top of page

Guide to Google Slides: The Basics

Guide to Google Slides: The Basics

How to get started with Google Slides

Google Slides is one of the simplest and most popular programs for creating presentations. It’s built to make the process of creating and collaborating simple, and offers lots of flexibility in terms of design options. And while it may not be as robust as PowerPoint, it’s a solid option for both beginner and experienced presentation creators.

Whatever your skill level, we’ve got a few tried and true tips to help you make your next Google Slides presentation a masterpiece.

How to create a new presentation

There are a few ways to create a new presentation with Google Slides. You can click the New button from your drive, or simply visit the Slides home page in the Docs site. But our favorite Slides hack is even easier: just type into your browser, and Google will take you right to a new presentation!

Converting between Slides and PowerPoint

When you’re getting started with Google Slides, you may have existing PowerPoint files that you want to use, edit, or repurpose. Rather than recreating them, Slides lets you import your PPT files and edit them as you see fit.

Your images and other items will be preserved, so you can pick up right where you left off. Slides even lets you import just some or all of the slides in your PPT.

After you import a PowerPoint, you should carefully check that all of the elements you need are working properly. While both programs offer the same core functionality, there are certain things that one can do that the other cannot, and things like animations, transitions, and charts may not convert perfectly.

To export your Slides presentation for download or to import into PowerPoint, click File in the menu bar, go to Download as, and choose Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx). in the drop down menu.

Import the correct layout or theme

Bringing in existing slides from other presentations is a standard way to build a new presentation. But simply pasting the slide will result in mismatched layouts that are visually jarring when you scroll between slides. To match your slides to your current presentation, use the following steps:

If you are copying and pasting your slides, choose “Match styles in this presentation” from the Import Slides pop-up.

If you are using the Import Slides options, deselect “Keep original theme.”

Find & Replace

Sometimes you need to edit text throughout your presentation. Slides lets you switch between finding and/or replacing any text you want to edit in your presentation.

First, to find a piece of text, you can Press Cmd+F on your keyboard to bring up the “Find” window, or Cmd+Shift+H for the Find and replace text box.

To get more specific, you can select the “Match case” box to only view instances that match the specific spelling you include in the search box.


Google Slides offers a set of pre-selected, web-based fonts that you can use in your presentations. On the one hand, this simplifies the design process by reducing the overwhelming number of font options, and removes issues where multiple users don’t share the same font. On the other hand, it means you can’t upload your own brand or custom font.

To change fonts, you can select the Fonts menu and pick from the drop-down list. If you want other options, you can select More Fonts at the top of the list to see additional fonts that can be added to your presentation.

Working with Charts

Slides offers tools to create a variety of chart types. To get started, click Insert > Chart, then select the type of chart you want to add.

Here’s where things get a little tricky.

All of the data that informs your final chart exists in a Google spreadsheet (or Sheet). That means when you create a chart, Slides will insert it into your presentation, and create a corresponding spreadsheet for you to edit the data and other elements of the chart.

Once you make changes to your chart, you can click Update inside the chart area and it will show your changes. Unfortunately, you can’t currently edit the data directly in Slides.

Editing Charts

Once you’ve added a chart, you can click the Arrow in the upper corner, then select Open source to go to the spreadsheet. From here, you can select the three dots in the corner of the chart, then click Edit chart.

This will let you edit every part of the chart, in great detail.

Once you are done editing the chart, return to your original slide and click the Update icon to show your edits.

Save your preferences

Slides lets you choose some common settings to customize, so you can streamline your slide design and stay focused on content. Click into Tools then select preferences for a list of options you can edit.

Hide the menus

Sometimes you need to clear your mind, and work without distraction. To hide the menus and work just with your toolbox, you can click the small arrow in the upper right of your window, or press Ctrl+Shift+F on your keyboard, and hide the menus. Conveniently, this also creates a “Search the menus” box to help you find any missing features you need, without changing the way you are viewing the screen.


Obviously this only scratches the surface of what Google Slides offers for presentation design. But with these skills at the ready, you have everything you need to make, edit, and share professional presentations quickly and easily.

Looking for more information about Google Slides and beyond? Check out our resources for expert advice and tested strategies.



PowerPoint tips and tricks, new presentation design ideas, and other bold ideas, delivered directly to your inbox.

bottom of page