Google Slides – Master slides and themes

The built-in themes provide a great springboard to make professional looking slides but what happens if you want them to look different? Or what happens if you want to make your own style of slides and you only want to set it all up once?

Well, with editing the Master you can create your own set of slides, which via layouts and themes, you can easily create a presentation with a personalised look or can adapt an existing one very quickly.

Accessing the master editing screen

Here I’ve started off with a blank presentation, which by default uses the Simple Light theme.


Go to the “Slides” menu and click on “Edit master”.


This opens the master editing screen. On the left are the different layouts currently available, e.g. title slides, section slides, etc. The one at the top is the Master slide, which allows you to edit the Title, bullet points, etc, which importantly, also affect the other layout slides. In other words, if you change something on the Master slide, it affects some of the layout slides.

The main part is the current layout selected, showing you how the text would look and the positioning of the text boxes, objects, etc.

Finally, at the top it gives you the name of the theme and you have the chance to rename both the theme and sub titles.


Editing a current theme

Let’s start by editing one of the built-in themes. Right-click on the main part of the screen, and select “Change theme…”.


The themes sidebar will appear. Select the theme you want to edit. Here I’m going to choose the “Coral” theme.


As you can see this has completely changed the way the master looks.


Let’s change some of the slides to what we want. Here I’m going to start with the Master slide at the top. Let’s change the colour salmon to let’s say green. Click on the text box.


From the toolbar, click on the text colour icon.


You can change it to whatever colour you like, but I particularly like the “Theme” colours which match the current selection of colours really well. Using different colours in some kind of presentation is an acquired skill but this helps you easily mix the colours creating a professional look to your slides. Here I’m going to use the green for the text and some of the shapes.


Moving down to the next slide, which is the first layout slide (a title slide in this case). Let’s change the colour of the square.


This time as it’s a shape, click on the fill colour icon on the toolbar and change it to the colour you want.


Now it’s green.


Next one down, is a section header. This time let’s change the background to yellow. As the salmon colour isn’t a shape, but is a background, right-click on the background.


Then select “Change background…”.


This time I’m going to select yellow from the themed colours.


The colour changes to yellow, then click “Done”.


Here we have a nice mustard yellow section header.


Next one down is a ‘title and body’ slide. As you can see, the text at the top is already green. This is because we changed the Master earlier at the top and we changed the text on that to green, so it changed this slide automatically.



At the bottom is a salmon bar, let’s change that to green. Click on the shape and then change the fill colour.


We could continue editing all the slides layouts. We could of course change other things like the font, the positioning of the shapes and text boxes. Basically anything we like.

Renaming a master

At the top of the master screen, you’ll see a “Rename” button. Click that to open the “Rename master” dialogue box.


Type in the name you want for your master and press “OK”.


As you can see at the top of the master screen, the master name is now “Coral Green”.


Also notice that this name is used as the start of all the layout slides, e.g. “Coral Green – Title slide”.


To close the master editing screen, click the cross on the right-hand corner.


Accessing your master

Here’s the original slide:


And here’s the new look:


More importantly, if you now open the layout menu, by clicking on the arrow next to the plus button on the left of the toolbar, you will see all the layouts we just created ready to be added to your presentation, without having to create them, duplicate them, etc.


Importing a master theme

Here I’ve created a simple title slide using the default ‘Simple Light’ theme.


I want to use the Coral Green theme I created earlier, so that it automatically converts this title slide to the new theme.

Click on “Theme” on the toolbar.


This opens the themes sidebar. At the bottom, click on “Import theme”.


This opens the “Import theme” dialogue box, which will show you possible presentations you can use. Here I want to use the “Master” theme I created earlier. I click on that and press “Select”.


This then opens the theme in that presentation. Click on it and press “Import theme”.


This changes the title slide to the imported theme.


You can change the look a complete set of slides just by importing a new theme, which you created previously in the master edit.

Finally, you can of course create a master set of slides completely from scratch, then via the importing theme you can make that available on whatever set of slides, you’re working on.

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Word art

If you want to make some dramatic looking text, Word art can be a better option than using a normal text box. So, what’s the difference between the two? With Word art, the text is treated a bit like an image allowing you to change the size without being limited to font sizes. It also allows you to colour the text in different ways. Let’s look at an example to show this.

Inserting Word art

Go to the “Insert” menu and select “Word art”.


