Learn how to use Google Slides to create simple digital signage presentations that will allow you to edit and update content easily.

Google Slides and Digital Signage

Using an application such as Google Slides to create digital signage might not always seem like the most exciting, creative process. However, using Google Slides for signage work is convenient and effective. Presentations can be used for so many different signage purposes in office environments and non-office environments alike. Examples include displaying corporate statistics, goals, inspirational messages for staff, safety protocols, and special offers. Google Slides has proven to be a useful tool for creating these kinds of slides, no matter the setting. 

Google Slides Icon

Benefits of using Google Slides for Digital Signage

Live changes 

Because Google Slides allows for multiple participants to work on a single presentation at one time, live changes can be made. Comments can be added to slides which can help greatly to improve communication and thus reduces the risk of errors and faults. There is also no need for file sharing and this saves time and effort. You can also add and manage different individuals level of permission. For example, you can choose who has access or permission to edit or only view your Google Slides.

Uploads are instant

Uploading presentations to digital signage monitors are instant with Google Slides if a cloud-based digital signage provider is used. 

Multiple displays at once

Google Slides presentations can be displayed on multiple screens at once. This is useful for large companies with many displays. 

Free of charge 

Compared to digital signage programs, Google Slides is completely free. This saves businesses a lot of money as specialized programs can be costly. Even though these programs are more advanced, with a creative mind Google Slides can be used to produce high-quality signage. This can help lower your costs regarding your digital signage. 

What is Google Slides?

Google Slides is a presentation program that has been around since 2007 and forms part of Google Docs. The program has since been renamed and was previously known as Google Presentations. It is often compared to Microsoft PowerPoint but, it has some different benefits and helpful features. Google Slides allows users to store information in the cloud and work together with others on presentations.   

How Does Google Slides Work?

 The application can be accessed via a smartphone or desktop. Since Google Slides forms part of the greater Google Workspace, it is available to anyone who has a Google account. Google Slides functions are quite similar to most major presentation programs. It allows users to design slides from scratch by choose specific layouts, themes, and backgrounds along with customized transitions between slides. Users can also use templates if they don’t want to design slides from scratch. 

Example Template

What Are Google Slides Used For?

The program can be used for a variety of purposes in the workplace and the classroom. Because multiple people can work on a presentation at once, many users have found this to be a highly useful tool for the office environment. Google Slides allows you to create new presentations, as well as edit existing presentations. From meeting presentations, project and statistical presentations to lesson plans, inspirational presentations, and digital signage – you can use Slides for an endless list of tasks. 

Difference between Google Slides and PowerPoint

Although both of these programs essentially serve the same purpose to their customers, there are some differences. Many people often find themselves stuck between the decision of PowerPoint and Slides. Some believe that these programs are not actually in competition with one another. 

The key differences between these two programs are shown in the following categories:

  • Prices
  • Available Templates
  • Online And Offline Performance
  • Effects
  • Storage
  • Accessibility

Prices

To use Microsoft PowerPoint, you need to purchase it along with the Microsoft Office package. Even though this is a trusted program, Google Slides is becoming more and more popular because it serves the same purpose, and it is free.  

Available Templates

PowerPoint comes with a substantial amount of pre-made templates, making it easier to find what you are searching for. Google Slides does not boast quite as many templates as PowerPoint. However, there are thousands of downloadable templates on the internet that are compatible with Slides.  

Google Slides Template

Online And Offline Performance

This is a simple comparison – Google Slides was designed to be used as an online tool while Microsoft PowerPoint was designed to be used as an offline one. The reason that Google Slides is mainly an online program is because of its cloud storage and teamwork features. This may not always be convenient for users as technical and connectivity problems could hinder their work process. However, Slides does have the option to turn on an offline mode.  

PowerPoint only needs an internet connection for the initial download of the program and thereafter there is no need for connectivity. There is an online version available, but this is a basic version and does not include most of the features available on both the PC version of PowerPoint or Slides.  

Effects

In this case, PowerPoint provides users with more advanced special effects. Google Slides does feature special effects, although they are quite rudimentary. 

Storage

The key difference here is that PowerPoint mainly stores all data on a desktop hard drive while Google Slides saves all work automatically to Google’s cloud storage, Google Drive. Slides does this every few minutes to eliminate any concerns of work being accidentally erased. 

Accessibility

Because PowerPoint saves all data to a hard drive, it means that that data can only be accessed via the PC that it has been saved to. Google Slides documents, on the other hand, can be accessed on any device as long as you are signed in with your Google account. This benefit allows you the convenience to be able to work on presentations wherever you are, on whichever device you have at hand.  

Can you convert Google Slides to PowerPoint and vice versa?

It is very simple to convert a PowerPoint presentation to Google Slides. This can be done using one of three methods by:

1. Saving a PPT.x file to Google Drive and opening it there.

2. Importing the PPT.x file to Google Slides

3. Importing only selected PPT.x slides to Google Slides.

To convert a Google Slides presentation to PowerPoint, all you need to do is download the Slides presentation in Google Drive and save it as a PPT.x file. 

