Getting Started with Your Presentation

If you're new to Google Slides getting started is easy. Use this lesson to familiarize yourself with this free cloud-based presentation software.

Getting started with your presentation

Google Slides allows you to create dynamic slide presentations. These presentations can include animation, narration, images, videos, and much more. In this lesson, you'll learn about the Google Slides interface and the basics of setting up your document, including the menu and shortcut toolbars, zoom settings, and choosing a theme.

The Google Slides interface

When you create a new presentation in Google Slides, the interface for Slides will appear. This interface displays the toolbar, along with the main view of your presentation. It allows you to create and modify slides, choose a theme, and share the presentation with others.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn about the interface for Google Slides.

edit hotspots

Slide Navigation Pane

The Slide Navigation pane allows you to view and organize the slides in your presentation.

Choosing a theme

When you first create a new presentation, Google Slides will prompt you to choose a theme. Themes give you a quick and easy way to change the overall design of your presentation. Each theme has a unique combination of colors, fonts, and slide layouts. Select a theme from the panel on the right side of the window, and it will be applied to your entire presentation.

Selecting a theme

You can choose from a variety of new themes at any time, giving your entire presentation a consistent, professional look. If you want to change your theme, you can open the Themes panel again by clicking the Theme command on the shortcut toolbar.

The Theme command on the Shortcut Toolbar

Working with the Google Slides environment

Here, we'll show you how to navigate the Google Slides environment. You'll learn how to use the menu and shortcut toolbars, zoom in and out, and play your presentation.

The menu and shortcut toolbars

The Google Slides interface uses a traditional menu system with a shortcut toolbar. The menus contain commands grouped by function. The shortcut toolbar has buttons for some frequently used commands.

The menus and Shortcut Toolbar

Showing and hiding the menus

You can choose to minimize the menu bar to free up more space to display your slides. Click the Hide the menus command to hide the menu bar, leaving only the shortcut toolbar at the top of the window. Click it again to show the menu bar again.

Hide the menus

Zooming in and out

You can zoom in and out of your presentation with the Zoom shortcut. Click Zoom on the shortcut toolbar, then move the mouse cursor over your slide. The cursor will change to a magnifying class with a plus sign inside of it. Now you can left-click to zoom in or right-click to zoom out. Press Escape on your keyboard to return your cursor to normal.

Zooming with the cursor

You can set the zoom more precisely in the View menu.

The zoom options in the View menu

Playing the presentation

When you are ready to show your presentation—or if you want to see what it will look like during a presentation—click the Present button to the right of the menus. You can also click the drop-down arrow for additional presentation options.

Presentation options

Challenge!

  1. Open Google Slides and create a blank presentation.
  2. Change the presentation title from Untitled Presentation to Practice Presentation.
  3. Choose a theme for your presentation.
  4. Use the View menu to set the zoom to 50%.
  5. When you're finished, your presentation should look something like this: Note: Colors and fonts might be different.
    Getting Started Challenge Example