This opens a dialogue box where you type your text into. If you want to add multiple lines of text, hold down Shift & Enter to add a new line. Press “Enter” to finish.


This creates your piece of ‘word art’.


Unlike a text box, we have controls more similar to that of Shapes. I.e. we can change the outline colour (fill colour), the text colour (line colour), line thickness of the outline and add dotted lines.

Let’s start with filling it red. Click on the “Fill colour” on the toolbar and select a colour.



Now let’s change the outline colour to blue.



Now let’s thicken the blue outline a little, by changing the line weight from 1 to 2px.


Not amazing, but you get the idea.


Here I’ve rotated it by clicking on and moving the blue circle in the middle of it.


Like a text box you have full access to the range of fonts.


Unlike a text box, you can stretch the text either vertically or horizontally, just like an image or a shape.


Below is the equivalent using just a text box. As you can see it’s one colour and you’re not able to distort the text size as it’s fixed to the ratios of the font.


Hopefully, you’ll agree the word art one is a bit more dramatic even though it’s just a simple example. However, in comparison to Powerpoint and programs like Photoshop, it’s very limited.

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Importing slides

There are times when you want to import a few slides from a presentation that you or someone else has previously made. You could make a copy of the presentation and delete the slides you didn’t want but a better way is to import just the slides you want. This also allows you to import them from various sources. You can import both Slides documents and Powerpoints.

Importing slides

To start go to the “File” menu and select “Import slides…”.


Here you have 2 options, either you can access presentations you have stored on your Google Drive (in Presentations) or you can upload a presentation from your hard drive or pen drive, which can be in Powerpoint format.

Here I’m going to start by selecting a presentation further down the list called Writing Correction Codes. I click on it and click “Select”.


This opens displays the slides in that document. I have the choice of selecting specific ones, or I can select all of them by clicking “All” on the right-hand side. Press “None” to return to none selected.

At the bottom I also have the option of keeping the original theme. Choose the ones you want and click the “Import slides” button at the bottom.


Here I’ve imported just the title slide.


Importing a Powerpoint

As mentioned above you can also import files stored on your computer. From Import slides, click on “Upload”, then “Select a file from your computer”.


As before you can select the slides you want.


Here I’ve just added one of the slides. This can also save you converting and uploading a complete Powerpoint to Slides, if you just want a part of it.


Note, that importing slides also creates a Google Slides document in your My Drive with all the slides from that Powerpoint.


Notice that the slide isn’t centred like the original. This was from a Powerpoint slide and despite being a very simple slide with just 2 text boxes, it failed to match the original. So, be careful when importing from Powerpoint. I also couldn’t import a Keynote presentation (Apple’s Powerpoint) and got an error saying it couldn’t import that format.

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Adding video

Video can brighten up any presentation and it’s easy to add YouTube videos and videos stored on Google Drive into your slides. Here’s how:

Inserting a YouTube video

Go to the “Insert” menu and select “Video”.


You can either search for a video on YouTube using a search term or you can paste in a URL directly in.

First, let’s add a video off YouTube. Type in the search term in the box. Here I’m looking for a video on the new Google Sites. Then click on the video you want and press “Select”.


This will add the video onto your slide. Note, I’m using a grey background here to show you the edge of the slide.


If you are just going to play the video, then I would increase the size of the video so it reaches the edges of the slide. Just click and drag the little blue squares in the corners.


To watch the video, you’ll need to be in present mode. So, click on the “Present” button.


The video doesn’t play automatically, you’ll need to click on the video to play.


Hovering over the video will bring up the video controls and options at the bottom.


Going from left to right you have play/pause, sound control, current time and duration of the video, captions options, settings (speed, subtitles, quality), watch it on the YouTube site, full screen.


The other way to add a video is to paste in the YouTube URL. Click on “URL”, then paste in your previously copied URL, then click “Select” as before.



Adding a video from Google Drive

Choose “Video” from the “Insert” menu.


At the top, choose “Google Drive”.


Then you have a choice of looking on your Drive, in Shared with me, or in Recent. Here I’ve looked in the latter and have clicked on the video I want. Then click “Select”.


This will add the video on your slide.


With the video selected, from the toolbar, click “Video options” to open the Video Options sidebar.


Here you can change the starting point and ending point of your video.Plus, you can choose to play it automatically when the slide is opened, and you can play the video without any sound.


