What do you think about Google Docs Presentations?

26 10 2012

Google Docs Documents and Google Docs Spreadsheets are tools that I use a lot of the time for collaborative working. There are things that could be improved but as free tools I don’t expect them to be as comprehensive as a paid version of Microsoft Office. Specifically I like:

  • able to have multiple simultaneous editors with clear colour indicators during the editing process
  • ease of access on multiple devices including options for collaborators without a Google account
  • ease of use in terms of the interface and the ability to download in different file formats

So I guess I had high hopes for Google Docs Presentations (I have written about this before here: Google Docs presentations reconsidered).

Normally I do a Prezi presentation, but in this case a PowerPoint was required and because three of us in disparate locations were collaborating I thought it worth trying Google Docs Presentations. These were the issues:

  • I uploaded an existing PowerPoint file – there were formatting issues – some images didn’t import, 1 slide had an animation which no longer worked
  • I didn’t find the user interface as intuitive as Microsoft PowerPoint which slowed me down
  • I didn’t find there were enough advanced features which made me appreciate Microsoft PowerPoint more as I have obviously just become used to certain functions e.g. image formatting features
  • when uploading a YouTube clip a screenshot appeared that you had no choice over and in one case was extremely poor resolution; once downloaded the link to YouTube was lost
  • when I tried to download a Presentation as an editable file and open in PowerPoint it came up with error messages – these error messages repeated several times although in the end I was able to open the file (I tried this both with Presentations started from scratch in Google Docs and ones I had uploaded)

How did we resolve these issues? Well we couldn’t meet up so in the end we used Dropbox to transfer versions of PowerPoint between us – much faster and easier. Finally we also used Dropbox to share the PowerPoint (as it was too large a file size) with the conference organiser.

Please share your experiences of using Google Docs Presentations, maybe there are some secrets to using it properly that I am missing out on? or maybe not?

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2 responses

4 11 2012
Joe Liang

This is exactly how I felt using Google Presentations. I also found that it’s a pretty weird and unintuitive process to change the slide transition time? For instance, I was recently trying to make a Pecha Kucha presentation and after all the trouble of figuring out how to make the slides change after 20 seconds each, I realized that (at least in my version), Google Presentation only allows for slide transition increments of 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60 seconds. This just seems extremely pointless to limit slide transition time choices.

As for the formatting problem between Google Presentations and Powerpoint, I found that this is the case with transitioning between Google Docs and .pdfs, .doc, .docx’s, etc. So many times I create a document that’s perfectly formatted the way I want, then to download it as a pdf or word document and having it come out extremely messed up.

This is extremely problematic since I don’t even own a copy of Microsoft Office Suite… so I don’t really have any alternatives.

6 11 2012
mtgwork

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I haven’t tried Open Office for a while but wonder if that is something you have also considered? I might do a blog post on that sometime too.
Best wishes,
MTG

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