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Zoho Docs Primer: Creating Presentations With Zoho Show

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For an Office alternative that has so many apps, Zoho isn't nearly as well-known as Google Docs, LibreOffice, iWork, and more. But that's not for lack of features. As we've seen in our look at Zoho's Write and Sheet apps for documents and spreadsheets, respectively, Zoho's apps have the features you need to make great Office files for free.

For the third and final part of my Zoho Docs series, I'll be covering Zoho Show. Zoho Show is the presentation part of the Zoho Docs suite. Zoho show is remarkably feature-full for being a cloud-based PowerPoint alternative, and in this tutorial, you'll learn everything you need to make great presentations for free with Zoho.

Making a Zoho Presentation

To create a presentation in Zoho Show, look towards the upper left-hand corner of the Zoho Docs home screen and click on the Create button. From the drop-down menu, click Presentation.

Choosing your presentations theme
Choosing your presentation's theme.

You'll now be brought to a page where you can choose your presentation's name, aspect ratio, and theme. Give your presentation a name next to the appropriately named name title. Directly underneath this title is the aspect ratio selector. You can choose from wide (16:9) or normal (4:3).

After choosing your aspect ratio, it's time to choose your theme. You can do this by looking towards the center of the window and scrolling through all of the available themes for your aspect ratio.

Once you've chosen a theme, look towards the right-hand side of the window where you'll see two menus: colors and font. Choose what color and font set you'd like to use in your document from their respective menus.

Once you're ready to create your document, look towards the bottom of the theme selection menu and click on the OK button. You'll now be brought to your new presentation.

Adding Text To Your Slides

Like in most popular presentation applications, you can start editing your new presentation by clicking into the title on the title slide or by clicking into a textbox on a standard slide.

Adding new slides to your presentation is simple as well: just look towards the top of your slide list (left-hand side of the window) and click the new slide button. Additionally, to the right of this button, is a settings button that can be used to delete, duplicate, lock, and hide slides.

To further customize your presentation, look to the top of your Zoho Show window and make sure you're clicked into the Home tab.

The Home Tab

align text
Align text in the Home tab.

From the Home tab, you can format your text by changing its font type, size, and color by way of the middle of the tab, and you can change its alignment by looking to the right-hand side of the window and clicking on the button that looks like four lines stacked on top of each other. From the drop-down menu, you can choose how you'd like your text aligned.

Using The Text Properties Window

If you look to the far right-hand side of the Home tab, you'll see a button that looks like a paragraph button with a three lines next to it. Click on this button and a pop-up window will appear. From this window, you can change your bullet, paragraph, and font options.

To modify your bullet options, look to the left-hand side of the window and click on the Bullet button from the sidebar. From here, you can choose what style of bullets you'd like to use in your document. You can choose a different style for standard bullets and numbered bullets by clicking their respective button from the top of the window.

From the sidebar, click on the Paragraph button to edit your paragraph options. From this window, you can make changes to your indentation and spacing options.

Finally, from the fonts button, you can edit the font family, style, and sizing used in the current text box you're editing. You can also add effects, like bolding and italicizing, from the bottom of the menu.

Aligning Your Text Boxes In Zoho Show

From the right-hand side of the home tab, click on the button that looks like two bar graphs. The drop-down menu will let you align your current textbox in your document without having to freehand. This is helpful when creating custom slides.

The Insert Tab

Clicking into the insert tab will give you a ton of options for adding images, shapes, textboxes, videos, and even Twitter feeds to your presentation. I'll show you how to add each of these in the paragraphs below.

Adding Images To Your Presentation

Adding images to a Zoho Show presentation
Adding images to a Zoho Show presentation.

Adding images to your Zoho Show presentation is pretty simple. Just look towards the left-hand corner of the Insert tab and click on the button that's shaped like a photograph. Then, look towards the right-hand side of the pop-up window.

From this side of the window, you can choose the source of your image. If you click on the Insert button, you'll be able to upload an image and then position it on in your presentation. Additionally, if your image is saved on the web, you can click the From URL button to insert your image from its respective URL.

Additionally if your image is saved on Picasa or Flickr, you can import it from the service's respective button on the sidebar. If you'd like to search the web for an image, click the Web Search button to open a Google Image search.

Inserting Shapes

Adding shapes to your presentation is a great way to bring attention to parts of your presentation. To add a shape, look towards the center of the Insert tab next to the Shapes header. You'll see a bunch of different shape types. Click on the one you'd like to use. From the drop-down menu, click the style of the shape you'd like to use.

