3 tricks for making your Google Slides presentation more eye-catching

You don't need a design degree to create cool effects.

google slides logo standard
Credit: Rob Schultz

A well-designed slide deck does more than just look professional. It can help bolster your confidence as a presenter and makes it easier to communicate your ideas. Google Slides has a number of ways to help you easily put together compelling presentations even if you’ve never taken a design course. Here are a few that are guaranteed to engage eyeballs.

Change an image shape with masking

A standard square or rectangular image can look boxy and suck all the life out of your slide. Rounding the image’s corners or transforming it into another shape altogether can make for a much more eye-catching presentation. You don’t need to export your image file to a complicated graphics editor to do this. You can modify it right in Google Slides with the masking tool.

image mask

Use Google Slides’ image masking tool to modify the shape of a picture.

Select an image on a slide, then click the arrow to the right of the crop tool. A fly-out menu will open with a range of shapes, from circles and triangles to half-moons and hearts. Once you convert your image to one of these shapes, you can tweak it further using the crop tool or image handles.

Make text pop off an image

Sometimes you have such an arresting image, you want to maximize it by having it fill up a slide. The problem is, now you have no white space on which to place your text. And just typing over the image makes it difficult to see either.

transluscent

Using the fill tool, you can create a translucent shape to place behind text so it’s more readable.

The easiest solution is to create a translucent shape over the picture and overlay your text on it. Select a simple shape from the shape menu and drag it over the text you want to highlight. With the shape selected, click the Fill Color button on the toolbar, and in the fly-out box, select Custom. Select an off-white color from the color box, then drag down the opacity bar on the right until you get the desired transparency. You should be able to clearly read the text within your shape while still being able to make out the image underneath it.

Create a drop-shadow effect

Drop shadows are a great way to make text pop, particularly if your slide has a bright background color. Google Slides, however, doesn’t support drop shadows. But you can create the illusion of one with this simple workaround.

First, create some header text on a slide. Highlight the text and click the arrow next to the underlined “A” on the toolbar to select a text color. This will be the “shadow,” so grays and blacks are safe choices.

drop shadow

You can create a drop-shadow effect by positioning two text boxes just right.

Next, select the text frame and copy and paste. Highlight the text in this duplicate text box and perform the above steps to choose a different color for it—something that contrasts with the shadow. Then select the box around this new text and use your arrow keys to nudge it into place over the original text, offsetting it slightly to create a shadow effect. You can experiment with using multiple text overlays or with different font sizes for even more eye-popping effects.

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