How to Annotate in Google Slides While You Present

Annotating your Google Slides presentation while presenting can be a great way to make your presentation more engaging and interactive. Adding annotations on the fly allows you to highlight important points, draw connections, and provide additional context.

Enabling the Annotation Tool

Google Slides recently introduced a new built-in annotation tool that makes it easy to annotate presentations during a slideshow. Here are the steps to enable the tool:

  1. Open the Google Slides presentation you want to present and annotate
  2. Click on “Slideshow” at the top right to enter presentation mode
  3. In the bottom left corner, click the 3-dot menu icon
  4. Select “Enable pen tool”

This will enable the annotation pen. You can now annotate directly on your slides.

Annotating During Your Presentation

Once the pen tool is enabled, you have a variety of options:

Drawing and Writing

  • Click and drag on the slide to draw freehand
  • Write text by clicking and dragging as if writing on paper
  • Use different pen colors like red, green, and blue

Emphasizing Key Points

  • Circle or underline text and figures
  • Draw arrows pointing to important areas
  • Scribble notes next to relevant content

Connecting Concepts

  • Draw lines between related elements
  • Link steps in a process with numbered annotations
  • Show relationships by bracketing connected items

Clearing Annotations

  • Click the eraser icon to remove specific annotations
  • Select “Erase all” to clear annotations from the current slide
  • Annotations are removed automatically when advancing slides

Presenting from a Mobile Device

You can also annotate your Google Slides presentation when presenting directly from an iOS or Android mobile device.

To annotate from your phone or tablet:

  1. Open the Google Slides app
  2. Tap on a presentation to open it
  3. Tap the 3-dot menu button in the top right corner
  4. Select “Present slides”
  5. Tap the pen icon to start annotating over your slides

The mobile app provides the same annotation capabilities, allowing you to draw, write, and highlight key information on any slide.

Best Practices for Annotating

Here are some tips for getting the most out of annotations:

  • Use annotations strategically – Focus on highlighting the most important points rather than over-annotating. Use annotations to direct attention and reinforce concepts.
  • Keep it simple – Avoid excessive text and complex drawings. Use annotations sparingly to maximize impact.
  • Mind your handwriting – If writing text, make sure it is legible from the back of the room. Consider printing rather than cursive script.
  • Change colors – Switch pen colors to color code different types of annotations. For example, use red to circle key figures, green for definitions, and blue for connecting arrows.
  • Practice beforehand – Try out the annotation tools before your actual presentation to get comfortable with the capabilities. Test what works well and what doesn’t.
  • Clear as you go – Erase annotations after discussing a slide so they do not distract from upcoming content. Annotations disappear when advancing slides.

Alternative Options

If you want to permanently add annotations for future presentations, rather than transient annotations that disappear, there are a couple options:

  • Add shapes and text boxes – Insert shapes like arrows, rectangles, and circles to function as permanent annotations. You can add text inside these shapes.
  • Use drawing tools – Google Slides includes built-in line, arrow, and text box drawing tools that can be used to annotate slides. These remain persistent when advancing through slides.
  • Try add-ons – Third-party add-ons like Lucidchart Diagrams provide additional drawing and annotation capabilities. Integrates seamlessly into Google Slides.

The new annotation capabilities make presenting from Google Slides much more interactive. Allowing presenters to highlight, draw, underline, and connect ideas on the fly engages audiences and improves comprehension. Following the best practices will help ensure annotations improve rather than distract from your presentation.