Cleaning up slide themes in Google Slides

August 26th, 2023

You know the scenario: a slide deck is using an old theme. Or, more likely, it’s made up of multiple themes due to repeated copying-and-pasting from different decks of different provenances.

These days, cleaning up a mess of multiple old themes to make a consistent deck in Google Slides is a lot easier than it used to be, and often fairly quick, but I keep forgetting how to do it, so this is a reminder-to-self.

In the below, “Slide Deck A” is the slide deck being built, that you want to look nice and consistent. “Template Slide Deck” is a clean slide deck containing the theme you want to apply (consistently) to Slide Deck A.

  1. Ensure that Template Slide Deck has at least one slide. Select it, and take it into the copy buffer (Ctrl-C or equivalent)
  2. Paste the slide into Slide Deck A, selecting “Keep Original Styles” in the import process. This should pull in the entire theme from Template Slide Deck.
  3. (Optional) You don’t need Template Slide Deck any more now, so you can delete it if desired.
  4. Back in Slide Deck A, if not already open, click “Theme” in the top nav bar so that you get a right-hand panel with themes in.
  5. Select some/all slides in Slide Deck A, right-click and choose “Change Theme”
  6. In the Themes panel, click “In this presentation” to expand the choice of themes. In there, you should find the “imported” theme from Template Slide Deck. Select it.
  7. Now the slides you selected should have the “clean” theme, and their original layouts will have been added to the clean theme. However, you’ll probably want to apply a layout from the “clean” template. Right click on the requisite slides -> Apply Layout -> choose one.
  8. Clean up the individual slide contents as necessary
  9. If necessary you can remove the “old” theme (it sometimes seems to automatically clean up once no more slides use it)
  10. Once you’ve migrated all the slides to a “new” layout from the clean template, remove the old layouts which were imported to the new theme (via Theme Builder)

Samsung USB-C headphone jack adapter on Galaxy S21

April 3rd, 2023

I recently acquired a genuine Samsung USB-C headphone jack adapter for my Galaxy S21 phone, so I could use some older-but-still-good wired headphones with it. Fully expecting it just to work when plugged in (given that I’d bought a branded one rather than some cheap no-name brand), I was rather surprised when it didn’t, and instead the phone insisted it was just “charging” the device with no apparent option to enable it as a USB audio device.

Testing the adapter on a nearby Samsung tablet of a similar age showed it working fine, so it was clearly a software problem. A search revealed endless lists of people having the same problem, so this is clearly a common issue. There are various different solutions proposed but here’s what worked for me:

  • Enable Developer Mode (Settings -> About Phone -> Software -> hit the build number 7 times)
  • Go to the Settings -> Developer settings menu
  • Check the value of the “Disable USB audio routing” option (this is called “Inaktivera ljud via USB” on a phone set to Swedish). In my case it was turned off which is the correct setting, however since it clearly wasn’t working I continued.
  • Turn the “Disable USB audio routing” option ON and reboot the phone (we don’t actually want this setting, but let’s try…)
  • (Headphones via USB-C still not working)
  • Turn the “Disable USB audio routing” option OFF
  • Headphones now work.

Why does this workaround (turning the option on and off with a reboot in the middle) work? No idea; it’s clearly a bug somewhere.

Overall, this is pretty bad, given that Samsung knowingly removed the 3.5mm socket from many newer models but apparently have not succeeded in making its expensive branded replacement work reliably. But there you go.