If you’re curious about how to edit Google Slides templates you’ve purchased from a teacher-author from TPT, for example, then you’re in the right place! In this post, I’ll show you how to:
- Edit Google Slides
- Export a PowerPoint presentation to PDF or PNG
- Convert PDF pages to PNG files
Use any of these methods to edit Google Slides, and keep PowerPoint slides and PDFs nearby to troubleshoot problems. I’ll use my own resources as examples throughout this post, but please keep in mind teacher-authors on TPT and elsewhere have their own ways of setting up materials. So your product download may not look exactly like what you’ll see in this post.
Let’s get started, shall we?
How to save a copy of a Google Slides presentation
Once you’ve purchased a Google Slides product from a teacher-author, you’ll want to save a copy of the presentation. In fact, you may want to save more than one copy! It’s important to look through your product download and find the file that provides the link to the presentation. In my downloads, it’ll look something like this:
You’ll open the file that houses the link, and then click the link in the document.
You’ll be directed to a webpage that will ask you to create a copy of the presentation. Click “make copy” to create your own copy. For quick results, make sure you are already logged in. If you aren’t already logged in, you’ll need to. You may be asked again once you’re logged in whether you want to create a copy. Select yes, and you’ll be set to go.
Pitfalls to avoid when editing Google Slides
Before we get into the ins and outs of how to edit Google Slides, it’s important to note a few pitfalls first:
- Avoid trying to edit the master copy, unless the product you’ve purchased specifically says you can. Why? Because if the presentation isn’t set up that way and you try to edit the master copy, you might be blocked from being able to do ANY edits.
- Don’t try to change your status. If the product isn’t set up for editors or administrators and you try to request permission to become one, not only do you have to wait for approval, but you may also be locked out of any editing capabilities in the meantime.
And once those block protections go up, it’s tricky to remove them. The very tools used to keep the slides presentation safe may also be the tools that end up working against us! And that is no fun!
So if you can’t become an administrator or an editor and you can’t edit the master slide, then what CAN you do? Exactly how does one go about editing their Google Slides templates? Let me show you!
How to edit Google Slides
Once you’ve made your Google Slides copy, it’s time to get to work! The main functions you’ll typically have in Google Slides include:
- Adding and removing slides
- Adding and removing text boxes
- Reordering slides
- Saving additional copies
Text-editing capabilities may also include modifying:
- Font colors
- Font sizes
- The fonts themselves
Keep in mind, some prefilled text on the slides may not be alterable, especially if custom fonts are used. Look through the presentation or product download to see if there are any slides that are ext-free. In my downloads, I include text-free options at the end of the slides presentation.
Troubleshooting when something goes wrong
But what if you begin working on the slides presentations and find you can’t make the changes you need? Or what if you can’t get into the presentation to begin with? Here are a few troubleshooting suggestions:
- If you can’t get into the Google Slides presentation AT ALL, then check to make sure you’re logged in to your account.
- If you still get an error message, then make sure you are on a device that allows you to work in Google Slides. Sometimes teachers find that the protections put in place on school devices also makes it hard for them to access copies created by someone outside the district. You can always check with your IT department.
- Try accessing the copy on a different device. If, for example, you tried accessing it on a school device, then try accessing it on a personal computer. Or vice versa.
- If you find you’re getting “Read only” messages or messages saying you can’t do something with the slides you want to do, then it may be time for a workaround. It may also be time for a workaround if you can’t access the slides link, no matter what you’ve tried.
If nothing works, then it’s time for a completely different approach, which I’ll show next.
How to edit PowerPoint Slides
In my own product downloads, I include not only a link to make a copy of the Google Slides presentation but also a PowerPoint presentation and a PDF. Why the duplicate options? So teachers have more than one way to create their slides presentations. Sometimes a PNG folder is part of a product download. That isn’t a given, so let’s work with PowerPoint and PDFs to troubleshoot the Google Slides templates.