To change the starting or ending time, either type in the times you want, or if it’s a particular place in the video you want, then you can play the video in the previewer, then pause it at the appropriate moment and click on “Use current time”, to add that point to either the start and end time.


This will grey out the words “Use current time”.


To return the times back to the original settings, click on either of the curved arrows.

To automatically play the video, tick the setting “Auto-play when presenting”. And to play the video with no sound, tick the setting “Mute audio”.


As currently you can’t add sound files to Slides, a work around is to record the music or voiceover on a video then to add the video to the slide, then to make the video as small as you can.

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Leaving & replying to Comments

One of the great things that Slides allows you to do is collaborate together on a set of Slides. Quite often you want to leave comments to your collaborators to make comments on what they’ve done or ask them about what they think about something you’ve done. There’s a simple but effective comment system that allows you to do this.

Adding comments

Below as, an example, I’ve been working on some slides related to the Euros football tournament. I want to question the result in the last game that my colleague has put. So I click on that text box.


The quickest is from the toolbar, by clicking on the “Add comment” icon.


This opens a comments box on the right-hand side.


Type in the comment you want to leave, then press “Comment”.


This will leave your comment, along with who left it and the time and date.


You can edit your comment, by clicking on the 3 dots, then selecting “Edit”. Plus, you can delete your comment selecting “Delete”.


Replying to a comment

To reply to a comment, click on the comment and the reply box will appear below.


Type in your reply and click “Reply”.


The original comment and the reply are grouped together. Clicking on the comment will show you what it refers to by highlighting the object with a yellow box, in this case a text box.


A comment can be added to any object on the slide.


When your comment is replied to, by default, you also receive an email with the comment and the reply.


If you click on the blue title of the document in the first sentence, in this case called “Comments”, whilst using a mobile, this opens the screen below (if you have the Slides app installed):


This allows you to reply to and resolve (close) comments right from your phone.

The comments button in the top-right of the screen allows you to add comments, by clicking on the “Comment” option, but it also allows you to control the notifications you receive. Click on “Comments”.


Then click on “Notifications”.


You have the choice of receiving all notifications, just the ones you created, or none. This only refers to this specific Slides document.


Resolving a comment

Once a comment has been ‘answered’ you can remove it by clicking on the Resolve button.


If your notifications are turned on, you will receive an email showing the comment as “resolved”.


eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Audience Q&A

One of the most recent updates to Slides has been the addition of “audience Q&A”, which allows those watching some kind a presentation ask questions to the speaker. It’s really easy to use and can make presentations and also class activities far more interactive and engaging. Here we’ll look at:

  • Setting up audience Q&A
  • How do the audience ask a question?
  • What does the speaker see when someone asks a question?
  • Turning the Q&A off
  • Continuing with previous Q&As
  • Q&A history

Setting up audience Q&A

To use audience Q&A, click on the little triangle next to the “Present” button near the top of the screen. This gives you two options “Presenter view” which can include the use of Q&A and also speaker notes, or “Present from the beginning”, which will just present your slides.

Click on “Presenter view”.


This brings you to the audience tools and speaker notes view. On the left you have your slides, with the current one at the top, then below that the previous and next one. See my post on presenting your slides for more info on this.

On the right, it will show the audience Q&A part and at the top you have the option of selecting your speaker notes or the audience tools (Q&A).

Note, you will normally want one screen showing the audience tools and speaker notes which you are using, and another which the audience sees. Depending on your computer configuration, you may need to set it up so there are two screens.


Now you will want to share a link with your audience so they can use Q&A. Click “Start new”. Then it will take you to a screen with the short link, automatically set to “on”.


If you look at the screen you are showing to your audience, at the top they will see “Ask a question at…” plus the link. This stays at the top of all your slides unless you decide to turn it off.


How do the audience ask a question?

On their devices (phones, tablets, laptops) the audience go to the URL that you displayed. This takes them directly to the ‘ask a question’ page.


When they want to ask a question, they type it in in the white box, then press Submit. Note, this is the iOS format.


Once submitted, their question appears below. This appears on everyone’s devices who have used the Q&A link.


The audience have the possibility of rating the questions by clicking on the thumbs up or thumbs down icons. This moves the questions up or down the list, so the favourite questions are at the top. This is particularly useful if you receive a lot of questions. However, in a classroom environment you may wish to not use this as, as a teacher you may not want this to become a popularity contest!


