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If you’re creating a presentation in Google Slides, you might choose to include external images. Google Slides allows you to crop, recolor, and add effects like drop shadows and reflections with its built-in photo editor. Here’s how.

Cropping Images in Google Slides

While you’re more than welcome to continue cropping images in Photoshop or an alternative photo editor, you can perform this most basic of image edits in Google Slides itself. First, you’ll need to open your Google Slides presentation on your computer.

If you haven’t already inserted a picture, you can do that by clicking Insert > Images. From there, you can choose to upload an image from your PC, Google Drive, or Google Photos storage or search for and insert an image from the web.

Once your image is in place, right-click on your photo and click “Crop Image” to begin cropping.

You can also switch to the image cropping mode by double-clicking on your image.

An additional cropping border menu will appear around your image, allowing you to select which areas you want to remove.

Using your mouse or trackpad, select the parts of your image you’d like to keep. Anything outside of the gray border will be removed.

Use the mouse to select which areas of an image you want to crop in Google Slides

Once you’re happy with the cropped image, click once outside of the image area. Google Slides will apply the image crop automatically.

An example of a cropped image in Google Slides

Recoloring Images in Google Slides

The recoloring tool in Google Slides lets you modify the colors of an inserted image by applying one of several color filters. These include a sepia mode to give your image an older feel, as well as a black and white filter to remove color entirely.

To begin, right-click on your image and select “Format Options” to access the image formatting menu.

You can also access this by clicking Format > Format Options from the menu bar.

This will bring up the image formatting options on the right side. Click on the “Recolor” subcategory to begin recoloring your image.

By default, the drop-down menu will be set to the “No Recolor” option. Click on the drop-down menu and then select one of the visual filters to apply it to your image.

The image filter you apply will recolor your image, matching the preview thumbnail shown in the drop-down menu.

An example of recolored images in Google Slides

Adjusting Image Brightness, Contrast, and Transparency in Google Slides

If you need to touch up the brightness or contrast of your image or reduce the transparency to give it a faded-out feel, you can do this from the image formatting menu in Google Slides.

Right-click on your image and select “Format Options” or click Format > Format Options from the menu bar. Click on the “Adjustments” subcategory to access the brightness, contrast, and transparency levels for your image.

The image of Queen Elizabeth II shown above has a transparency level of zero. The brightness and contrast levels are also set at zero, with the ability to reduce those settings above and below zero (using the original image settings as the default).

To change these settings, move the sliders for each option using your mouse or trackpad. Move the slider to the left to reduce the effect of that option or move it to the right to increase it.

An example image of Queen Elizabeth II in Google Slides, with custom transparency, contrast and brightness levels applied

The adjustments are applied automatically. Once you’re happy with them, click outside of the image area or select “Reset” to return the image to its original state.

Adding Effects to Images in Google Slides

The image formatting menu in Google Slides includes two additional effects you can apply to your image: reflection and drop shadow.

Click Format > Format Options or right-click your image and click “Format Options” to access the image formatting menu.

Adding a Drop Shadow Effect

In the “Format Options” menu, click the drop-down menu arrow to enter the “Drop Shadow” subcategory.

This will automatically enable the checkbox next to “Drop Shadow” and apply the effect to your image. The options to modify the drop shadow effect will appear underneath.

You can modify the color of the drop shadow, how far you want it to extend and at what angle, how blurred you’d like it to be, and the transparency level applied to it.

Using your mouse or trackpad, move the sliders left or right to adjust the levels for each of these options. Use the drop-down menu to select the drop shadow color.

An image of Queen Elizabeth II in Google Slides, with a modified drop shadow applied

Any of the changes you make will be applied to your image automatically.

Click the checkbox next to the “Drop Shadow” category name to remove the effect at any point.

Adding an Image Reflection Effect

The “Reflection” subcategory in the “Format Options” menu allows you to add a reflection effect below your image. Opening the subcategory will, by default, enable the checkbox next to the name, applying the effect.

You can modify the effect further, with options to alter the transparency, distance, and size of the reflection using the sliders provided.

Using your mouse, move the slider for each option left or right to either reduce or increase the effect.

An image of Queen Elizabeth II in Google Slides, with the reflection effect applied, with modified settings

Changes to the reflection effect will be applied automatically. To remove the effect, click the checkbox next to the “Reflection” subcategory name.

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Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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