Recently, some colleagues and I were working collaboratively to create a document that captured our ideas. As we worked, one teammate said, “How did you just do that so fast?” I didn’t know what she meant. It was little shortcut I knew that she hadn’t learned yet. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make all the difference! I am a huge fan of any shortcut – no matter how tiny – that can shave time off my workload! Here are a few shortcuts for creating in google slides that – when used together – can save you a ton of time!
Use Google Slides instead of Docs
If you are going to create boxes, lines, or any kind of template, I suggest using Google Slides instead of Docs because it is so much simpler and easier to move objects around on the page. To format Google Slides to be the size of piece of paper, simply go to File, Page Setup, then click the drop down to select custom and change the dimensions to be 8.5 x 11 inches! I have used slides set up this way for all of the examples shared below. This is a HUGE time saver over trying to get Docs to format the way you want.
Click and Drag across the page to select multiple objects
Let’s say you are wanting to create something in which you have, for example, three boxes – and you want those boxes to all be the same height and be spaced evenly across the page. Instead of sizing and eyeballing, and resizing, and trying again – try this shortcut. Make one object. Don’t even try to get it the right size. It does’t matter yet. Make duplicates (ctrl + D to duplicate) and line them all up how you want them spaced. In the example below, I wanted them to all have their sides touching. Then, click just above and to the side of your first square and drag across all objects that you want to resize at the same time. They will ALL highlight!
Resize multiple objects simultaneously
Now, after you’ve used the “click and drag” shortcut above, when you resize, all the highlighted objects will all proportionately resize at the same time!!! You can drag one side to the right edge and/or the top to stretch them all and they will all move proportionately together! Such a huge time saver!!!
Did you notice the red guideline that pops up down the center of the page toward the end of my gif above? Those are there for you automatically in google slides! When you are trying to center something perfectly, you can see and even feel the item kind of snap into place with the help of the red guidelines!
Format multiple objects at the same time
In the same way that you can click and drag across multiple objects when you need to resize, you can also use this strategy if you need multiple objects to have the same formatting. Let’s say you have multiple objects that you want to have thick, pink border line, instead of clicking on each box, then clicking on border thickness, then selecting the how thick, then selecting border color, then selecting the color for EACH and EVERY box… (I’m tired already) you can click and drag across all objects you want to select and then make changes to all of the objects at the same time! See below for an example:
Other methods for selecting multiple objects at once
Now, sometimes, there are things on the page that you don’t want to match everything else. If you use my “click and drag” across the page method, you might select some objects you actually don’t want to alter. In this case, you can still click and drag across to select all objects, and then, while holding the ctrl key, click on the objects you want to deselect – and leave “as is”. Then, you can change all of the other selected objects simultaneously.
On the flip side, another method is to hold the ctrl key while you select each object that you want to change.
Get one perfect and Duplicate!
When you are creating a template, document, or digital activity that has multiple objects that need the same font, spacing, or even words or prompts, another time-saving method to create one to perfection and then duplicate that one so that you don’t have to format several over and over again – you just format the first one.
Why is this helpful?
Okay! So you’re not making pink, think-bordered grids all the time?? I get it. Here is a real-life example. I created a simple conferring form for meeting with individual students about their progress. In this example, you can see that I use the “click and drag” method as well as the “get one perfect and duplicate” method.
You can use my conferring form if you like it (click here to grab an editable copy), but I encourage you to practice these shortcuts and create your own that is specific to your class, your record keeping, and your preferences!
What other Google Slides Shortcuts do you use to save time and create amazing content? Please share below in the comments!
Have fun designing!