How to: Add Pizzazz to Presentations

Chromecast is awesome. The device isn’t perfect, but it’s starting to give us some serious options for uses other than just watching Netflix or Google Play movies.

Today I was playing around with the Google Cast extension to try and cast my Amazon Prime movies. That didn’t work too well — I could watch the movie, but there’s a slight lag and problems with sound and video sync — but that gave me an idea of how I could use the extension to cast an awesome presentation.

Getting set up

The Cast extension only works with Google Chrome browser, so you’ll obviously need Chrome. Next, install the Cast extension. You’ll see the Google Cast in your list of extensions.

Cast extension list

The Google Cast extension will allow you to send Chrome browser tabs to your Chromecast. Simply click the Google Cast menu item to bring up the “Cast this tab” menu.

Cast this tab to

This option works exactly like your Chromecast function on your Android device. Click your Chromecast device to send the tab to your Chromecast.

If you weren’t aware, this is how you’d try to send a video to the Chromecast. You can adjust the Options — video playback up to 720p — or even try casting the entire desktop.

Cast tab or Screen

You’re only interested in knowing how to Cast current tab, for this task. Of course, you can try casting the entire screen for other projects.

Casting the presentation

I suggest that you use Google Presentations (formerly Slides, and part of the Google Drive apps) to make your presentation. You could try casting using another presentation software, but obviously, Google’s products work best with Google’s products. You can add the Slides extension to Google Chrome.

Upload or design your presentation, then open the presentation into a new window (you can also use a new tab; I think the new window looks cleaner).

Google Slides Presentation
Click the image to view a larger version.

Sidenote: you can click here to see the pictured presentation.

Now you’re ready to cast this presentation.

First, click Cast this tab from the menu. You should see a reproduction of your tab appear on your television.

Next, click Present to bring your presentation to full screen on your computer and your television. Flick forward through your presentation using the forward errors on your keyboard.

Voila, an awesome presentation on Chromecast.

Now for the pizzazz

Okay, so casting a presentation to Chromecast isn’t that cool, especially when you have to stick close to your laptop. But here’s where you can add pizzazz:

First, add the deMobo Presentation Remote to Chrome. Next, add Presentation Remote to your Android tablet or phone. Presentation Remote connects your browser with your Android device.

The Presentation Remote app has a timer and shows each slide’s notes for quick reference.

de Mobo Presentation Remote Screenshot

The Presentation Remote makes a great companion to Google Slides, allowing you to easily click forward and backward in your presentation. You could also use a USB remote, but I prefer having some reference notes in the palm of my hand. Plus, using your Android device might make doing this a bit easier.

This process could work really well for closing or opening arguments, or even your entire trial presentation. Slides features many of the functions available in Microsoft Office PowerPoint, so you shouldn’t be too concerned about not being able to make a quality presentation. However, I would caution you about uploading a PowerPoint presentation, since sometimes Google Presentations has difficulty translating items. Be sure to experiment with particular settings if you’re going to upload one of the presentations.

Finally, I’d caution you against “guinea pigging” this how to for your trial tomorrow. Spend at least an hour making sure all of the components work together before you trust any technology. Also, none of this (except for Presentation Remote) will work with an Android device. I’d love to see Chromecast integration with Google Drive, but I think we’re still at least 6 months away.

If you’re going to get excited about one more feature of Chromecast, casting a presentation is as good as any reason.

2 Responses to How to: Add Pizzazz to Presentations

  1. Sharing this great tip with my tribes later today. So basically I can use Chromecast and Presentation Remote to display on a large screen before my jury or an audience without the need for a projector. This is why I keep coming back to your blog. Nice!

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.