Now, you might be thinking, That’s great, Morgan, but I don’t want to work in PowerPoint. I specifically bought the Google Slide to work in, well, Google Slides. And I’m with you there. But if the tech gremlins are slowing you down, then it’s time to think differently.
If your product download comes with a companion PowerPoint presentation, then open it up and look through the slides. You will likely have the same options to modify the PowerPoint presentation as you would the Google Slides presentation. Since it isn’t tied to a master copy, you might have even MORE options. Or at least an easier time navigating through the file.
Save a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and begin making the changes you want. If you have questions about how to edit text editable files in PowerPoint, then read my blog post, How to Edit Classroom Decor. The same basic principles apply here as there. Once you create your PowerPoint presentation, then you can export it to another file format that is Google Slides-compatible.
How to export PowerPoint presentation slides to PNGs
Typically, the easiest way to export your PowerPoint presentation to be Google Slides-friendly is to export your slides in PNG format. PowerPoint allows you to export a single slide or the entire presentation. When you export the presentation in PNG format, you’ll want to decide the file size, as well. As of this post, Google Slides dimensions are 16:9. And for high-quality images, you usually want 300 pixels per inch. In this scenario you would type 4,800 x 2,700 (300 x 16 and 300 x 9) where it says width and height.
But that’s a little large for a digital presentation. My computer automatically populated 2,200 x 1,238, which might be a little too small. Some of this is trial and error. So as you work on these steps, think about testing just one slide first before exporting the entire presentation. Once you select your dimensions, export the slide(s) to your computer. I find exporting directly to the desktop works best.
Every now and then I get an error message that says the system couldn’t export my files. This is usually because I’m exporting an entire presentation and I’m trying to save it in another folder on my computer. Exporting individual slides or the entire presentation to the desktop seems to work pretty well.
Now you have a PNG file you can upload to a new Google Slides presentation. As a test:
- Log in to your Google Slides account.
- Create a new slides presentation.
- Insert the newly-created PNG file.
How does it look on the screen? Was the file size large enough? If the slide looks stretched or pixelated, then go back to the PowerPoint presentation and export to PNG again, this time making the width and height larger.
Once you like how the slide looks, then go back to PowerPoint and export your presentation to PNGs and upload them to your new Google Slides presentation. Now you’ve got a presentation you can use, and you don’t have to worry about accessing the teacher-author copy.
If your product download comes with PNG files already, then you can bypass the PowerPoint presentation. Simply insert the PNG files that came with your product into your own Google Slides presentation.
How to use a PDF to create a Google Slides presentation
Working in PowerPoint is my favorite way to edit Google Slides if the usual channels fall through. But if necessary, work from a PDF, if it’s available. In this process, you’ll want a PDF to PNG converter that will transform your PDF pages to individual PNG images. Once you create the PNGs, then import them to a new Google Slides presentation you create.
There are free PDF to PNG converters online you can use for this step. If you’re a Mac user and think you’ll be doing this A LOT, then you might want to look into PDF Toolkit+ (pictured above, not a paid mention). It’s great for exporting PDF pages to PNGs. It also gives you control over file sizes. There are other PDF to PNG apps you can purchase if another option better suits your needs.
A few notes about PDF to PNG converters:
- Keep an eye on file quality of the PNGs. How accurate are the colors? Does the file size work for you?
- Price doesn’t determine quality. I tried a highly-reputable PDF to PNG converter and the overall file quality was noticeably low.
This process also works in PowerPoint if you don’t want to cover the presentation to PNGs. Instead of exporting the PowerPoint presentation in a PNG format, select File —> Export PDF. Then import the newly-created PDF to a PDF to PNG converter.
Side note: I used my Buffalo Plaid Google Slides product as an example in this product.
Spiriteds, I hope this post was helpful. It’s super-long, so congrats on making it all the way through! Stay wild and stay well. I’m glad you’re here!