Automatically Create Google Slides Presentations from a Template

With automation providers like Make, you can easily create Google Slides presentations from a template and instantly fill them out with custom text and images. We'll show you how it works in this tutorial.

Written by
Matt Jasinski

May 27, 2024

With automated templates, you can create presentations, reports, and other slide decks faster than ever. By completing a quick form in Airtable, you can instantly create a Google Slides presentation populated with custom text and even images. 

In this post, we’re going to show you how it all works with a simple 3-step automation in Make, formerly known as Integromat. All you’ll need are free accounts for Google Slides, Make, and Airtable (or any other form building app you want to use). 

Preparing your template in Google Slides

Create a presentation

To begin, just create a presentation in Google Slides as normal. Note that you won’t need to upload this presentation as a template in Google Drive. Just make note of where the file is saved so you can identify it later in Make. 

Quick tip: enter “” in your URL bar or in a Google Search bar to instantly open up a new, blank presentation. 

Using "" to create a new presentation in Google Slides

Add variables to your presentation

Next, you can add variables to your presentation by enclosing text in two pairs of curly brackets.

A variable will act as a placeholder. When Make creates a new presentation from your template, it will copy the template as a new deck, and replace the variables with text or images from Airtable (or your other data source). 

In Make, you can use nearly any symbols and syntax you want for your variables as long as they’re enclosed in two curly brackets {{like this}}

However, we would generally recommend using “camel case”, where each word is separated with a capital letter instead of a space, hyphen or other character. This will ensure compatibility with other automation platforms like Zapier, in case you want to use them in the future. 

For example, your variables would look like this:



In the image below, you can see a finished Google Slides template with a few variables in curly brackets. 

A Slides presentation with variables that will be recognized by Make

Adjust placement for image variables

If you plan to replace any of your variables with images, you can still use a text field like with any other variable. 

Just note that the final placement of the image will be based on the placement of your variable. 

When the variable is replaced with an image, the image will be the same width as the text box you’ve drawn. 

An image variable in a Google Slides template

The top of the image will align roughly with the top of the text box as well, so we’d recommend drawing the text box for your image variable where you want the image to be. 

A finished view of the slide presentation with the image and variables completed

However, getting the exact right placement may take a little trial and error. 

Additionally, many effects that you’ve applied to the variable text will also apply to the final image. For instance, an image variable with “drop shadow” applied will also have a drop shadow on the final image. 

Selecting Formatting Options with Drop shadow enabled

Once your variable tags are all set, it’s time to create a form in Airtable

Use a form to generate new presentations

Create a form in Airtable or another app

In Airtable, or in any other app that you want to use that supports forms, create a form with a question for each variable that you added to your slide deck. 

You could also use apps like Tally, Typeform, or Google Forms. However, the automation that we demonstrate in Make will use some Airtable-specific settings. 

If you're new to Airtable and would like to learn more about using the app, you can check out our beginner's guide here

Prepare a table as the basis for your form

In Airtable, you can make a form by simply creating a form view for any existing table. When you do that, every field in your table will become a field in the attached form view. 

So to begin, just create a table with a field for each variable in your presentation template. Be sure to choose appropriate data types for each field. 

In our example pictured below, most of the field types are “text”. 

Airtable Fields in the Presentations Table with one entry filled.

However, we have included one field called “Image”, which is an “Attachment” field type. That will allow us to upload an image to the field. 

The Image field should be an Attachment

You'll also note that we've included a “created time” field. This is a necessary field whenever you're trying to automate Airtable with Make. 

A created Time field is important to trigger for Make

This field will be automatically populated with the date and time when each record was created. Since Airtable fills it in automatically, this field won’t be included in the form.

Create a form view

Once all of the fields in your table are ready, you can create a form view. Just click on “Form” in the bottom left-hand corner. 

Creating a Form View in Airtable

All of the fields from your table should be added as questions in the form, except for any formula fields like “Created Time”. You can customize the form with a title and description, and change the title for any field. 

A Form View in Airtable

Once your form is all set, click on “Open form” to view the form in your browser. Then, fill it out to create test data.

Filling out an Airtable form

Creating the automation in Make (Integromat)

To create an automation for generating Slides presentations from a template, go to and sign in.

If you don’t have an account yet, you can create one for free. 

You can also check out our Make beginner’s guide to learn the ropes. 

Once you’re signed in, create a new scenario. 

