Silicon Prairie News

Tools for the Trade: Prezi is an eye-catching, PowerPoint alternative

July 14, 2010 by John T. Meyer

When giving a presentation, lecture, or keynote the last thing you want to be is boring, or even just mediocre. Instead, you want to be the presentation everyone remembers, the presentation that causes people to take notes and come find you after you're done. Thankfully, we have Prezi so we can deliver the second kind of presentation.

Prezi is an online software tool that helps you create astonishing presentations that catch the audience's attention and help you effectively communicate your idea. Co-founders Adam Somlai-Fischer and Peter Halacsy started working on Prezi in 2007 and officially launched in April of 2009

Self-described as the "zooming presentation editor," Prezi allows the presenter to work with a seemingly endless canvas that can be zoomed both into and out of. Compared to the traditional Microsoft PowerPoint that is linear, constrained, and templated, Prezi creates presentations that are both open and free-flowing yet connected and logical. I've never used anything like it. The first time I saw a presentation created with Prezi I knew I had to use it.

There is around a 30 minute learning curve to using Prezi, but at the end of this time you'll be able to use every feature that Prezi offers and create nearly anything you're trying to make. The Prezi website is heavily training focused with tutorial videos, step by step lessons, and many successful Prezi examples. Compared to the endless buttons, options, and features of Microsoft Powerpoint, Prezi's simple tool wheel is a breath of fresh air.

Here is a great showcase of the Prezi features in Prezi format from co-founder Adam Somlai-Fischer.


Prezi is free for the essential features that any presenter would need (creating presentations online and downloading presentations to present offline). For $59 a year Prezi will allow you to make your presentations private and remove the Prezi watermark.

As I mentioned, since we first saw a presentation built on Prezi we've used nothing else. In fact, we built our presentation for AIM Institute's Infotec 2010 on Prezi.


If you're not quite sure how this whole thing works, check out this short video walkthrough on how to use Prezi.

Previous Post
Developer positions & Manager of Social Influence
Joe Moglia reflects on importance of communication & risk taking
Next Post



Dan Holke

Awesome reminder of how to think outside the box and be more creative with presentations. I first started using Prezi in May 2009 and the free version has been sufficient for my uses so far. I have even found value as a member of the LinkedIn group "Prezi for Professionals" so I recommend browsing the discussions there for good tips.

Jul 14, 2010 at 02:31 PM

Thanks for the comment Dan. Great to see another Prezi user out there. Good tip about the LinkedIn group. I'm not a member of that one, but I have found a lot of value from LinkedIn groups before so I will have to check it out.

Jul 14, 2010 at 06:17 PM

Great piece, John! We hope the step-by-step tutorial helps cut the learning curve for Prezi. If users still get stuck, they can always find help at Happy Zooming!

Jul 14, 2010 at 08:05 PM

This is the kind of innovations that I like to see in action. Prezi is very impressing compared with PowerPoint but I recently saw that PptPlex (from Office Labs) does something interesting too.

Jul 14, 2010 at 09:06 PM

Hi Angelie. Thanks so much for picking up on our SPN article and for your comment. Keep up the great work at Prezi.

Julian - I couldn't agree with you more. Great innovation in action thanks to Prezi. I'll have to see what's going on with PptPlex as well. Thanks for the comment.

Jul 15, 2010 at 01:19 AM

That was a cool prezi. I'm definitely a fan of the the program and very glad that they issue education licenses. I'm glad it's getting some attention. If you guys center align the text in your text boxes it will be centered on screen if you path to the text box.

Jul 16, 2010 at 09:39 AM

Thanks for watching our Prezi Craig. I agree, the the education licenses are very nice. Thanks for the tip as well. There are definitely some spots where we can clean up our Prezi. I'll get on it!

Jul 16, 2010 at 10:49 AM


The polls are open!

Through August 22, help us decide the winners of our inaugural Silicon Prairie Awards, which will recognize 12 companies and individuals. You can vote once per day per category.
Winners will be announced live on stage at
our August 30 event.