Prezi initially debuted as the PowerPoint antithesis, though it has grown in recent years to include tools for making not only presentations but also talking-head videos, infographics, social media posts, and more. This presentation software was meant to right the wrongs of typical corporate slideshows. Instead of sequential slides, it gives you a canvas to lay out ideas and information in nonlinear fashion. Instead of hokey transitions, Prezi zooms in and out on your canvas with a virtual camera. Its new tools for video and media creation are a boon to organizations and teams that don’t have dedicated designers, making it easy to produce professional results—if you stick with Prezi’s templates. It hasn’t quite kept pace with other online collaboration tools in ease of use and efficiency, but Prezi is worthy of a PCMag Editors’ Choice designation and a great alternative if you’re not a fan of traditional slide decks.
How Much Does Prezi Cost?
All told, Prezi sells 11 different tiers of service, ranging from $3–$59 per person per month. All the plans are billed annually, though, so it’s really $36–$708 per year. If you’re just buying a license for yourself and not a whole team, you can expect to pay $3–$7 per month, or more accurately, $36–$84 per year.
The app known simply as Prezi really has three pieces:
Prezi Present for creating and sharing presentations;
Prezi Video, which allows you to record yourself speaking and presenting; and
Prezi Design for making charts, reports, maps, and infographics.
The free tier of service comes up short in many ways. In the Video app, you don’t get presenter notes. In the Present and Design apps, there are no privacy controls, so all the content you make is available for others to find within Prezi. Everything you make in the Design and Video apps gets watermarked. You can’t use the desktop app for Prezi Present, and you can’t download or export any final work. In short, a free account won’t get you far. Educators and students with validated .edu email addresses get one or two more features in their free version, but not much.
How Do Prezi’s Prices Compare?
Compared with similar apps, Prezi’s prices are quite reasonable, though it’s hard to gauge the competitiveness exactly, because no other presentation app is quite like Prezi.
A few presentation apps are completely free, including Google Slides (as long as you have a Google account), and Apple Keynote (if you’ve purchased an Apple device). Keynote is quite capable. Google Slides doesn’t have as many features as most competitors, but depending on your needs, it could be a practical choice.
Powtoon, an app for creating animated video presentations, has a free version that’s quite limited and paid plans that cost between $19 and $89 per month. On average, Powtoon costs a heck of a lot more than Prezi.
Another presentation app, Visme, has a limited free plan and paid plans from $15–$29 per month.
Depending on how you use Prezi, you might consider Miro a competitor. It costs about $10-$16 per person per month. Miro is a collaborative whiteboard app that includes features for turning your whiteboard into a presentation, which Prezi does, too.
What’s New in Prezi?
As mentioned, Prezi now includes three distinct pieces: Prezi Present, Prezi Video, and Prezi Design.
Prezi Present is the component that has been the foundation of Prezi since the beginning. It’s a whiteboard where you create visuals to present to others, as an alternative to slide decks. When you present the whiteboard, you zoom in and out on different parts of it to show what you want in whatever order you want.
Prezi Video lets you use the camera on your device to record a video of yourself talking, overlaid with graphics and text. After you set up all the graphics and text, you record the video or present yourself via video live.
Prezi Design gives you templates and tools for creating charts, graphs, infographics, maps, social media posts, and other visual materials. You don’t have to have much design know-how to use Prezi Design, much less Prezi Present or Prezi Video.
A Word on Prezi Classic
In 2017, Prezi overhauled its app to such a degree that it began referring to the earlier version of the app as Prezi Classic and the new one as Prezi Next. It’s helpful to know this history in case you encounter those names. If you created an account before April 2017, you have access to both the current version of Prezi as well as Prezi Classic. Newer accounts do not have Prezi Classic.
Prezi Classic offers some advantages over the current version. The original gives you a lot more control over the creation of your presentations, for example. That said, it takes a little more skill to use well. The newer version of Prezi is easier to learn to use, but it gives you less control over the fine details of your presentation.
Scout around for Prezi Classic user forums and you will certainly encounter some grumbling about how the free version of Prezi is no longer as generous as it used to be.
Getting Started With Prezi
Prezi works right in the browser, though there are desktop apps for Prezi Present and Prezi Video for macOS and Windows, too. The desktop apps work only for Prezi Next Plus accounts or higher licenses. Note that the Prezi Present desktop app is called Prezi Next when you install it. There are also Android and iOS apps, called Prezi Viewer, that let you access presentations you’ve made—for viewing, practicing, and presenting them, but not for creating or editing them.
In addition to being a creation tool, Prezi offers storage; You save and organize your work right in the app.
All three pieces—Present, Video, and Design—put ease of use and simplicity front and center. Templates are plentiful and set you up for success, and they’re a large part of what makes Prezi shine. Having a large gallery of beautiful templates is a growing trend across media-creation tools. You can see it in the likes of Lucidchart, Canva, SquareSpace, and other apps. Clearly there’s a need to help non-artistic people make professional-looking materials quickly.
The tools you get for creating and editing files are limited in a way that prevents you from steering too far off course and making something ugly. If you like a lot of control over the finest of details, then Prezi is not for you. If you are handy with design, then stick with more traditional media creation tools, like PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, and others that require more know-how.
Whether you find Prezi challenging or easy to use may depend on how much experience you have with basic multimedia software. If you can master TikTok and Instagram, Prezi isn’t a stretch. If making graphics and videos is new to you, however, you’d do well to watch a few video tutorials from Prezi that teach you not only how to use the app but also how to make high-quality content. In fact, the app shows short Getting Started videos when you click to make your first presentation.