Adding Textboxes To Your Presentation

Adding a text box to your presentation
Adding a text box to your presentation.

Not only can you add images and shapes to your document, but you can also add additional textboxes to each slide. This is helpful for customizing existing slides, or adding content to blank slides without pre-added textboxes.

To add a textbox to your document, look to the right-hand side of your presentation and click on the textbox button. This button is shaped like a square with a plus symbol on its corner.

When you click this button, you can draw a textbox on your presentation by clicking and dragging on your document. You can then click into your texbox and begin typing.

Adding Videos To Your Presentation

Adding videos is also quite simple. Look to the far right-hand side of the Insert tab and click on the button labeled Video. From the pop-up menu, you can choose to insert a video by either searching for the video on YouTube or DailyMotion or inserting its HTML embed code.

Add a YouTube video
Searching for a video on YouTube. 

To embed a video in your presentation by searching for it, look towards the left-hand side of the window and click the Search Video button. Then, look towards the center of the window and click on the YouTube button. From this menu, you'll be able to choose between DailyMotion and YouTube for video search.

Now, you can search for your video by looking towards the top of the window and clicking into the search box. Search for your video and click on it. To insert it into your slide, click on the insert button from the bottom right-hand corner of the pop-up window. You can then position your video by clicking and dragging it around your presentation.

To edit your video selection, hover over your inserted video and click the pencil button on the upper right-hand corner of the video box. The video search window will then appear.

Adding A Twitter Feed To Your Presentation

Adding a live Twitter feed to your presentation
Adding a live Twitter feed to your presentation.

If you're hosting an event with a Twitter hashtag, you may want to add a live stream of your Twitter hashtag to your presentation. To do this, look to the far right-side of the Insert tab and click on the Twitter Feed button. From the pop-up, authenticate your Twitter account to be used with Zoho Show.

You can now search Twitter for hashtags and keywoards using the search button located towards the center of the Twitter pop-up. Search for your desired tag and then look towards the top of the window. If you'd like to insert a live feed of your hashtag, make sure the Live tab is selected. If you'd like to pick and choose the tweets you'd like displayed, click on the Marked tab where you can add tweets to your list by clicking the plus button that appears when hovering over said tweet.

After selecting your hashtag, click the insert button from the lower-right-hand side of the window. You can then position and resize your Twitter feed from the presentation.

Adding HTML "Gadgets" To Your Presentation

Finally, if you'd like to add a custom HTML "Gadget" to your presentation, look to the right of the Twitter Feed button and click on the Gadget button. Towards the center of the pop-up window is a box where you can input your gadget's HTML embed code. Once input, click the Insert button.

As of now, only select services can play audio and video through Zoho Show, so make sure to check that the service you'd like to use is approved on Zoho's website.

The Design Tab

Styling a slide from the Styles drop-down menu
Styling a slide from the Styles drop-down menu.

Click into the Design tab and you'll be able to further customize your presentation. If you'd like to change your theme, click the Themes button and select your new theme from the drop-down menu. Additionally, if you'd like to change your font set or color scheme, click on their respective button from the right of the Theme button.

Though themes have a preset color and pattern theme for your slides, you can change these from the Styles drop-down menu. To access this, click on the Styles button from the center of the tab and select the new style you'd like to use. Additionally, to the right of this tab, you can click the Hide Background Images to disable these textures.

Using the Slide Show Properties window
Using the Slide Show Properties window.

If you'd like to change your presentation's aspect ratio or orientation, click the Slide Setup button from the right-hand side of the window. From the pop-up, you can

Adding Transitions To Your Presentation

Adding and customizing transitions
Adding and customizing transitions.

Adding transitions to your slides is a very simple task. Just click into the Transitions tab and select the slide you'd like to add a transition to from the sidebar. Look towards the upper left-hand corner of the window and click on the No Transition button. From the drop-down menu, select the transition you'd like to use.

With your slide still selected, you can customize your transition by choosing effects from the drop-down that's located to the right of the transition select drop-down. These effects vary from transition to transition.

You can adjust your transition time using the slider to the right of the right of the effects drop-down.

If you'd like to apply your new transition to all slides, click the All Slides button that is located towards the right-hand side of the window. To preview your transition, click the Preview button that's located towards the far right-hand side of the tab.

Animating Your Presentation

Adding an emphasis animation to your presentation
Adding an emphasis animation to your presentation.

The Animation tab allows you to animate any piece of content within a slide. You can animate a piece of content in one of three ways: entrance, emphasis, and exit.

