By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Add slide transitions into a slide presentation
- Understand the commands in the Tools tab
- Add audio and video to a Slides presentation
- Know how to use the collaboration tools in Slides
Now that you have mastered creating an engaging presentation in PowerPoint, we will look at similar features in Google Slides. Slides offers collaboration tools similar to those we saw with Docs. You can do much of the same design work in Slides that you can in PowerPoint, albeit with some limitations and differences. Slides offers many templates to get you started, but it also includes all the tools you need to create a presentation from scratch. Here we are going to focus on adding the finishing touches to the Slides presentation you created in Preparing Presentations.
When presenting, strive to strike a balance between the information that the slideshow conveys and the way it conveys that information. Your goal is to hold the audience’s attention, while not adding so many special effects that you end up distracting them. Transitions are key to achieving this balance.
As with PowerPoint, transitions are the “how”—the way the slides move from one to the next. Transitions must be applied to one slide at a time unless you click on Apply to all slides. When you click on Transitions, found on the right side of the action bar, a sidebar will open up, where you will see a menu of different available transitions (Figure 7.46).
There are several choices to consider when adding transitions to your slides. Not all transitions will provide a professional appearance, and some may be more distracting than impactful. The same principles apply as PowerPoint: always consider the audience’s perspective. As the speaker, could a transition be a helpful tool to help you slow down a bit between slides or topics, or to give you a moment to gather your thoughts as you move to the next slide? As you rehearse your presentation, keep these items in mind. Remember, if you find a transition more bothersome than helpful, it will also be distracting to your audience.
Now, using the My Life in a Snapshot presentation, add a few slide transitions to engage the audience. Open the presentation you created in Slides in Preparing Presentations. You may need to refer to the material in Essentials of Software Applications for Business to remember how to open a file in Google.
Begin by adding a transition to the first slide. First select the slide, then go to Transition on the action bar. Then, from the sidebar on the right, click the down arrow next to None to reveal what transitions are currently applied to the slide. Then click on None in the drop-down menu to reveal the different transition options (Figure 7.47).
Try a few options to see which you find most appropriate. To preview the transition, click the Play button at the bottom of the pane. Notice that you can also change the speed of the transition by moving the slider between slow and fast. After you have added the desired transition, adjusted the speed if needed, and looked at the result, click the X in the upper-right-hand corner of the pane to close it out.
The Tools menu in Slides includes many features for fine-tuning your slides. Here you will find tools for proofing, accessibility, linking objects, and much more (Figure 7.48).
The first command in the Tools menu is Spelling. Clicking on Spelling opens a menu with three choices: Spell check, Show spelling suggestions, and Personal dictionary. These are all standard proofing tools that behave just like the ones you have already encountered in Docs (Collaborative Editing and Reviewing in Google Docs). The Personal dictionary is especially useful if you use several terms that may be unique to your business, including variations on the name of the business. For example, you could keep a list of employees’ names in your Personal dictionary, which will save you time when you need to issue different documents to employees and will prevent you from being stopped by spell check.
Linked objects is also found in the Tools menu. Clicking on Linked objects brings up a viewing pane on the right and lists anything in your presentation that contains a link to another file. For example, suppose you are presenting WorldCorp quarterly sales data and notice an error in a table that was created in Docs and linked on a slide. Using Linked objects, you can choose that Doc file from the list and make the needed revisions. This would not only update the table in your slide but will also revise the original Docs file where the table was created. This function is especially helpful when your presentation contains graphs and charts created in another Google program, like Docs or Sheets. (You will learn more about Sheets in Working with Spreadsheets.) Rather than going into the original data file, editing the material, then copying and pasting the chart or graph back into your Slides presentation, you can simply make the edits in the original file and your slide will automatically be updated.