In Prezi Present, you make a presentation by starting with a blank canvas, a template, or an imported slide deck, which gets converted into Prezi’s format. Templates have themes, covering General, Sales & Business Development, Marketing, Education & Nonprofit, and HR & Training. In addition to viewing templates by theme, you can also filter templates by their main color.
Because templates are quite specific, the idea is to replace the sample text and images as you see fit, while sticking to what it’s guiding you to provide. For example, in a template for an investor pitch, the template’s sample text includes The Opportunity, The Market, Our Solution, and Business Model. You’re meant to provide and elaborate on those topics. It’s a template not just in color theme and styling, but content, too. You can move elements around the page and change their order if you like, just as you would in any other presentation app.
Starting from a blank canvas in Prezi Present is not all that different from using a template, except that you get generic placeholders instead of highly specific sample text and images. If you use Prezi Classic, a blank canvas is in fact a completely blank canvas.
The magic sauce in Prezi Present is the animated path you take across and through the canvas. In Prezi Classic, it helps to get all the parts of your presentation onto the canvas first and save making the path until last. You can choose a predefined path or create your own.
Prezi has simplified many of its tools to make it easy for anyone to create presentations, but this can create as many frustrations as it solves, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Something as mundane as resizing text can be a pain. You can make the text field larger or smaller by dragging one of the text box corners to resize it, or you can tap a plus sign on a font button. But you never see the point size as a number. This means you can’t select all your text boxes and set the point size to be the same across them. Likewise, when you move and resize objects, guidelines appear that help you align and center the elements, but you don’t get a full suite of tools for aligning, spacing, and centering, like you do in traditional presentation apps. Prezi makes it tough to be a stickler for precision.
These same problems are repeated in Prezi Video and Prezi Design, too.
Creating content with Prezi Video is as simple as using Prezi Present. Templates here consist of stylized text and images that get overlaid onto video that you shoot of yourself speaking. Alternatively, you can present in real time via video and overlay your effects.
Let’s say you want to record a video that explains the onboarding process for new hires to your organization. First, you would create all the overlays that you want to appear in the video, such as company policies or a summary of the benefits plan. When you finish making your text and images, you rehearse the presentation by turning on your computer’s camera and watching your own talking head with the overlays. Finally, you record it or save your work and present it live via a video conferencing or live-streaming tool.
For live videos, Prezi works with Zoom, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Facebook, YouTube, and a few others. It’s not limited to Prezi Video either. You can present anything you make with Prezi through these services.
Just as with Prezi Present and Prezi Video, Prezi Design gives you a host of templates that you choose from to make graphics. These include infographics, reports, charts, maps, social media posts, email headers, YouTube thumbnail images, and more. Many of the designs contain animation, so they aren’t all flat images. Included among the templates are even classic slide decks, should you choose to go that route.
If you start in Prezi Design and realize you want to use what you’re making in a video, you can easily pull the assets into a Prezi Video piece.
One of the many helpful elements in Prezi Design is the Size tool, which lets you set the canvas size for the graphic you’re creating. Among its options are presets such as Instagram post, LinkedIn post, and Pinterest post, so you never have to know the dimensions for popular social media apps. Prezi takes care of that for you.
Prezi gives you a few ways to share presentations. You can send people a link to your final work so they can view it. You can give individuals the right to present your final work. And you can grant permission to people to edit your works in progress alongside you.
When co-authoring or co-editing a presentation, the initials of every active participant appear on-screen. Their initials also appear on the slide that they’re viewing or editing. It’s not unlike Google Slides or PowerPoint’s Share mode in that regard.
The main difference between collaborating in Prezi versus Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint is that Prezi doesn’t have a chat box. If you and your collaborators are working on a presentation at the same time, you can’t have a real-time, in-app conversation about it. You would need to pick up another app or the phone to discuss what you’re doing. Prezi does have a commenting tool, but it’s limited to Business grade accounts.
A neat feature not found in Prezi but seen in Miro (which is something of a competitor) is the ability to jump to where one of your collaborators is working or pull all collaborators to you. In Prezi, because content is non-linear and often nested, it’s easy to lose sight of your collaborators while they’re working. We like Miro’s solution to click on any collaborator and immediately get whisked to their location on the board.
Prezi certainly has room for improvement in the collaboration department, though the tools that are available work well enough to at least enable multiple people to edit a file at once.
There’s Nothing Quite Like Prezi
Don’t view Prezi as a replacement for PowerPoint or Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, but rather as an alternative for people who don’t have the design skills or bandwidth to master those tools. If your organization or team can’t hire a designer, Prezi offers a decent substitute. Though, really, there is no substitute for a skilled designer. Wading through Prezi’s long list of plans is a drag. Simplifying the options would be a good service for Prezi’s potential customers. Still, the app is well worth wading through the plans and pricing.
You can’t directly compare Prezi with PowerPoint, Keynote, or other traditional presentation software, because Prezi offers something different from a slide deck. It frees you from the sequential slideshow format, and that has the potential to create a more intimate and personalized experience for people to whom you present your work. You don’t have to tab through slides but instead can bring the focus where you want with greater fluidity. Prezi’s Video and Design pieces extend Prezi to better serve the needs of video conferencing as well as other kinds of media creation. For all those reasons, it’s a PCMag Editors’ Choice winner.
The Bottom Line
Prezi frees your presentations from the sequential slide-deck format. It allows non-artistic people to easily make interactive presentations, talking head videos, and standalone graphics.
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