Configure the trigger: Watch Records in Airtable

Choose Airtable as the app for your trigger module. Then, pick “Watch records” as the event.

Watch Records trigger in Make

Sign in to Airtable to authorize Make if you haven’t already. Then, choose the correct base and table to watch. In our example, we’ll watch the “Presentations” table for new records.

Select the Base and Table to look for Records

For the “Trigger field”, you need to pick a field with date-time data that Make can use to sort your records. That lets it determine which records were created most recently, and this is why we made the “Created time” field earlier. 

Watch the Created Time field

For “Label”, pick a field to use as the label or title for each record. You can pick any one that you want. 

Select the Field you want to use to identify the record

In the “Limit” field, you can set the maximum records that the automation will retrieve each time it runs. You can set this to whatever you’d like. 

Once your trigger is configured, click “OK”. Then, test the trigger. 

After testing your trigger, you can click on the number that appears over the module to see the data it retrieved. 

In our example, we can see that the trigger successfully retrieved our test data about Paris. 

Test Data for the Airtable Trigger

Create a new slide deck and replace text variables

Next, add a new module to your scenario. Search for “Google slides”, and choose “Create presentation from template”. 

Sign in to your Google account to authorize Make.  

Add List Presentations in Google Slides as the module

Then, provide a title to use for each new presentation. Be sure to include some dynamic data to make sure the names for each presentation are unique. 

Map the Variables from the Trigger into the appropriate Google Slides fields

Identify the presentation you want to use as a template. 

Select the Presentation you wish to use with the dropdown from Presentation ID

Once you choose it, all the variables in your deck will appear under the “Values” section.

The Template variables will appear below

Map your Airtable form data to every field, except any image variables. You’ll need a separate step to fill in those, so just leave them blank for now.

Fill out variables with fields from Airtable trigger.  Click to choose a folder for the New Documents Location

Next, pick a Drive folder to store each new presentation in. 

The location will be where you want the final presntation

Once you’ve finished configuring the module, click “OK”. Now you can test your whole scenario again.

After testing, open up Google Drive to check the newly created deck. You should see all of your text variables replaced with your test data. 

First slide of the finished Presentation

Any image variables will remain unchanged, but that’s fine. 

Second slide of the finished presentation with the image variable still empty

Next, we’ll show you how to add one last step to this automation to fill in the image variable. 

Add images to your slide deck

Go back to your Make scenario, and add a new module. Search for “Google Slides” and choose “Upload an image to a presentation”. 

A new Google Slides module with Upload an Image to a Presentation

For “Presentation ID”, enter the Presentation ID retrieved in the previous step, not the ID of the original template. 

Presentation ID being mapped with the Presentation created previously

Under “Select the Method”, you can stick with “Upload an Image by Replacing Text Tag”

Select the Method to upload the image as "Upload an Image by Replacing Text Tag"

In the “Values” section, add a new item. 

Variables will not load automatically click "Add Item" below Values

In the “tag” field, type your image variable’s name, without any curly brackets. For our example, we’ll just enter “image” here. 

In the image URL field, enter the URL of the image you want to upload.In our example, we’ll select the “Image URL” data retrieved from Airtable. 

Fill out the "Tag" field with "image" and the "Image URL" field with the Image URL from the Airtable step

If you have several image variables, you can create additional items here for each one. Once you’re all set, click “OK”.

Testing the complete scenario

Now you can test the scenario one more time. As always, check Google Drive to ensure that the presentation was created correctly. 

In our example, we can see that all of the text variables have been filled in just like before.

First Slide of finished presentation

However, with the final step added, the image variable has also been replaced.

The second slide of the finished presentation with the Image visible

You’re now all set to save this automation, turn it on, and start using it. 

Create presentations faster and enable easy collaboration

With automated Google Slides presentations, you can save time whenever you need to create a commonly used report or other document. You can also use the form to let collaborators create presentations in your account without logging in and getting direct access. 

No matter how you want to use this automation, it just takes a few minutes to set up, so give it a shot today. 

If you’d like to learn more about automating software like Google Slides, Notion, Airtable, and more, be sure to check out our blog or our YouTube channel. You can also follow XRay on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Similar Blog Posts

Not sure where to start with automation?

Hop on a 15-minute call with an XRay automation consultant to discuss your options and learn more about how we can help your team to get more done.

Schedule a 15-Minute Call