How to share video with Google Slides

Four tips to help you work with video in Google Slides from a desktop browser or mobile device.

Video can help people learn how to do things such as use an app, navigate a process with many steps, or complete a difficult-to-describe task. When people ask how to do something, you can respond with a link followed by, "Watch this video. Does that answer your question?"

Sometimes, though, you want people to see several videos in sequence. You can create a YouTube playlist, but only if all of the videos are on YouTube. Otherwise, you might gather a list of links to videos stored on YouTube, Google Drive, and elsewhere.

Google Slides lets you show specific segments of videos, and surround the videos with additional text or images.

Here are 4 tips to help you work with video in Google Slides.

1. Insert YouTube or Google Drive videos in Slides

You can upload your videos to either YouTube or Google Drive, then insert the video into Google Slides from a desktop browser. Generally, I see people upload videos intended for public sharing to YouTube. Videos intended for private use, such as internal employee or educational viewing, are often stored on Google Drive.

To insert video on a slide, go to Insert > Video in the menus. You can then search for a video from YouTube, paste the URL of a video from YouTube, or navigate to and select a video file stored on Google Drive.

2. Set your Slides to private or public

You can configure your Slides to be as public or private as you choose. Since the early days of Google Slides, you've always had the ability to set access permissions to yourself, to people you choose, to people in your organization, or to anyone with the link. Select the blue "Share" button in the upper right while in Slides to adjust permissions.

Screenshot of Google Slides video options panel (shows to the right of content on a Google Slide), with start & stop times, as well as autoplay and mute checkboxes.

In Google Slides, configure video inserted from YouTube or Google Drive to play a specific segment or to autoplay.

3. Slides supports autoplay segments

From Google Slides in your desktop browser, you can specify a start and end time to play only a segment of your selected video. If you do this, when you present your slides — in a desktop browser or on mobile devices — just the segment you've selected plays during your presentation.

Separately, you can select "autoplay" or "mute," as well. As expected, the first starts the video when you switch to the slide, and the second turns off the sound. Autoplay works with your segment settings: When you switch to a slide with both autoplay and start and end times, Slides will autoplay the segment specified. If you select play after autoplay ends, the video starts at the beginning of the video. To replay your selected segment, switch to another slide, then switch back.

4. On mobile, convert video to a GIF for Slides

When you work on Android or iOS, you may notice that you can't insert video into your Google Slides app. You need a full desktop browser for these functions as of late January 2018. Fortunately, video you've added on desktop will play on mobile.

As an alternative, you can convert a video into a GIF, then insert this image in the Google Slides mobile app. The downside? You'll need to convert your video to GIF segments smaller than 50 MB and these segments will lack sound, since GIF is an image format. However, if your video is already captioned or works without sound, this can be a viable option. (I've used GIF Maker-Editor on Android and GIF Toaster Pro on iOS to convert video to GIF format.) Once you have your GIF, tap the plus ("+") in Slides, choose "From photos," then select to insert your GIF. One benefit of this approach is that your GIF will continually cycle, unlike video, which stops playback.

Your experience?

If you use G Suite, do you share videos for your organization on Google Drive, YouTube, or elsewhere? What has your experience been sharing videos — and related training or "how to" information — with Google Slides? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@awolber).

Also see

Illustration of Google Slides, with words "YouTube" and "Google Drive" to the right, with arrows back to video inserted in slide
Image: Andy Wolber / TechRepublic

About Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

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