prior to your blog post.

    • Sara R. says:

      I find it interesting that you never used a USB drive in grade school, as each of the students in my school district were required to purchase one upon entering middle school. However, I do not necessarily think that you lost anything out of not using one. Of course, it is always good to learn how to use different pieces of technology, but the programs in Google Drive serves the purpose of a USB drive and more. Glad that you’ve been able to take advantage of this program!

  7. Alexia M. says:

    Sara, I thought that your post was very well written and really explained what Google Presentations is all about. I think that using Google Presentations is definitely very effective for many reasons, just as you do, and I have used it multiple times before. Like you said, having a memory stick to carry around can be risky and I have lots USB drives multiple times throughout my school career. I do find it more convenient than the Microsoft version especially when collaborating with other classmates. I had no idea that you could use a live chat on Google Drive! I will definitely have to look into that the next time I am working on a project with classmates. I loved how you embedded your Google Presentation on your blog post. I had no idea that you could do that. Thanks for all the great information!

    • Sara R. says:

      Thank you so much for the compliments! I am glad that you are able to see that benefits of the program, just as I do. I am also glad that you appreciated my embedded presentation as well. I happen to be a visual learner, so such aids always help me to understand written text better. So, I am happy that you were able to benefit from it being there as well!

  8. Angie E. says:

    Hey Sara, great job! I totally agree with you about the hassles of PowerPoint, I know that my presentations in high school were rarely compatible with my teachers’ computers, and I always ended up having to present a less-cool version of the presentation I had worked hard on. Google Drive has made group work so much easier as well. I love that I can collaborate with the people in my group without having to huddle around one computer in Belk, though I still usually meet them in person to put everything together. Now that I know about Google chat, though, I don’t have to! After reading your post I explored some of the Lynda tutorials because I had no idea that Google presentations could be published or that they could have cool backgrounds. Thanks!

    • Sara R. says:

      Thank you for your kind words! You definitely understand the pain I went through creating presentations with a group in the past. I just wish that Google Presentations was as popular back then as it is now, since my classmates and I did not all live on the same campus and transportation to the given meeting place always seemed to be an issue.

  9. Katie H. says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog post about Google Presentations, Sara! I was amazed at how many features there are and how similar it is to PowerPoint presentations, but so much easier to use. I have used Google Presentations several times throughout my college career and I think it is an invaluable tool that all students should be using for in-class presentations. By using Google Presentations, students can work in groups on the same presentation but from different locations. It also makes opening the presentation in class easier and allowing the teacher to view the final product for grading by sharing the link with her. What would you recommend as the easiest or most reliable way to share a Google Presentation with other people or save it for a future presentation? Thanks so much for all the great information!!

    • Sara R. says:

      I had not even considered the fact that using Google Presentations makes it easier for teachers to grade our work. Thank you for the new ideas as well as your kind words! You the best, girlfriend.

  10. Winna P. says:

    Sara, this post was so great! I totally relate to the idea of a USB. I actually still have one today! With the shift in using Google Docs I have found myself using my USB much less. In addition I have come across more and more people who have stopped downloading Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to their computers and are just using the Google Drive programs. It’s a crazy concept but makes total sense because students are always on the go and makes keeping track of papers and projects. Thanks for this awesome blog!

    • Sara R. says:

      Winna, thank you so much for the compliments! I had never even considered not downloading the programs onto my personal computer, but it is a completely viable option! That can definitely benefit students that I may have in the future who have difficulty attaining such programs due to financial means or other reasons.

  11. B. Taylor says:

    Sara, Thanks for showing us ways to export a Google presentation to other formats and to publish and embed one on a webpage. What a great way for teachers to share information on their teacher/classroom websites. As you noted, different versions of PowerPoint can cause problems for presenters, and that is true too for sharing presentations with others (students, their parents, colleagues) if they don’t have compatible software – some may not even have PowerPoint at all – remember how privileged we are at Elon. Also cool is if you discover a typo, you can just edit the presentation and the published one is updated – not true if you email an attachment to the parents of all your students! A couple of other recently added features include improved spell checking and bullet formats. See Google Drive Now Lets You Spellcheck Entire Documents At Once, Adds Customizable Lists. And here is the best part: a recent Elon graduate who now works for Google was the software engineer for the new bullets project – how cool is that! Check out the variety of bullets next time you create a Google Doc or presentation.