If your audience is already logged into their Google account, using the link will use that account by default, but you can change accounts by clicking on the hamburger icon (3 lines) in top left corner of the yellow title bar.

Then go to “Switching accounts” to change accounts. They may wish to use a professional account rather than a personal one, as their name, email address, and profile picture are displayed for all to see.


The audience can still use the Q&A tool even without a Google account. They use the same link and the only difference is, is that “anonymous” will appear next to their question.


Those with Google accounts can choose to sign out and remain anonymous by going to “Switching accounts” then selecting “Sign out”.


What does the speaker see when someone asks a question?

In the Audience tools section, the speaker will see the questions come in and they will be listed in order of the time they were received, or if the audience has used the ranking system, then the most popular ones are at the top.

To show the question on the audience’s screen, click on “Present” just below the thumbs.


This will change the button to “Hide” and a green tick appears showing that you are showing that question.


On the audience’s screen they will see the question in massive font so it’s clear to see and they will see who asked the question (if they are logged in). This is really good, as sometimes in conferences and presentations, the audience (and speaker!) don’t hear the question being asked, but here it’s plain for all to see.


Turning the Q&A off

To turn it off, in the Audience tools section, just click the button to “off”. No more questions can be received and the link will disappear from your slides.


On the audience’s devices they will see a message saying “Sorry, this Q&A session is closed”.


Continuing with previous Q&As

During a presentation you may have stopped the Q&A part but wish to return to it later on. Fortunately, Slides allows you to continue with the recent Q&A session and keeps the questions previously asked in that session.

To return to it, from the audience tools section, click on “Continue recent”.


Then select the recent session by clicking on “continue”.


This will automatically open up the question page on the audience’s devices again.

Q&A history

Another wonderful part of Q&A is the fact that it remembers all the questions that were asked. This is stored in the Q&A history. To access this, go to the “Tools” menu and select “Q&A history”.


This opens up the history of questions asked for that set of slides. To see the questions, click on the session you want.


It will show you the same information you saw during the session, i.e. the questions, the ratings, and the people who asked them.


This is aimed at making presentations more interactive with the audience but I also see some educational uses. For example, students can ask their teacher anything they haven’t understood well during a class; while watching a video they can ask questions to be answered by their class mates. Maybe it could be used to recorded answers to a problem set, so not just for question taking. Then the students vote for their favourite solution.

It’s a really, nice, simple tool to use which I’m sure will be exploited to its extent.

eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Line spacing & Text indenting

Here we’ll look at a couple of simple little tools which can help make your text in your Slides that much better. They are line spacing and indent.

Changing the line spacing

In this example, I’ve got a slide with some point on it, which as there are only 4 points, I want to spread it out a little to make it more readable and so it fits on the slide more equally.

Click on the text box you want to change.


Go to the toolbar and click on the “Line spacing” icon.


Usually by default it’s set at 1.15, let’s change it to Double.


As you can see there is much more spacing in between the lines.


From the same menu, you can also add space before the item or afterwards, which can be useful for titles and headings. Plus, you can customise the amount of spacing yourself by clicking on “Custom spacing”.


Here you can enter the amount of spacing for all the lines (on the left) or before and after the item selected (on the right). Just click the Apply button once you’ve changed the settings.


Here I’ve changed it to a line spacing of “3”, so basically there are 2 lines of space in between each line of text (2+1=3).


Changing the indent

We can also change the position horizontally of the text by controlling the indent.

Click on the text box, then click on the “Increase indent” icon on the toolbar.


This moves the text to the right.


Normally I would just move the text box but if for example, the text box is coloured, I may want the colour to cover all the text box area, whereas the text may be further from the edge.

Here’s the I’ve indented the text, but as you can see the coloured box remains the same.


We can also indent individual sentences not just the whole text in the text box. Here I want to indent the “Easy to use” line as it’s a sub-point of the line above. Click on the line just before the first letter, in this case the “E”.


You can either click on the Increase indent icon on the toolbar, or simply press the Tab key to indent the line. Here I’ve done the same for every other line to create sub-points.


It’s possible to access indenting via the Format>Paragraph styles menu, but personally I never use this as it’s quicker to do the above.


If you want to decrease an indent, either click on the “Decrease indent” icon or press Shift + Tab key.

The above also applies to paragraphs too not just bullet points. Here is a piece of text.


Here’s the same text with double spacing.


