Google Slide Your Way from Zero to Hero
Knowing where to start formatting Google Slides can often seem like a daunting and overwhelming task for any educator or professional. A task that many would think is time consuming, tedious, and only for a trained digital specialist. My goal today is to prove to you, yes YOU, that EVERYONE is capable of creating a beautiful and effective Google Slides presentation or publication! The following is a user-friendly, step-by-step guide to designing your best Google Slides yet!
Before We Start:
- Choose your size! You have the option to customize the size of your Google Slides Template. This feature is located under FILE > Page Set-Up > Custom > type in your desired dimensions. The first number you enter will be the horizontal length (x-axis) and the second the vertical height (y-axis). The most common dimensions that I create are letter (8.5 x 11), legal (8.5 x 14), and tabloid (11 x 17) as many of my publications are printed for classroom posters, handouts, etc. For presentations, I select to create them as using either the widescreen setting (16:9) or the standard setting (4:3).
- Don’t be afraid to take risks! The best Google Slides designs come out of trying new combinations of the different features and tools.
- Think contrast at all times! Dark backgrounds require light text and light backgrounds require dark text. The further away on the color spectrum the better – this will create the optimal visual experience for your audience.
Let’s Get Started!
- Open up Google Slides either through your Google Drive (New > Google Slides) or through the direct link – slides.google.com.
- Choose your layout. I always like to start with a blank layout rather than a preset layout where you can click and enter text. (LAYOUT > Blank). I personally feel that a blank layout opens up more opportunities for creativity and flexibility (especially with students!).
- Get ready to design and be creative!
The Design Process
1. Select a light color background for your Google Slide. “Light green 3” is a personal fave of mine (BACKGROUND>Color). Tip: If you scroll over the color palette you can see the specific color names.
2. Create a rectangle across the width of your Google Slide (approx 1” in height). Create the shape using the Shape tool in the toolbar. Color your rectangle a dark grey (Fill Color – looks like a paint bucket) and remove the border line color by selecting “transparent” (Border color – looks like a pencil).
3. Time to add a heading! The best way to create headings is through Word Art (INSERT > Word Art). A text box will pop up for you type in your heading based on your particular topic. For today’s demo, I will use the famous Renaissance poet Shakespeare. Type in your text and hit “Enter” to save. Once you hit enter, you will see a workable box of text where you can customize the font, size, color, etc. For my heading, I selected the font “Englebert”, a white fill color, and a black line color (2px). For an extra challenge – place a drop shadow on your text by right-clicking on your text box > Format Options > Drop Shadow from the panel toolbar (FYI the distance of my drop shadow is set to 10).
4. Now it is time to add an image! Google Slides has a built-in image search (through the Insert > Image > Search the Web) but I prefer to copy and paste from the internet (copyright-friendly images of course!). Go find a picture of Shakespeare that you like (Hint: Use the Google Search tools to search by transparent images if you would like a portrait without the ugly white border). Copy and paste your image onto your Google Slide.
5. Now it is time to blend in the image with the light green background. Right-click on the image, select format options, from the panel menu bar click on adjustments and increase the transparency of your Shakespeare image to 50%. This will give a nice smooth look to your image and will create visuals that aren’t too harsh on the eyes. Please note that I enlarged my image to fill the remaining space of my slide above my heading.
6. You are almost done! Congratulations for making it this far in the tutorial! Now it is time to add some additional text to create a nice, finished look to your Google Slide. For this text, I will use the regular text box option in the main toolbar (the icon looks like a “T”). After selecting the text box option, click on your slide in the location where you’d like to place the text. I changed my font to “Allura” at 36 point font size (Google has over 600 font choices!), and I bolded the text to help it stand out. My final step was adding a drop shadow to my text to create more of a contrast between the words and the background.
Voila! You have created a well formatted Google Slide! From here you can duplicate your slide to keep going with a consistent template throughout your presentation, or add additional facts and details to make it a poster for your classroom!
Be proud and confident with your new Google Slides design skills! Keep experimenting, keep taking design risks, and your Google Slides will go from zero to hero in no time! This slide template is universal for any kind of presentation of school curriculum. You will be amazed by how students make it their own and will continue to demonstrate the limitless design combinations you can create using Google Slides!
Certified Google Innovator
Royal Middle School Teacher & Technology Support
Saanich School District 63