    • Sara R. says:

      Professor Taylor, thank you for your kind words! While I always try to proofread my presentations, I, like anyone else, has missed errors during the editing process only to find them during the actual presentation. However, the ability to go back and make changes to the presentation communicates the idea that it is okay to make mistakes, which is an idea that I want my students to understand (as I personally had difficulty grappling with that concept). Also, I recall you mentioning the fact about the Elon graduate in class–that IS so cool!

  12. Victoria B. says:

    Sara, I really enjoyed reading your post about using Google Presentations. I have been very wary of converting from using Microsoft Office programs to Google Drive programs. However, your point about USB usage is very convincing. The ability to have access to documents, presentations, etc just by logging into a computer is so convenient. I love the fact that you do not need to carry around a USB to have access to your work. I could never keep up with a USB so Google Drive is very helpful!

    • Sara R. says:

      Victoria, I completely understand your hesitation–I tend to have difficulty making transitions as well. However, you do see the benefits of using this program and I promise that once you do make that transition you will really understand how nice the convenience of the program is!

  13. Robin G. says:

    Here’s yet another compliment for your post! It is well-written, clear, and very thorough. You went into a lot of depth about each of the features of Google Presentations. Until I read your post, I was also unaware of the live chat feature that can be used simultaneously while creating a post. I have used Google Presentations before and have found the collaboration aspect to be extremely helpful. I also love how accessible saved presentations are, due to their being stored in Google Drive. It is so nice to be able to access them on any device from any location! Thanks again for all of your detail! Your post was very informative.

  14. Chelsea S. says:

    I’ve never used Google Presentations before because I’m so used to using Microsoft. I might be old fashion, but I don’t mind using a USB to hold my presentation on. I’ve had to give many presentations in high school and college and in both levels of education I have ran into the problem of the internet not working at some point. By having my USB in hand I can give my presentation without a problem! I think Google Presentations can be very helpful in case of group presentations. I don’t think I will start using Google Presentations right now, but you have given me a wonderful summary of what I can do so I am familiar with how to use the program if I change my mind. Thank you!

    • Sara R. says:

      Do not worry about being old fashioned–I tend to be the same in many other respects, such as how I still use a print calendar instead of Google Calendars. However, I truly do believe that making the transition from Microsoft PowerPoint to Google Presentations really will be worth your while. Be sure to refer back to my post if you do choose to make that transition, or the Lynda videos that I described, so that your transition can be as easy as possible.

  15. Anna B. says:

    Hey Sara! This is such a great blog post. I think you did a fantastic job of summarizing the idea of each video without going into too much detail. I have used Google Presentations before, and I think they are so handy! One thing I loved about your blog post though was the last section on embedding a presentation onto a website. I did not know that you could do this, and I think it is amazing that you can edit the presentation in your Drive and it will automatically edit it wherever you have it posted too. This provides so many possibilities for educators because it will allow you to embed a presentation onto your class website, where anyone with the link can see it without having to have PowerPoint or some other equivalent installed on your computer. I can also see myself having my students do group projects with Google Presentations because they do not have to be together to work on it! It is such a great concept and your post really highlights the awesome features of using Google presentations. Thanks!!

    • B. Taylor says:

      Anna/All, Remember that when a presentation is embedded, viewers do not need “the link” because assuming they are on the class website (yes, they need that link!), the embedded presentation displays and can be played just like Sara’s does in her blog post.

      Also remember that unless your school system uses Google Apps for Education to host email for teachers and students, that children must be 13 or older to sign up for a free Google account, so that rules out using Google Drive tools with elementary students. With Google Apps for Education, students will have their own account provided by the school system. At this time in our local area, not many school systems are using Google Apps for Education.

    • Sara R. says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate your appreciation of the embedded presentation (props to Professor Taylor for encouraging me to include that). I am glad that you, too, can envision yourself using this tool in your classroom!

  16. Laura H. says:

    This is great! I normally have a super boring powerpoint, because I am not well versed in the program. But I am so glad you taught me how to spruce up the background, fonds, and other visual elements. Working on a shared powerpoint sounds like a valuable experience I should try soon!

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