Microsoft Office is the standard for good reason. The apps have more features than most people use, Powerpoint in particular. Powerpoint can be used to build all types of presentations, from simple to very advanced. The large number of features make Powerpoint hard to master.
Google Drive consists of three apps that offer more basic capabilities than Microsoft Office, which makes them easier to use. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are integrated into the Google Drive web storage service. They are accessed through any Chrome installation, and are particularly useful on the Chromebook.
Google Slides is very basic, but it has many of the features most users want in a presentation app. The expected transition effects are there, along with templates to help build attractive presentations.
Slides is Google's answer to Powerpoint and, while it's easy to use, there are three features that users should try that make creating presentations even easier.
Crop images with pizzazz
Using images on slides helps avoid the dreaded boring presentation. Google has recently added the ability to crop images right in the Slides app. Insert the image as usual, click on it in the slide, and hit the Crop icon that appears in the toolbar to cut the image down to the desired size. It's helpful to crop the image right on the slide where you can see how it fits.
That's useful enough, but there's more you can do with the crop feature. Hit the dropdown arrow on the Crop icon and you get a menu of cutouts that can be used in the crop function.
The image above shows one such crop cutout used on an image. It is the highly recognizable No sign that has been used as a cutout in the crop feature. There are dozens of figures that can be used to create interesting cutouts on any image.
Research made easy
If you've ever been working on a presentation and needed to jump online for some last-minute fact-checking, the Research feature in Google Slides is for you. It appears to the right of the active slide (as shown in the figure below) in a panel that displays the desired information.
Enter the topic to research and the results appear in the panel where it can be easily copied into the slide or just used for reference.
The most useful of the three features, web clipboard works in all three Google office apps. Any text and image can be copied in a document in one of the three apps and pasted to any other app. The copied information is stored in the web clipboard on Google's servers.
The information copied into the web clipboard remains available for 30 days from the last time it is accessed, so it hangs around as long as you need it.
Web clipboard presents all copied information in a list, and any one section can be pasted into any of the three apps. The copied information is internally converted to the proper format for the target app.
This method is an excellent way to use charts in a spreadsheet as an image in a spreadsheet.
Like the three Google office apps, these three features are not fancy. They are simple to use for creating presentations, and are tools that shouldn't be overlooked.