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Ten Frequently Overlooked PowerPoint & Google Slides Features

PowerPoint has been around for more than three decades! Google Slides has been available for free more than a decade. Despite that longevity both presentation tools have many features that often go overlooked by new users and veteran users alike. Some of those “hidden” features will help you make your presentations better while others will just help you get things done a little more quickly. Whether you’re a long-time user of these presentation tools, you’re just getting started, or you’re taking a second look at them after a hiatus, this list includes features and tutorials for you.

5 Overlooked PowerPoint Features

Screen Recording
Making a presentation about your favorite software or websites? Try using the screen recorder that is built into PowerPoint. Your recorded video is automatically inserted into the slide that you have open at the time you make your recording. Of course, you can use that video in other slides too. Find the screen recorder in the “Insert” menu in PowerPoint.

Sound Recording/ Sound Upload
Add your voice to your slides through the audio recorder built into PowerPoint. This is particularly useful if your slides will mostly be viewed independent of your presence.

Have music or sound effects that you want to add to your slides? In PowerPoint you can upload those recordings directly to your presentation and play them on the slides of your choice.

The sound recording and sound upload options are found in the “Insert” menu in PowerPoint.

Word Art
Tired of the same old Times New Roman, Georgia, or Comic Sans (gasp!), use Word Art to create custom fonts. You’ll find Word Art in the “Insert” menu in PowerPoint.

Microsoft’s Dictate tool will let you dictate the text that you want to have appear in your slides.

Google Slides has Add-ons, PowerPoint has Add-ins. Add-ins offered by third parties can provide additional functions in PowerPoint. In my video embedded below I demonstrate how to find and install PowerPoint Add-ins. The following video features the Pixabay Add-in that provides access to thousands of images that are in the public domain.

5 Overlooked Google Slides Features

Add Audio to Your Slides
There are two ways that you can do this. You could place a YouTube music video in your slide and then shrink it down and hide it in the corner of your slide. Or you could use the AudioPlayer for Slides Add-on which makes it quite easy to play music behind your entire presentation.

Make Interactive Diagrams
I made a video about this and featured it in the Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week back in January. By using the hyperlinking tools in Google Slides you can link multiple parts of one slide to other slides within the same presentation. Take the model to its fullest extent and your students can begin to build choose-your-own-adventure stories in Google Slides.

Play videos without using YouTube. 
Last year Google finally added the option to include videos in your slides without those videos having to be on YouTube. Upload any video to your Google Drive account and then you can import it directly into any slide.

Live Q&A
Launch a live Q&A channel forum for your audience directly from the Presenter View menu. Your audience can submit questions by going to the Q&A link that is automatically displayed across the top of your slides when you have Q&A activated. You can also disable this feature at any time.

Import your old PPT slides
If you’re making the switch from a Windows-based environment to Chromebooks or just to G Suite for Education, you might be worried about having to recreate some of your favorite presentations. You don’t have to do that. You can import your old PPT files into Google Slides right from the “file” drop-down menu in Google Slides.

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Bring Me to Your School
I offer provide professional development workshops on G Suite for Education, Teaching History With Technology, and many other topicsClick here to learn more or send an email to richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to book me today.