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Monday, August 11, 2014

Hack Google Slides

I am a big fan of being able to manipulate a page to look however I want with the use of text boxes and images. In Google Docs, the formatting of pictures is temperamental at best. I love how Google Drawings and Slides allow you to change things up, but I don't so much like how they are limited to the slide or canvas.

Here's an idea - Especially if you are looking for a Microsoft Publisher type of functionality, use Google Slides to create beautiful magazines, newsletters, or anything else your mind can think of.

Wait, your telling me that that isn't what Google Slides is for? You're right! Hack away.  Here's a demonstration:

Go to file>Page setup - then choose custom size - for today's illustration of this hack, I am going to make a standard 8.5 x 11 inch slide, so if I print it out, it fits perfectly on a piece of printer paper (but who prints things up anymore?) - If you do print, you can choose to do one slide per page and have a handout, or you can do 2 slides per page and make it a little smaller.



Now that you have your slides set up so that they are the size of pieces of paper, you can delete any of the text boxes that are showing, and design the slide any way you want.

You will see one of the slideshows that I put together for students to create a newsmagazine about themselves for the first week of school. This will allow them to go in and edit, design, and add their information to the slideshow.

How I plan on using this with my students:


  • Their homework  in the first week will be to fill in their information on the slideshow, and then they can redesign if they are interested in doing so as long as the pertinent information is present.
  • Then, we will do small group presentations at their tables to introduce themselves to their table partners.
  • Then we can do a whole class activity where the table partners share something they learned about each person

Pro-Tip Solution:

Problem: If you are using Chromebooks when it comes to presenting your magazines, if you just press present, it will show up in the middle of the screen.  The problem is that it is smaller (especially on a Chromebook) than a normal slideshow.

Solution: After you hit present in Slides, press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-F3 and it will rotate the screen 90 degrees and your page will take up most of the screen (it will look sideways until you hold the Chromebook like an actual book). It will be much easier to read and you can even hold them up for a gallery walk or presenters display.

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