Google Slides has various tools to help a budding graphic designer use three principles of design:

  1. Alignment
  2. Balance
  3. Rule of Thirds

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to apply these three principles to create an original graphic design in Google Slides.

Graphic Design

What is graphic design? Watch the videos below to learn more.



Alignment is how objects and/or text line up. Alignment creates structure and balance, which gives your design a professional look. Google Slides has multiple tools to help you align text, images, and objects.


Snap to Guides

  1. Select View.
  2. Click on Snap to.
  3. Select Guides.
  4. When an object is moved, a red alignment indicator appears.
  5. Release the object when the red indicator line is aligned.

Align objects on a slide automatically


  1. Select View.
  2. Click on Show Ruler.
  3. Use the ruler to move the objects with precision.

Suggestion: Combine the Ruler with Snap to Guides red indicator lines as you move the images or text boxes.

PNG files have a transparent background. The sand and three palms tree images come from


  1. Click on the object.
  2. Select Format options. (Sometimes you need to click on the 3 dots to see Format options).
  3. Click on Position.
  4. Type the desired x and y coordinates.


Example measurements:

  • Palm 1 x = 0 and y = 0.58
  • Palm 2 x = 6.78 and y = 1.18
  • Palm 3 x = 4.62 and y =1.08


  1. Select two or more objects. Use the Shift key as you select multiple items.
  2. Click on the Arrange menu.
  3. Select Align.
  4. Select Top, Middle, or Bottom to align the objects.
  5. The final product is aligned.


When objects such as images, shapes, Word Art, and text are placed on a Slide without structure, the result is a jumbled mess. This is where the Arrange menu comes in handy.  Equal distribution creates symmetrical balance and a professional look. Center on page Horizontally or Vertically is awesome!



  1. Select a minimum of 3 objects.
  2. Click Arrange on the menu.
  3. Select Distribute.
  4. Select Horizontally for across or Vertically for up and down.
  5. The objects will now be evenly spaced between the first and last object.

Click on the first object and then use the Shift to select multiple objects.

Arrange and align objects on a slide

Center object on page

  1. Select the object.
  2. Click on Arrange.
  3. Select Center on page.
  4. Choose between Horizontally or Vertically.
  5. The image will move to the center of the slide.

The light bulb and horse images come from

Rule of Thirds

Imagine a grid with 9 boxes. The focal point is where the lines intersect. This is the rule of thirds in the simplest of terms. The design becomes more striking and effective when the elements of design are placed around the four corners of the central rectangle.


Guides should not be confused with Snap to guides. The user can insert Guides on the ruler or Edit guides in the View menu.

Math for Rule of Thirds

x = width
y = height

  • Vertical line 1 = (x/3)
  • Vertical line 2 = (x/3) + (x/3)
  • Horizontal line 1 = (y/3)
  • Horizontal line 2 = (y/3) + (y/3)

Rule of Third Measurements for a 16:9 Google Slide

  • Vertical line 1 = 3.33
  • Vertical line 2 = 6.67
  • Horizontal line 1 = 1.87
  • Horizontal line 2 = 3.75

NOTE: I noticed that when I type in a number such as 3.33 into the guide, the number changes to 3.32. If I type 3.32, the number changes to 3.31. I consider this a glitch. I am sure that Google will fix it soon.

Determine Page Size to set up Rule of Thirds Guide lines

You can look at the ruler to determine the size of the slide or you can get the exact measurements with these directions:

  1. Select File.
  2. Look for Page setup.
  3. Arrows mean "there is more, go explore." Select the arrow.
  4. Select Custom.
  5. View the page size in inches and select Done after you write down the numbers.

Edit Guides

  1. Open View.
  2. Select Guides.
  3. Click on Edit guides.
  4. Select Add new guide in the Vertical tab.
  5. Type the number and repeat 4 if creating multiple vertical lines.
  6. Add the measurements for horizontal guides.
  7. Select Done.
  8. Use the guide lines to position objects and text on the slide.

Add or remove guide lines
Heart png and bicycle png from

Clear Guides

  1. Select File.
  2. Click on Guides.
  3. Select Clear guides.

Manually Add Guides

  1. Click on the ruler.
  2. Select Add horizontal/vertical guide.
  3. Repeat for additional guides.
  4. Use the guides, ruler, Arrange menu, and arrow keys to objects and text on the page.

NOTE: Guides also allow you to indent and change the margins of text and bulleted lists.

Show or Hide Guides

The guides will remain in Google Slides and Google Drawings unless you hide or clear them. If you will use these guides repeatedly, just hide them.

  1. Select View.
  2. Click on Guides.
  3. Select Show guides.

Practice Google Slides Design Tools

Practice the tools and skills taught on this page with the Design Tools Lesson. Open the previous link and select Use template to begin the lesson.

YouTube Playlist

  • Beginning Graphic Design: Fundamentals
  • What is Graphic Design? Ep 1/45
  • ‘Alignment’ Design principle of Graphic Design Ep11/45
  • Understanding Alignment & Proximity
  • 'Balance" Design principles of Graphic Design Ep 12/45
  • BALANCE in Art | The Principles of Design EXPLAINED!
  • Understanding the Rule of Thirds | Adobe Design Principles Course
  • The Rule of Thirds in Action | Adobe Design Principles Course
  • Guides in Google Slides and Drawings
  • How to use guides and rulers in Google Slides



If you would like a fresh look for your Google Presentation, use the original website.

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Updated September 25, 2022.