Google Drive Tutorial (Part 6): Google Presentations

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Google Drive Tutorial

Hello again, my friends, it has been a great week, and even more so in the last month with this ongoing Google Drive tutorial.   We’ve plowed through a great many topics in the Cloud and the Internet. And today we will take a look at Google Presentations.

An common and often important part of any presentation is the visual expression.  I once attended a lecture in college called “1000 words”. The lecture was two hours long and probably did not include even 1000 words. But of all the lectures I’ve attended it stuck in my mind as one of the best.  The reason was that the speaker got most of her point across in visualizations than in spoken words.  And in fact most of the slides in the presentation did not have words either, but only images and associations.  Admittedly it was one of the most quiet lectures I’ve attended, but it was also one of the most memorable.

There is an old adage that goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.  By this idea, the best presentations have many multi-faceted images. Personally, I would like to do more of my articles in visual formats, but the newsletter does not lend itself to that end, easily.  So, at least for now, these articles will contain only one image at the beginning.

Google Presentations

Although I do not make many presentations myself, I’ve found that there are many advantages to Google Presentations over a product like Microsoft Powerpoint.  First and foremost Google Presentations allows users to have access to the presentation from anywhere that has an internet connection.  


Just like in every prior program that has been covered in this tutorial of Google Drive, Google Presentations can be shared over the internet.  This is a particularly useful feature in giving a presentation to a group, as everyone can be in different locations while participating in the same meeting.  The presenter or speaker can direct the meeting just as it would be if the audience were in the same room, but rather than necessarily stand in front, the speaker can sit at a computer.  

It is likely that you will have questions during a presentation or lecture, and you may want to write them down.  It is somewhat easier to make comments or questions on the computer in relation to the presentation when both are in front of you.  

In this article we are covering the sharing aspect before the menu items, but in this case it was more helpful to make note of it first.  

Menu Items

Google Presentations menu items are somewhat different that the first two programs in the Google Drive suite.  Although several of the primary pull-down items are similar, there are additional menu items that are specific to the presentation features.  In particular, Slide and Arrange are new.

A “slide” in Google Presentations is a single page of the presentation. Each slide has certain formats that you may want to use.  It is convenient to use the Slide menu item to manipulate each slide either while editing or during the displaying of the presentation. As in all Google products there are keyboard shortcuts if you need them, which may speed up the actions from the menu.  

The other menu item is “Arrange”, which is used as you might expect to arrange the slides.  You may discover at some point that one slide or another is in the incorrect order.  Or if in the case that you need to add or remove slides or change their orientation, the Arrange menu item will help with you.

There are yet several more menu items that are represented by an assortment of icons, the row just below the main row of single-word menu items.  Although It is likely that Google will assume that you would know what these all mean, it will help you to test them by clicking on them.  However if you have used Google programs before it is likely that you will have seen similar icons.  For the most part these icons are for manipulating the text and images in the presentation.


It is quite common to use a theme when creating a presentation.  Themes help maintain the general appearance of the overall presentation and give it a consistent look.  Depending on the type of presentation that you may be working on, you may want to customize the theme to fit the occasion.

An example of a theme is the “Chalkboard”.  Although it is much more common to see a “white board” in a conference room, back in the days before chalkboards were the best way to make the idea clear.  In one of my presentations I use the Chalkboard theme to enforce the fact that the presentation relates to teaching.  


When creating a slide for a presentation, you may want to have a clearly defined space in each slide.  You may start with a blank slide, but by using layouts, you are given a template with which to work.  The layout might consist of a header space above two columns, or three columns only.  These “templates” are provided because often have few words, and much imagery.


Google Presentations offers a convenient and visually pleasing slide transition feature.  If  you were giving a presentation without Google Presentations, but in front of a live audience, you might use a large pad of paper.  When one page is filled, how do you transition from the one to the next? (awkwardly flipping the last page over the back of the pad)  In Google Presentations, you have many options.

If perhaps you’d like the prior slide to shuffle left or right when it disappears and the next appears, you might choose the “Slide from left to right” transition.  But what if you wanted a fancy three-dimensional graphic that would add a pleasant visual stimulus to the presentation? Then you would use “Cube” transition.  

To Present

Once all your slides have been filled out with whatever graphics or text you find to be appropriate, you can click the “Present” button at the right-hand corner.  There are three pull-down options, but we will not cover them here.  Hitting “Present” will push the presentation to full screen and either advance through each slide manually, or automatically.

In the lower left-hand corner you will see a tiny toolbar.  This can be used for controls over the presentation.  Hopefully some of the icons that Google uses in it’s programs are become familiar to you.  You may advance or backtrack, play or pick the specific slide (clicking this will bring up a list of all the slides).  If you are done with the presentation, hit the button with four arrows pointing inward to return to the editing screen.  The six sided sprocket has become the universal icon for “Settings” and is the last icon on the bar.  Beyond that will exist the program (ESC is also an option for getting out).  


Probably the most complicated aspect to Google Spreadsheets is developing the content.  Google intends to make everything else as easy and portable as possible.  Although Microsoft Office Powerpoint has many more features, it is the simple things that make Google Presentations more fun.  

With this short tutorial, you may still have questions and I am ready to help you with whatever you may need on this topic.  If you still feel that the explanation above is too vague or complex, please do not hesitate to send me an email and I will be glad to explain further.  Be sure to check out the Glossary for new terms from this, and every article on

Have a Great Friday and weekend


– Wes


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