PPT

Setting Up Google Slides

Setting up Google Slides is very simple as the application is user-friendly and extremely easy to install and use. If you are using Google Slides on your smartphone, you can simply download the application and get started. The program can be accessed on a PC via the Google Chrome browser.  

Google Slides: Portrait or Landscape? 

Google’s presentation application allows you the option of both orientations. Switching between the two can be done on the ‘page layout’ function in Google Slides. This can be done to accommodate certain graphics and screen resolutions when creating digital signage. But, most importantly to ensure your Google Slides are orientated the same way as your display screens. Finding out the screen resolution of the screen or monitor on which the signage will be presented can indicate whether portrait or landscape orientation should be used. When choosing the portrait option, make sure to select 5.625” by 10” as this is ideal for signage. If you are choosing landscape, select the 16:9 option.  

Templates

Before you begin creating your presentation, Google Slides gives you the option to start with a blank slide or use a template or theme. There are several Google Slides themes already available on Google Slides or you can download free Google Slide themes.

There are not as many templates loaded onto the application as there are in Microsoft PowerPoint, but you can find an array of templates to download on the internet. Slides is equipped with many business-like and professional templates, which make for good-looking digital signage.  

Sites such as  SlideGo  have thousands of free, downloadable templates that are compatible with Google Slides.  

To access the templates on Google Slides, go to Slide > Change theme.

Adding Content

Google Slides makes adding signage content easy. Images can be added from Google Drive, the internet, or even the camera folder on your smartphone. 

To add an image, go to Insert > Image and select the option you wish to use for uploading. 

Did you know you can change an image into a specific shape? Once you have inserted an image you can make it into any shape you like. Click on the image and then select the drop down menu next to crop image > Shapes and then select your shape.

Adding text is straightforward. Go to Insert > Textbox and place it where you want it. You can adjust the size, move it around, bring it to the front of an image, and change the fonts. 

Adding Content

Music and Google Slides

Adding music to a presentation is possible but is limited on Google Slides. This is a downside to the application. There is no option to add an audio file, so you will have to work with a video file.  

To add a video, go to Insert > Add video. You will see three options namely – By URL, Search, and Google Drive. If you already have a link for the video you wish to upload, select   By URL .  Alternatively, if you want to look up the video on YouTube, choose the Search option and if you already have the file stored in Google Drive, select that option.  

In a situation where you want to use a specific audio file, you will need to convert it to a video file. You can do this by using a free tool like Audacity. If you can find the video form of the audio you want to use on YouTube or a similar platform, you can skip this step. Once you have added the video, right-click and choose Format options > Video playback. Tick the box that says Autoplay when presenting.

 To hide the video from viewers, start by resizing it to make it small. You can then cover it using a color-matched shape or hide it behind an image.  

Timing of Slides

The timing of slides should be adjusted depending on the content of the slide and the digital signage objective. The timing between each slide can either be individually adjusted or it can be set to be the same throughout the presentations. However, this is not recommended, as each slide is generally different. If a slide contains a lot of reading, the time to the next slide should be longer than if a slide only portrays an image.  

Content management software can help with this as you can set how long you want your slide to be displayed on your screens through the software. To manually adjust the time between slides, select Slide > Transition. Select a transition and set it to either slow, medium, or fast. Alternatively, you can toggle between the three and choose the exact amount of seconds you want the slide to be displayed for. The slowest speed is 5 seconds, and the fastest speed is 0.1 seconds.  

Test Your Presentation

Presentations can be tested using the same actions you would when presenting it. When a presentation is completed, and you wish to test it, all you need to do is press the ‘play’ button and choose the option to present the slide on your device. This can be done an unlimited amount of times, allowing for all necessary editing.  This should give you an idea of how your Google Slides will look on your digital displays and whether or not any editing is necessary.  

Sharing And Collaborating

The ability to share files and collaborate on them using Google Slides is a brilliantly innovative feature. This feature allows users to work on signage projects and minimizes confusion or miscommunication between co-workers or team members. It often makes for a more accurate final product and has been deemed very useful by many users. 

You have the option to make a file public and allow editing by other users, or to make a file public and read-only. Presentations can then also be kept private. All of these options are dependent on the purpose and the type of presentation created. 

Sharing and Collaborating

Create A Google Slides Library

As mentioned before, all presentations are saved to Google Drive. When opening Google Slides, you will see an icon list of every presentation you have ever made, as well as a template gallery. There is an option to select whether you would like to see your private presentations, presentations that have been shared with you, or presentations you are currently working on. Everything is well-organized, making it easy to locate certain presentations and even view your favorite templates. 

Incorporate Google Slides Into Your Digital Signage System

Because Google Slides stores all presentations on Google Cloud, using a cloud-based signage system will allow for instant uploads. For signage systems that are not cloud-based, it is as simple as downloading the presentation from Google Cloud onto a device and projecting it. 

Many people may overlook Google Slides as a sufficient program for creating digital signage presentations. But, Google Slides has proven to be a highly competent tool for creating quality presentations. The application boasts all the necessary features and more. It is easy to use, safely and frequently stores data, allows for collaboration, and is accessible from any device. It is a strong contender against its counterpart, Microsoft’s PowerPoint. Google Slides has everything needed to create professional and captivating signage content.