To add one of these animation sequences to your content, click on the piece of content you'd like to animate and look towards the top of the screen. You'll see three different options: Entrance, Emphasis, and Exit. Click on the type of animation you'd like to assign to your document and select the style of animation from the drop-down menu. It will then be applied to your content.

Managing Your Animations

Customizing your animations in the Animation Pane
Customizing your animations in the Animation Pane. 

If you'd like to view all of your active animations, click on the Animation Pane... button from the right-hand side of the window. From here, you can view all active animations in a list. Additionally, if you click on an animation and look towards the bottom of the window, you can change your animation's timing and text animation.

The Slide Show Tab

Now that you've created your sparkly new presentation, it's time to display it on the big screen. To do this, click into the Slide Show tab. If you'd like to start your presentation from the first slide, click the From Beginning button. The same goes if you'd like to start your presentation from the selected slide, click the From Current Slide button.

Changing Your Slide Order

Changing slide order in the New Custom Show window
Changing slide order in the New Custom Show window.

Additionally, if you'd like to change the order that your slides are played, click the Custom Shows button. From the drop-down menu, click the New Custom Show button. You can name your custom show from the top of the window, and add slides to your show by clicking on its name and clicking the right arrow button from the center of the window. Click the OK button when you're ready to save the order.

If you'd like to further customize your slide show settings, click the Slide Show button that is located to the right-hand side of the Slide Show tab next to the Setup header. From this menu, you can customize your presentation by looping slides, disabling transitions, and more.

Customizing Your View

Searching for a video on YouTube
Changing your view in the View tab. 

The View tab is where you can change how you view your presentation in Zoho Show. From the right-hand side of the window next to the Slide View header, you can choose from normal, master, and slide sorter view. Normal lets you view a single slide while Master lets you edit the master title and text styles. Finally, Slide Sorter lets you view all created slides at once, perfect for large presentations.

You can zoom in on your selected slide by using the Zoom slider from the middle of the tab. Additionally, if you'd like to have your content snap to guides, grids, or objects for easier alignment, select what you'd like your object to snap to from the right-hand side of the tab.

Creating Versions

If you'd like to create a version of your document for later reference, click into the Review tab and then click the Create Version... button from the center of the tab. You can then give your version a description from the pop-up.

Viewing version history in Zoho Show
Viewing version history in Zoho Show.

To view version history, click the View Version History tab from the right-hand corner of the tab. You can view all created versions, whether they've been made from by you, a collaborator, or an auto version made by Zoho Show. To revert to an old version, click the clock button located under the Action header.

Share And Collaborate

Adding collaborators to a presentation in Zoho Show
Adding collaborators to a presentation in Zoho Show. 

Collaborating on presentations with Zoho Show is simple. To share your presentation with a collaborator, click on the Share tab and look to the far left-hand side of the tab. Click on the Share button and, from the pop-up, enter a collaborator's email. You can set their read/write settings from the right-hand side of the window, and then send their invitation to the document by pressing the Share button from the middle of the menu.

To manage the collaborator's editing and viewing of your document, click on the Collaborators button that is located to the right of the Share button.

Publishing Your Presentation

If you'd like to publish your presentation, click on the Publish button from the center of the Share tab. From the drop-down menu, you can choose to share your document to just Zoho Docs users or the outside world. Click on the option that suites your needs best.

After selecting, you'll be brought to a window that shows you two things: a share link and embed code. You can copy and paste the share link to give to friends and colleagues who need the document, and you can copy and paste the embed code into your website to share it with your visitors.

If you'd like to depublish your presentation, click the Remove Public button from the Publish drop-down menu.

Broadcasting Your Presentation

Broadcasting a presentation and using the marker tool
Broadcasting a presentation and using the marker tool.

One of the coolest features of Zoho Show is the fact that you can broadcast your presentation in real-time. To do this, click on the Broadcast... button from the right-hand side of the window. You'll now be brought to an invitation window where you can invite others to watch your presentation as you present.

You can now begin presenting to your virtual audience. On the right-hand side of the window is a chatbox where you can talk to your collaborators. Towards the top of the presentation are multiple drawing, selection, and highlight tools that can be used when presenting. To advance to the next slide, click the Next button from the bottom of the window.

That's It, You Now Know The Zoho Suite

And that concludes my three-part series on the Zoho Docs suite. You now know how to use Zoho Docs for all of your everyday office and home cloud office needs.

Give Zoho Docs a try, and let us now in the comments below how you're putting it to work for your office app needs.

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