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6 features that make Prezi more approachable

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 6.45.21 PMThe online presentation software Prezi has been available since 2008, but it has not had the same popularity among students and faculty members as PowerPoint has. With its zooming paths and flashy layouts, Prezi can be misinterpreted as difficult to use. However, Prezi has a variety of features that make it an approachable tool to create more visually dynamic presentations. Here are a few that may ease the experience for you:

Features you may not know about

  • Importing PowerPoint slides – Prezi allows you to import PowerPoint slides into a presentation. When you insert a PowerPoint into Prezi, you can import the slides into a layout and adjust the movement from slide to slide (now frame to frame) the same way you’d build any Prezi presentation. This is a feature perfect for people more comfortable with PowerPoint: you can write the information in the simple PowerPoint program and then use Prezi to make the presentation more visually interesting. You can learn more about importing PowerPoint into Prezi here.
  • Presenter view – Much like presenter view on PowerPoint, Prezi offers a way to help presenters during in-person presentations. While the audience will only see the presentation interface and its movement from frame to frame, presenter view includes a timer and a clock as two ways to keep you on time. It also allows you to see which frames are coming next, so you can keep your presentation on track.
  • Embedding video – Like with PowerPoint, you can embed a video, either from a personal file or from YouTube, into your Prezi presentation. Unlike on other platforms, videos in Prezi will start immediately when you move to that frame and will stop when you move on to the next frame. You can learn more about embedding videos into Prezi here.
  • Adding sound and narrationAnyone who has experience adding voice narration to a PowerPoint will easily adjust to Prezi’s audio features. You can record audio in another program and then add sound to a Prezi. One way to add sound is through a background track, which will play continuously through a presentation (like a screencast). You can also add sound frame-by-frame (the Prezi equivalent to a slide), which will play only on designated frames. This could be an interesting way to make self-paced, multimedia presentations for your students to watch before class. (Did someone say flipped instruction?) You can learn more about adding sound to your presentation here.
  • Better collaboration – Prezi provides a number of ways to effectively present as a group. Much like any collaborative writing application, multiple users (up to 10 on Prezi) can work on the same presentation at once. The collaboration sidebar will show you who is working on the presentation. You can even use Prezi for remote presentations and pass the voice controls from person to person with the “hand over presentation” feature, similar to Adobe Connect.
  • Prezi for iPhone & iPad – You can now download the Prezi application onto your iPad or iPhone. You can view your presentations, make adjustments or show others your progress. Since Prezi presentations are always synced in the Prezi cloud, you will always have an updated version of your presentations. The Prezi app is free through the App Store.

MORE: Do students prefer Prezi or PowerPoint? They see advantages for both.

Learn More

If you need a refresher on how Prezi works, you can go to the Prezi Support page to learn the basics and the newer features. Also, Lynda.com provides in depth trainings on the ins and outs of Prezi: Up and Running with Prezi. Elon students, faculty and staff can use an Elon e-mail and password to log in.

Casey Brown

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is the Writing Intern for Technology with Elon University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Department.

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