Creating an interactive presentation
Before we dive in, it’s important to define what we mean by ‘interactive presentation’. ‘Interactive’ is sometimes used to describe presentations that include quiz questions or audience participation – that’s not what we’re talking about here. When we say ‘interactive’ we’re talking about a clickable presentation that uses hyperlinks to help users navigate to different sections. A presentation with hyperlinks is ‘interactive’ because it allows the user to choose what information they view, and in what order. As a general rule of thumb, an interactive presentation works well when your audience needs to engage directly with what’s on the screen, putting them in control of how they digest the information. In this blog post, we’ll walk through how to make an interactive presentation in Google Slides
Start by opening a new presentation! From the Google Slides homepage, look to the top left and click the Blank button to open a new presentation. This is your blank slate from which to create an outstanding interactive presentation!
Google Slides automatically inserts a title slide when you open a new presentation, so all you need to do is click on the title text box and type in a title. Make the title something clear and catchy, that your audience can easily understand.
Now, let’s move on to the all-important menu slide. We’re going to create something that looks like a button, so that your audience knows it’s clickable. Later on, we’ll add in hyperlinks. You can use any shape for your button, but rectangular shapes with rounded corners often look the most ‘button-like’. First, locate the Shape button on the toolbar in slides, and select a shape. Then, double click on the slide, and that shape will appear. Click and drag using the nodes along the edges of the shape to change its size.
To insert a drop shadow just right-click, then select Format options, and check the box for Drop shadow.
You could also make your buttons a contrasting color from the background and other text – however, avoid colors that are too bright, as this can be distracting.
This first button you have created is the basis for your menu. When you’re happy with how it looks, replicate it so that the number of buttons corresponds to the number of sections in your presentation. You can do this by copying and pasting. Simply select the entire button – click with your mouse and drag over the button so all elements are highlighted – then copy and paste it by right-clicking, selecting Copy and then Paste however many times you need. Edit the text of each button to correspond to the section of the presentation it will link to. Next, ensure that the buttons are aligned in some sort of order. You can select various buttons and then align or distribute them as you like using the alignment tools found under the Arrange tab.
To use icons in your interactive presentation in Google Slides, click the Add–ons tab, select Get add-ons, and then select the Insert icons add-on. Then, under the Add–ons tab, a new option will appear which is Insert icons for Slides. Hover over this, and select Open sidebar to select icons. Then, once the sidebar appears, ensure that the icon set selected on the drop-down menu is ‘Material Design.
Create section header slides for each section in your presentation. Do this by navigating to the top of the page, and clicking New slide on the top left of the toolbar. Repeat this step as many times as necessary. Next, build as many buttons as you need for the subsection using the steps outlined above. You can also simply copy and paste the buttons you’ve already created, and just edit the text.
Add the information you want to include in each section. If this is images, like in our example presentation, then insert images using the Insert tab.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each section. Make sure each section has a header slide, with buttons if necessary. Look through your presentation up to this point – make sure all the sections are ordered correctly, and that there is a header slide at the beginning of each.
Return to your initial menu slide. Make transparent shapes to cover each ‘button’ you have created. We will turn these transparent shapes into hyperlinks that allow users to navigate through your deck. First, click the Shape button on the toolbar, and then create a shape that covers the button that you have created, but not any white space outside them. Then, select the shape, and click the Fill color button on the toolbar, select Transparent from the dropdown menu.
Now we are ready to hyperlink each button! Select the first transparent box on your menu slide, right-click, then select Link and choose Slides in this presentation. From here, choose the slide you want your button to navigate to when clicked.
Repeat this process for all buttons, so that each one links to the correct slide.
Create buttons to return to the main menu. To do this, follow the steps outlined previously and use a transparent box that links back to the main menu slide. If you have different subsections within a section, you can also create a button linking back to the section title slide from each subsection.