Prezi: Shaking Off the PowerPoint Death Grip

I have a confession to make: I have never learned how to use PowerPoint. When I started giving presentations a number of years ago, I opted to buy my own MacBook and learn Keynote, Apple’s answer to PowerPoint, instead. With Keynote I could save files to .ppt or .pdf versions as necessary, but the real power is seeing a presentation in Keynote itself. I find it easier to use than PowerPoint, with a nicer end result. It has served me quite well until now.

Enter Prezi. Prezi is a very different type of presentation software. To begin with, it is based “in the cloud” (on the Internet, something we have explored to some extent here on Slaw). The real difference, though, is that it is not at all linear. It is more like a mind map, allowing one to group ideas together, and explore a number of ideas springing from each idea or concept. For presentation purposes, one can either create a “path” through the content and run through it in a somewhat linear fashion, or move around and zoom in and out to jump to ideas that are not in the linear path. It is verging on 3-D presentation software. It also allows for a fair bit of creativity.

Now, this is probably not something you will use in most business presentations. But it certainly livens up a talk, and is about as far from the dull reading-bullet-points-from-the-screen as you can get. On Friday, for example, I had the privilege of speaking at COLAL, the Conference of Ontario Law Associations’ Libraries, organized by LibraryCo. I decided to take a chance and try out Prezi for the first time. My very first effort is below, and I was quite pleased with the results.

To view, I suggest clicking on the bar at the bottom until you see “more” on the bottom right, click on “more” and select “full screen”. Then you can either page through clicking on the forward arrow, or click on “more” again and select “autoplay” to take you through the path I took in my presentation. Unfortunately there is no sound here, so you do not get my full commentary, but you’ll get the idea I’m sure. Once you have tried it, you too can move around the screen and zoom in and out to see other content I have included.


  1. Connie,

    That’s awesome! I was wowed, and I imagine it would take some time to get used to the look, feel and how motion works in prezi. How long did it take for you to prepare this presentation? I ask since that was a LOT of slides!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Ellen Naylor

  2. Thanks for sharing this Connie. It’s definitely an interesting approach to delivering a presentation. I like your analogy to mind maps something you can really see if you zoom out and take a look at the ‘prezi’ all at once as a whole. And thanks for including the KF Modified Blog in your list of blogs! :-)

  3. @Ellen – Thank you for the kind words!

    It’s a bit difficult to judge how long it took. I spent one or two evenings watching the Prezi “how to” videos to get myself up to speed on how the software works. Then it took me about 6 hours to pull the content together. HOWEVER I had already worked out with separate mind map software what content I wanted, so in some ways had laid the basic structure out. And you will see that a number of the images are slides I pulled together and adapted from past presentations. Many Countless hours went into creating those in the first place. And then of course there was practicing with the software.

    Overall, I would say I invested less time than I expected, and my time spent was comparable to creating the presentation in Keynote (or PowerPoint).

    @Tim I told them the KF Modified blog is a must-read for Canadian law library folk who are using the KF Modified classification system in their libraries. :)