Tuesday, February 6, 2018

9 Awesome Add-ons to Supercharge Google Slides

Google Slides is already a powerful tool for student creation and collaboration. You can see a wide range of educational uses on my Google Slides resource page.

As awesome as Google Slides is, you can make it even awesomer with the use of Add-ons. Just like Docs, Sheets, and Forms, you can now install Add-ons for Google Slides. Add-ons are third-party tools that provide you with extra features and functions that are not normally available in Slides.

Although Add-ons are still a relatively new option for Slides, there have already been many excellent Add-ons created. In this blog post we will take a look at nine of my favorites that can be valuable for students and educators.

See below for details on how to find, install, and use Add-ons, in addition to links and explanations for each of my recommendations. Also you can watch the recorded video from the webinar where I cover all of the topics in detail.

Training Video (1 hour)

How to install an Add-on

When you are using Google Slides, you will see that there is an Add-ons menu item in the top menu bar. You can click this menu item to access your installed Add-ons and to find new Add-ons. To install a new Add-on do the following:

  • Click the Add-on menu item in the top menu bar.
  • Click Get Add-ons from the drop-down menu.
  • This will open the Add-ons window.
  • You can scroll through the available Add-ons, or narrow down the choices with the filter menu, or type in a search term.

  • If you find an Add-on that looks interesting, you can click on it to get more details.
  • In the pop-up window you can read more about the Add-on, see images and/or videos, and see reviews and ratings.
  • If you decide to install an Add-on, click the blue +FREE button.
  • You will then get a pop-up window explaining what privileges the Add-on needs, and asking for your permission to install it.
  • Click the blue Accept button to allow the Add-on to install.

How to use installed Add-ons

Once you have installed an Add-on, it will show up in the drop-down menu when you click Add-ons in the top menu bar. To use an Add-on:

  • Click the Add-ons menu.
  • Click on the Add-on you want to use in the drop-down menu
  • A side menu will pop-up and will typically include a menu item to launch the Add-on.

How to remove installed Add-ons

If you decide you no longer need a particular Add-on, you can remove it easily.

  • Click the Add-ons menu item in the top menu bar.
  • Click Manage add-ons... from the drop-down menu.
  • This will open a pop-up window showing all your installed Add-ons.
  • Click the Manage button next to an Add-on, and then click Remove from the drop-down menu.
  • The Add-on will now be uninstalled.
  • If desired, you can always reinstall the Add-on again.

1) Unsplash Photos

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Unsplash Photos gives you access to over 300,000 high resolution photos.
  • The pictures are completely free to use with no copyright restrictions.
  • You can search for the photos you want in the add-on panel.
  • When you find the image you want, simply click on it to insert it into your slideshow.

2) Top Stock Photos

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Much like Unsplash Potos, the Top Stock Photos Add-on lets you search for free images.
  • Top Stock Photos pulls images from a wide range of free photo sites such as Pexels, Pixabay, and more.
  • Images can then be inserted into Slides with one click.
  • You can also click the link icon to insert a text box with a link back to the original photo.

3) Insert Icons

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Insert Icons gives you easy access to over 1,800 free icon images from the Font Awesome and Google Material Design collections.
  • You can run a search or browse through the icons to find what you need.
  • You can also choose any color you want for the icons and they will automatically be updated to that color.
  • After clicking on your chosen icon to insert it, you can move, resize, and adjust as needed.

4) PhotoSlideshow

Google Slides Add-on link
  • PhotoSlideshow allows you to bulk import images from a Google Drive folder or a Google Photo album.
  • The pictures are added one image per slide.
  • This is an easy way to create a slideshow from a collection of images.
  • After PhotoSlideshow inserts the images, you can crop and resize as needed.

5) Shutterstock Editor

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Shutterstock Editor lets you do advanced editing to images that are already in your slideshow.
  • Select an image in your slideshow, then click "Edit Photo" in the Add-on panel.
  • This will open an editor where you can make lots adjustments to the image, apply filters, and more.
  • When done, click "Save to Slides" to put the updated image back into your slideshow.

6) Flat

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Flat allows you to compose and insert sheet music in Google Slides.
  • From the Add-on you can insert a wide variety of notes and musical symbols.
  • Your completed sheet music is then inserted as an image into your slideshow.
  • You can play back the music by selecting the image and re-opening the Flat add-on.

7) Paletti

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Paletti lets you choose from 200 pre-made color palettes to apply to your slides.
  • Browse through the palette options, then click the little wand button to apply the colors to one slide, or the big wand button to apply it to the entire slideshow.
  • You can also create your own palette by choosing your own colors.
  • You can also select an image in your slideshow and have the Add-on automatically create a palette to match the picture.

8) Slides Toolbox

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Slides Toolbox provides loads of tools for doing bulk actions.
  • The tools are arranged in menus including Removal Tools, Text Tools, Arrangement Tools, Export Tools, Import Tools, Chart Tools, Shape Tools, and Page Tools.
  • Some of my favorite tools include:
  • Sort - Sort text alphabetically, by length, randomly, etc.
  • Download Outline Text - Export all the text from your slides to a text file.
  • Export Slides - Save all of the slides as individual images
  • Create Slides from Images - Import images from Drive in various arrangements.
  • Create Slides from Docs - Import the text from a Google Doc to create slides.
  • Table of Contents - Create a table of contents hyperlinked to each slide.

9) Pear Deck

Google Slides Add-on link
  • Pear Deck lets you add interactive elements to your slides including multiple choice, text entry, numeric entry, drawing, and draggable activities.
  • You can insert pre-made template slides provided in the Add-on.
  • Or you can add interactive elements to slides you have already created.
  • When you present the slideshow through the Pear Deck Add-on, students join the presentation and can interact with it.

For more details on how to use the Pear Deck Add-on, see my earlier posts linked below:


In addition to the Add-ons we looked at in this blog post, there are many others available and many more still to be made. What are your favorite Slides add-ons that I did not mention? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about Add-ons for different programs, be sure to check out some of my other resources:

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at twitter.com/ericcurts and on Google+ at plus.google.com/+EricCurts1

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