Google Slides logo against a yellow gradient background.

Assembling a professional slideshow can be intimidating if you don’t feel creative or artistic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make an appealing and successful presentation. Google Slides provides features to help you design an attractive slideshow.

1. Apply Image Effects

You may have an image or two that could use a little pizzazz. Google Slides offers shadow and reflection features that may give your picture or photo just the right touch.

RELATED: How to Make an Image Transparent in Google Slides

Select your image and choose “Format Options” in the toolbar. When the sidebar opens, check the box for Drop Shadow or Reflection. Then, expand that section to adjust the transparency, distance, angle, or size.

Shadow and Reflection in Format Options

This lets you take ordinary images up a notch.

Shadowed images

2. Crop an Image to a Shape

Another way to make an image stand out is by cropping it to a shape. This is referred to as using a mask in Google Slides.

Select your image and click the Mask Image arrow attached to the Crop Image button in the toolbar. Move to Shapes, Arrows, Callouts, or Equation to see the available shapes in the pop-out menu.

Mask Image options

Then simply click the shape you want to use. You’ll see your image cropped to fit the shape.

Masked image

To make additional adjustments to the image, select “Format Options” in the toolbar. You can change the size, rotation, position, brightness, or contrast.

3. Place Text in Front of an Image

For things like a title slide, section divider, or conclusion, you may want a unique look. You can place text in front of (or even behind) an image.

RELATED: How to Place Images Behind or in Front of Text in Google Slides

With your image and text on the slide, move the text box on top of the image. If the text displays behind the image, select the box and head to the Arrange tab.

Text behind an image

Choose Order and pick either “Bring to Front” to place the text box on top of all slide elements or “Bring Forward” to place the text box one level up.

Arrange options

This lets you create a different look or save space, and it works well for welcome, transitional, or wrap-up slides.

Text in front

4. Shorten Lengthy Videos

If you want to include a video in your slideshow but trim it to only show a certain part of the clip, you can do so right in Google Slides.

Select your video and click “Format Options” in the toolbar. When the sidebar opens, expand Video Playback.

Video playback settings

If you have the exact times you want to use, enter those in the Start At and End At boxes. You’ll then only see that part of the video when you play it in the presentation.

Start and end times for a video

If you aren’t certain of the times, press Play in the preview of the video in the sidebar. When you reach the spot where you want to start the video, pause the playback and click “Use Current Time” below the Start At box. Then, do the same for the end time to the right.

Using current time to start

You can then play the video on your slide to make sure you’ve got the timing correct or adjust it further in the sidebar. Optionally, you can check the box for Mute Audio if needed.

RELATED: How to Add Videos and Customize Playback in Google Slides

5. Insert a Chart or Graph

Slideshows are all about visuals. So, if you have data you want to present, using a chart or graph is a good way to do it. If you have a chart in Google Sheets you want to use, you can simply insert it. Alternatively, you can create a graph from scratch.

Select the slide where you want the chart. Go to Insert > Chart and choose a chart type to create one or “From Sheets” to import one.

Chart options on the Insert menu

If you make your own graph, you’ll see sample data when you insert the chart. Use the arrow on the top right to pick “Open Source.”

Open Source to access the chart data

Google Sheets will open with the sample data in a new tab. Then just add your own data.

Chart data in Sheets

Return to the Google Slides tab and update the chart using the Update button. You’ll then see your updated visual.

Updated chart in Slides

From there, you can do things like resize the chart to add some text or a title or apply a border. For a full tutorial on creating a chart in Google Slides, check out our how-to.

RELATED: How to Create a Graph in Google Slides

6. Position Slide Items With Guides

To make sure that your images, videos, text, shapes, and other items are placed neatly on the slide, you can use the built-in guides.

Go to View, move to Guides, and pick “Show Guides.” You’ll see horizontal and vertical lines appear which help you to line up your items perfectly.

Show guides with guides displayed

To make aligning items to the guides even better, you can add a snap. Head back to View, move to Snap To, and pick “Guides.”

Snap To guide options

Once you enable the second feature, you’ll see red horizontal and vertical lines appear as you drag your item on the slide. You can then release the item once it’s lined up with those indicators.

Snap to guide lines

For additional details on using guides in Google Slides, take a look at our tutorial.

RELATED: How to Use Guides to Position Items in Google Slides

7. Use Subtle Slide Transitions

Rather than a sudden jolt from slide to slide, consider using subtle slide transitions. You can apply a fade, dissolve, or other effect for a nicer transition from one slide to the next.

Select a slide to start with; you can easily apply the transition to all slides later. Click “Transition” in the toolbar. When the sidebar opens, expand the section below Slide Transition.

Use the drop-down box to choose an effect. You’ll see dissolve, fade, slide, flip, and more.

Slide transition options in Google Slides

After you pick an effect, press “Play” at the bottom of the sidebar to see a preview. You can also adjust the speed of the transition using the slider.

Adjustments for a slide transition

To use the transition throughout your presentation, click “Apply to All Slides.” When you finish, simply close the sidebar. When you play your slideshow, you’ll see that attractive transition between slides.

With tools for sprucing up images, removing unnecessary video content, and replacing data with visuals, consider these Google Slides features for your next presentation.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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