You’ve seen the problem a thousand times – a presenter who has obviously given some thought to their talk, and who has attempted to make it visual, but who is falling short because they are using too many small, lo-res images.

How do you find the bigger image when you are time-starved? I’ve written before about playing with Google’s image search and using the size filter and the “search by image” to find bigger and better pics. For a real quick-and-dirty solution, here’s a little-known nugget in the Google tool.

Say you’ve found an interesting image that captures the point you want to make – maybe you came across it on Twitter and hit the  “save image” option from your mobile app. The image is sitting in your Dropbox, iCloud or wherever you use by default and, as you are building your presentation, you import it into PowerPoint.

And it’s tiny.

Powerpoint image too small

If you’re creating the most basic PowerPoint file at 1024 x 768 pixels in size, anything less than an image 500 pixels across is going to lose impact if you leave it ‘floating’ in the middle of your screen. You could enlarge the image by shift-dragging the bounding box until it fills the screen, but for a lo-res image, it’s likely to be a pixellated mess. In this instance the image is less than a quarter of the size needed, the text is unreadable at the small size and it becomes a blurry mess if you enlarge it to fill the slide. So you need a bigger image.

You go to Google and type the keywords associated with the image – but nothing comes up. You try another couple of words to describe the essence of this image – but nothing comes up. You’ve now spent a few minutes trying to get this one slide for your deck, a deck that’s going to consist of 30-40 slides, many of them dense numerical stuff that’s going to take some time and some tweaking on your part. This nice visual metaphor is just that – a nice-to-have – so you don’t want to spend any more time on it. There is a solution.

Go to Google.com and click the “Images” link at the top of the page (over towards the right). You will be brought to the basic Image Search page:

google image search basicClick on the little camera icon on the right of the search box and you get this dropdown:

google image search basic plus dropdown

Click on the “Upload an image” tab and use the “choose file” to get to the teeny image you have previously saved and, unless you have been unlucky enough to want to use an one-off oddity of an image, you’ll get a result something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.22.33Which gives me this when I click “All sizes”:

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.23.02

Happy days – I have a choice of nice big images to play with, and the exercise takes about 15 seconds. It doesn’t always work, and there are obviously the usual caveats about using images that are copyrighted, or that you need to at the very least provide attribution for. But for a quickie, not-to-be-published anywhere preso, this is a quickie fix that has saved me, and my clients, many hours of fruitless searching.