Getting started with Google Slides

Learn some basic commands for Google Slides.

This tip is excerpted from Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes by Ian Lamont, part of the In 30 Minutes™ family of technology guides.

In Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes, I describe Docs as being an adequate substitute for Microsoft Word. And while Google Sheets isn't nearly as slick as Excel, it can certainly handle the basics. In addition, Google's product comes with online features such as Web Forms that greatly extend the functionality of Sheets.

Now we come to Slides, the Google Drive equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple's beautiful Keynote program. Slides is definitely the runt of the litter. Yes, it handles all of the things you would expect in a standard slideshow program, from animations to themes. But the presentations don't look very sophisticated -- a potential show-stopper for business users.

In business presentations, positive impressions can help make a sale or win over an audience. PowerPoint and Keynote, when used properly, can be extremely effective business communication tools. But Slides, with its flat designs and simple templates, looks amateurish. It may be enough for student projects or a presentation to a local community group, but for serious business, Slides' primitive designs can actually be a distraction.

Nevertheless, Slides does have a few saving graces:

* Its relative lack of features makes it very easy to use. * Collaboration is easier. * Slides can be instantly ported to the Web. * It's possible to create, edit, and present Slides offline (using Google's Chrome browser in Offline Edit mode) * It's possible to create a draft Slides file to take advantage of Google's collaboration features, and then export the file to PowerPoint for more sophisticated animations and formatting.

Here are some of the basic commands for Google Slides:

* To create a new presentation, open Google Drive, press the red Create button, and select Presentation. * A presentation can be launched by pressing the Present button in the upper-right corner of the browser window. * Exporting works by going to File>Download As, and selecting the desired file formats (.pptx, PDF, etc.). * New slides can be added by clicking the red button with a plus symbol in the upper-left corner of the toolbar area. * The drop-down menu in the red button lets you choose various slide formats ("title with body", "title with two columns", etc.)

For more tips and videos that describe how to use Slides and other programs in the Google Drive suite, visit the official book website for the Google Drive guide.

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