Q&A is a unique feature of Slides. It allows collaboration that goes beyond simply sharing the file with other users. Using the Q&A tool, you can collaborate and interact directly with the audience during the presentation, and audience members can interact with each other. You need to activate this tool before you can use it. To do this, navigate to the top right corner of your screen and click on the down triangle next to Slideshow. (This is next to the Share button.) See Figure 7.49. You are offered two options: Presenter View and Start from Beginning. Click on Presenter View.
This brings up a new window that looks like Figure 7.50. This is what you will see when you are ready to accept questions from the audience. When you are ready to start a Q&A session, click on Start new.
You will then be taken to a page with a URL at the top for audience members. The Accepting questions from... toggle will automatically be turned to On, though you can toggle it to Off at any time. When it is turned on, you will see a URL, as shown in Figure 7.51. The audience can go to that URL on their phones or tablets; it will take them directly to the Ask a Question page, where they can type in their question and click Submit (Figure 7.52, Figure 7.53). This is the page where the questions will appear.
The questions will appear to the presenter as they come in, in the order in which they were asked (Figure 7.54). Also, everyone will see the questions that come in from all members of the audience. Participants can also interact with one another in the Q&A screen. They can Like questions or comments and can also reply to one another. To shut down the Q&A, just move the On button at the top of the questions page to Off. The audience will see a message something like this on their devices: “Sorry, this Q&A session is closed.” If you decide to take questions from the audience later in your presentation, instead of selecting Start new, you can choose another option: Continue Recent. This will continue the same Q&A session.
Insert Audio and Video
Adding sound to your Slides presentation is another way to engage your audience. You can insert any audio file, as long as they are in MP3 or WAV format. First, navigate to the Insert menu and click on Audio. Google lets you choose where to search for audio files: My Drive, Shared with me, or Recent. When you find the file you want, click on Select. An audio icon will come up with a play bar, which will show you the position in the track and its length (Figure 7.55). Remember, the icon has to be selected to view the play bar.
To control the volume, hover your mouse over the speaker symbol. The Format Options pane (under the Format tab) has other controls you may need, as shown in Figure 7.56.
Use the Audio playback controls to set how the audio will start, either automatically with the slide or on the click of the mouse. You can choose to loop the audio or to stop it with a slide change.
Inserting a video uses much the same process. Navigate to the Insert menu, then click on Video. As with inserting an audio file, you can navigate to where your video file is located (in My Drive, or your hard drive, or in a Shared Drive folder), or you can search YouTube or paste in a URL (Figure 7.57).
As in PowerPoint, the video will initially appear very large on your slide, but you can make it smaller by dragging the corners. A Play button will appear in the center of the video thumbnail. When you have the video thumbnail selected, the Format options pane will appear on the right (Figure 7.58). There are a number of different options and settings you can apply and modify. Try a few different ones to see what their effects are like.
As with any Google product, Slides makes it easy to collaborate with others. At any point when you wish to share your work with others, click on the Share button in the upper right corner. Alternatively, you can click on File and then choose Share, which is the first option in the File menu. Clicking Share first brings up a window asking you for a title. You can enter a title or click on Skip this step. Then you will see a window called Share with People and Groups, where you can add the names of people with whom you wish to share the presentation. This window should look familiar to you, as it is the same sharing window that appears in Docs. You have the usual options available to you: you can email your presentation to other individuals or groups (the first option in the window) or get a link to the presentation that you can also email to others or post online (the second option). You can also restrict or permit the actions of editors and change the options that you allow to viewers and commenters via the settings icon in the top right corner.
When you are collaborating with others, it is often necessary to add comments and have your comments responded to. To insert comments in Slides, click on the comment icon in the action bar (Figure 7.59). You can also access comments by clicking on Insert and then Comment.
Click on the comment icon and a little window will pop up with a place for you to write your comment. Next, click on Comment—it’s that simple. Communication is practically instantaneous. Now you can send your presentation off to your colleagues or save it to Google Drive. Figure 7.60 shows an example of a comment made on a slide as well as the response.
For every comment you insert, clicking on the three dots in the upper right corner allows you to edit the comment or delete it. Note that you can reply to others’ comments but cannot edit them.