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Working with Images in Google Docs & Slides

Working with Images in Google Docs & Google Slides TeachingForward blog post header

Images in Google Docs & Slides

Creating visually engaging documents or presentations using carefully selected, well-placed images is easy when you know how to work with images in Google Docs or Google Slides effectively.  However, finding the right image can be a time-consuming struggle. Depending on the situation, you may find it helpful to be aware of some different ways of finding and adding images.  Once you’ve found the perfect visuals, you can crop and move them as needed for a polished look!

Three Options for Adding Images in Google Docs or Slides

Insert –> Image:

Allows you to pull an image in from your computer, Google Drive and even Google Search directly from
inside your file.  This method is ideal for new users and younger students.

Via Built-In Explore Tool (formerly “Research Tool):

From inside the file, choose “Tools” –> “Explore” to open up the built in Explore Tool.
If you’ve never used this before, you’re missing out on an amazing feature!  Not only can this tool be used to conduct research from right inside a Document, but it can also be used to find and simultaneously cite images without leaving your file!

Drag & Drop from the Web:

Most Google Apps users are unaware of this nifty little trick.  If you find an image on a website that you want to add to your Google Doc or Slides presentation, no need to save or try to copy and paste.  Instead, simply click and drag the image from the webpage to your file.  This requires that you have two browser tabs open, one with your desired image, the other tab should be open to your file.  Check out the tutorial video below to see this in action.

Tips for Customizing Images in Google Docs or Slides

Positioning, Cropping, Re-coloring & Transparency for Images
  • Re-sizing and Moving:  Once you have the perfect images, you’ll want to position them without making a mess of your text.  To move images, click once on an image to select it.  Below the image, choose either “Wrap Text” or “Break Text” to allow you to move the image to the desired position.  When re-sizing, click the image once to select it (blue handle bars will show) and be sure to pull one of the corners of the image so that the aspect ratio is maintained.Moving images Google Docs Google Slides
  • Cropping:  If you want to crop your image, you can do so from right inside the Google Doc or Google Slides file.  Double-click

Cropping images in Google Docs or Google Slides

  • Recoloring:  Some images can be re-colored by right-clicking and choosing “Image Options” –> “Recolor”.  Note: Re-coloring can be limited and may be unavailable for some images.  You may need to resort to using a separate image editor for re-coloring, but the built in feature is quick and may meet your needs.
Recoloring images in Google Docs or Google Slides
  • Transparency:  If you want to use and image as a background in Google Slides, adjusting the transparency is a great way to allow the text to appear clearly over a subtle background image.  Right click on the image and choose “Image Options”.  Click and adjust the transparency slider to adjust the image.

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