An ode to Prezi

It started as a casual flirtation.

I was perfectly content with my presentation software at the time, and while Prezi was new and stylish and slick, and I gave it admiring glances in passing, I saw no reason at the time to break up with good old fashioned Microsoft Powerpoint.

But a few years and several conferences down the line, the tedious, endless, same old, same old presentations became a little too much. While Powerpoint remains a useful way of organising my holiday photos, if I was going to wake anyone up with my conference presentation, I needed something new. I recalled the smouldering glances we’d exchanged a few years before, and I went to check Prezi out again.

A brief five minute hello turned into a late night spent together. At last! A presentation tool that understood me. At last! A software that allowed me to build pictures from words. One thing lead to another, and next thing I knew I was handing over credit card details and installing him onto my desktop. Oh yes, there’s a new software in my life, and I’m not afraid to shout about it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce…

Basically, what Prezi does is give you a huge whiteboard to play with on your screen. You fill it with text, images, links, video, whatever your heart desires. You can change fonts, colours, even edit the CSS if you’re that way inclined. It works with headings, subheadings, and body, frames, shapes, arrows.

Then, the magical part.

Once you’ve played to your heart’s content, you set a “path”, and Prezi zooms. Yes. It zooms. In. Out. All about. We like zooming. What this means is that you can see the big picture and the detail, you can hide things and then zoom in at the last minute. Or, if you’re like me, and you care, you can make a presentation about moving forward that actually looks like a car. No really. It does.

Still not sure what I mean by the zooming thing? Here’s what Prezi has to say, or rather show, about perspective.

So, why make the big commitment?

You too can flirt with Prezi online. He’s not exclusive, and you can get 100MB of his lovin’ free, to do with what you will. But, when you’re hooked, you’ll want to download. Prezi has been on my desktop barely a month, but is open nearly as often as notepad.

Not only can you design and play with Prezis all night long, but you can PDF them when you’re done with them, you can upload them once they’re complete, or, again like me, you can persuade/force your colleagues to get Prezi too and then email them the files.

Taking it to the next level

Don’t do a lot of presentations, thinking perhaps this isn’t the software for you? You couldn’t be more wrong. You see, Prezi is as versatile as Justin Timberlake. It’s the perfect brainstorming tool, whether you’re working alone or with other geniuses. Write things down as they occur to you, then move them around til they fit together nicely. It’s a visual and a verbal tool, and it’s tangible – you can see things being built in front of your eyes.

Or, as @ybardien commented at the end of one meeting, “I feel like we’ve actually achieved something”. And if you’re not in the same place, no problemo – simply start an online Prezi, share the link, and have your meeting in cyberspace.

What more can I say?

Not sold yet? Allow me to wax even more lyrical. Prezi is intuitive. Although the functionality is like nothing you’ve ever seen before – Prezi’s circles make Google+ look so last week – you’ll figure it out fast. You’ll start to think like Prezi. Yes, it’s one of those relationships. Every possible excuse, you’ll be clicking on Prezi, and showing him off to your friends, colleagues, parents… Even my dad was impressed.

Seriously, no downside?

Alright, I’ll confess. There are three things that irk me about Prezi. But considering I usually fall for the most flawed of badboy software, a few minor quirks are hardly worth complaining about. Still. Prezi, if you’re listening: please give me the capacity to open more than one Prezi at a time? When I’m saving to pdf, don’t make me have to write .pdf after the filename. Lastly, I’d very much like to be able to copy elements from one Prezi across to another. Make it so.

Right, now that I’ve spent far too long working in a medium where I can’t tilt my words willy nilly, or shrink the ones I don’t like, I need to go and do some more Prezis. I mean work.



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