Here’s the text which has been indented a few times.


eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Web Clipboard

Copy and pasting is great except what happens when you want to copy and paste a number of things many times? And what happens if you want to paste from say a Google Slides document to a Google Docs one? This is where Web clipboard comes in. This allows you to copy various items and storing in the web clipboard ready to be pasted in any order you like and as many times as you like. It also preserves the formatting when moving from one application to another, e.g. Slides to Docs.

Adding items to the Web clipboard

First let’s add a simple speech bubble and text I made in Slides to the Web clipboard.


Select both objects and go to the “Edit” menu, select “Web clipboard”, then “Copy shapes to web clipboard”.


Now, let’s copy something else. Here I have an image of the UK, a text box with “Wales” in it and an arrow showing where the country is. I want to copy all of it, so as above I select all the objects so they are all highlighted and follow the same steps above to add it to the Web clipboard.


Now I want to paste my “shapes” or in other words, my objects onto a different slide. Go to the Web clipboard menu, and this time you’ll see that it tells you there are 2 shapes in the clipboard. Which one is which? Hover over the word “Shapes” and you will see a preview of what’s been copied appear below. So the bottom one is the speech bubble.


And the top one is the map.


Pasting items from the Web clipboard

To paste each one, select “Paste as shapes”.


Obviously, doing this once within Slides, isn’t any better than normal copying and pasting, but if you want to paste further copies of those objects, then hopefully, you can see that this makes the whole process a little quicker and simpler.

Web clipboard, however, has another advantage, it allows you to paste your beautifully created objects in Slides (and in fact from Drawings) into Docs. Below I’ve pasted the 2 objects that I created in Slides into Docs, following the same steps as above using “Paste as shapes”.


Note, the formatting is identical as to what I created in Slides. This is because it has created an image of the selected objects, so now the map, arrow and text box, are one image object, and the speech bubble and text box are also one image, which can’t be edited individually in Docs.


What happens if you just copy and paste from Slides into Docs?

Selecting the speech bubble and the text box and pressing Ctrl+C to copy. When you paste it into Docs, the speech bubble disappears and only the text remains.


Similarly, when the map, arrow and text box are selected, when they are pasted into Docs, the map remains, but the arrow disappears and the text box is just placed as normal text next to the map.



Removing the contents of the Web clipboard

To remove what’s in the Web clipboard, go to the Web clipboard menu and select “Clear all items”.


eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Revision History

One of the best features of the Google Apps is the revision history, which stores every change to your document, allowing you to go back to a particular revision, right back to when you first created the document. It also shows you who made what revision.

To access it, click on the link at the top of the screen, which will say “Last edit was on ” + the date.


It’s also possible to access it via the File menu, by selecting “See revision history”.


On the right-hand side of the screen you’ll see a list of dates and times, along with who made the revision.By default, it shows the main changes.


Underneath you have the option of either showing the changes in the main window or not. By default, it shows them. Plus, you can show more detailed revisions, which will show the changes every time it saved.


Here’s the more detailed version.


On the main page in the middle, the changes are highlighted by coloured boxes. Each person has a different colour.


Finally, you can also zoom in to the slides and you can print a particular revision without having to change your slides. To return to your slides, just click on the arrow.


eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)

Google Slides – Using templates

Slides has a small set of professional-looking templates which can be used to get you started. They are three categories: Education, Work, Personal. They cover areas like CVs, lesson plans, different types of presentations, recipe books, etc. They are very easy to set up.

They can be accessed either from within Slides or via a direct URL.

The URL will take you to the template page. I’ve also found that typing in also takes you to the same page.

The templates are at the top of the page and to see more, just click on the “more” option on the right-hand side.


You can also open the template page from within slides, by going to “File” menu, selecting “New” and then “From template”.


There are 25 templates to choose from and can be easily adapted if they don’t meet your needs exactly. To create one, just click on the image.


If you use the direct URL, this opens the newly created template. However, if you create within another Slides document, it creates a new Slides document in your My Drive but doesn’t open it, so you have to go out of the current document and navigate to My Drive and open from there. So, I’d suggest using the URL.

Here I’ve created a lesson template. As you can see it’s already filled with 7 slides covering different areas of a lesson plan. It makes a welcome, very visual alternative to the boring, dry text documents that teachers often have to fill out.


eBooks available on Drive, Forms, Sheets, Docs, Slides, and Sheet Functions:

Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)