The ultimate guide to Prezi

28 Jul

Update: the Prezi itself, below, was updated in May 2013 with some more tips, examples, FAQs, and also to cover the new Prezi interface.

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages, so here we go: a complete guide to the presentation software Prezi, from what it is and why to use it right up to advanced techniques for making your presentation absolutely killer.

Works best on full-screen, as ever.

I created this for a workshop next week in the library, so I was going to launch it then – but Prezi themselves have started promoting it via their Facebook presence and on their Explore page. (You should really check out the Explore page, some of the Prezis on there are amazing!) So seeing as it’s gone global already, I’ve brought things forward.

I created a hand-out for the workshop, which features screen-grabs of the nuts-and-bolts instructions on how to use Prezi, plus this basic overview for those completely new to it:

The basics

The basic principle of Prezi is to put objects on the canvas and link them together with a ‘path’. Your presentation will then consist of Prezi moving from object to object, zooming in on them in the order you’ve chosen.

Objects can be text boxes, images, youtube videos or graphics. You can write and structure your presentation exactly as you would a PowerPoint, or you can do something completely different.

Just click on the canvas anywhere to start adding stuff.

A typical process of creating a Prezi might consist of these stages:

  1. Plan the structure and outline of the presentation
  2. Add the text, plus any images / videos etc
  3. Move them around and arrange them in a coherent order on the canvas
  4. Plot the path between them in the order you want to use
  5. Click ‘Show’ and watch the presentation back, then refine it if you need to

If you found this guide useful, I’ve written a bunch of others to various things like twitter, blogging platforms, netvibes and so on – they can all be accessed here.

Happy presenting!

- thewikiman

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  • Lisa Jeskins July 28, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    RT @therealwikiman: Okay, here it is… The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi! #prezi #FTW

  • Copac library cat'lg July 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    'How to' with Prezi. RT @therealwikiman: Okay, here it is… The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi! #prezi #FTW

  • Aaron Tay July 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi! by by @theREALwikiman #prezi #FTW

  • Aaron Tay July 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    RT @janholmquist: The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi! by by @theREALwikiman #prezi #FTW

  • John Kennerly (@jkennerly) July 28, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Presenters, great resource! RT @theREALwikiman Okay, here it is… The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi!

  • Heather Marshall July 28, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Thank you – this is great and so useful.

  • Bobbi Newman July 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Finally! @theREALwikiman shares his secrets for making those awesome Prezis! -> The how to make a great Prezi, Prezi!

  • TheWikiman & Prezi – Library Central July 28, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    [...] His recent blog on how to make a great Prezi presentation [...]

  • Ashley Creek July 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Thank you so much for creating this! I’ve been experimenting with different presentation tools for the upcoming semester, and your explanation and demonstration of how to create Prezis is the first that has actually clicked for me. Now to get to work on a library tour Prezi so I won’t have as many second semester freshmen sounding amazed when they discover the library has a second floor.

  • Deborah Cairns July 31, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    Hi, I was really impressed with Prezi when I first saw the link on your blog a few weeks ago, this one also is amazing and informative and so I was inspired to make one myself, I would be really grateful if you would take a look and make suggestions/comments, would you mind?

  • thewikiman August 1, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Hey Ashley, no problem, glad it was useful! I’m thinking of using Prezi for induction purposes too…

  • thewikiman August 1, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Hey Deborah, thanks for the kind words!

    I’m really glad it inspired you to make your own – I think it’s excellent. I like the way you’ve used a picture for the back-drop of the entire thing – makes it more interesting visually than just having a blank white or coloured background. As far as suggestions go, my personal preferences for Prezis are that they don’t move around quite so dramatically. I like the flip over for the very final section (the ‘Contact Us’ bit ) but otherwise, if it were me, I’d work the previous sections from left-to-right along one or two of the shelves that form your backdrop. That way there’s less danger of the viewer getting motion-sick, and it’ll have a more coherent feel. But plenty of people do things they way you have there so feel free to disregard my opinion! :)

  • Chris Keene August 1, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    I haven’t used prezi for a few years so your ‘whats new’ was v useful.
    Having watched quite a few i think one of the biggest ‘pros’ it has is that it gives each bit of information context: you can clearly see relationships between ‘slides’. For example zooming in implies you are going in to more detail about the previous ‘slide’, the same size geographically near suggests a sibling slide with more information.

    In powerpoint much of this is lost. Is this slide an alternative point to the previous one? a whole new area, or more information on the same.

    Plus using powerpoint is just hell. :)


  • thewikiman August 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Yes that’s a very good point – articulates properly something I’ve thought about (but not articulated properly..).

    I have to say I still like PowerPoint – there are great PPTs and rubbsh ones, as is the case with Prezis… Different occasions call for different tools, and all that.

  • [...] Prezi For The Win? Ten Top Tips To Make a Good One 29 Jul Update, August 2011: a new, updated guide to Prezi, actually in Prezi itself, is available elsewhere on the blog. [...]

  • thewikiman August 1, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Thanks Heather!

  • tixylix August 11, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    hurrah – thanks very much for this. It’s a good kick up the bum to actually do a Prezi for some library sessions next semester.

  • thewikiman August 12, 2011 at 10:03 AM


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  • [...] introduction to Prezi is very helpful. For me, it also shows to use as many pictures and as few text as [...]

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  • Ned Potter October 17, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    @lawvaughan Thank you! Try this Prezi guide I made actually in Prezi, too:

  • Ned Potter October 18, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    @edjalberts But my Prezi guide is here if you're interested:

  • [...] So overall, this approach worked well for everyone. For my other subject (Theatre, Film and Television) I’m planning to use an expanded Prezi for teaching purposes too. I don’t think the scope of this is limited to Academic Libraries, either; you could easily embed a virtual Prezi map on a public library website, to help people use it better, too. If you’re wondering about creating your own, here’s a link to the Prezi guide. [...]

  • [...] he did all the hard work on the Echo Chamber prezi – and you should totally check out his user guide and examples of his work if you want to learn more about how to make good prezis. I can see the [...]

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  • Laura February 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    This is excellent – do you have a pdf version of your hand-out to go with this?

  • thewikiman February 21, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Hi Laura, I’m afraid I don’t anymore – although it was very simple, so you could basically make your own by copying and pasting the text above into a word doc! :-)

  • Laura February 21, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    OK – thanks anyway :D – am delivering Prezi ‘training’ to teachers at a FE college this week and will show them this Prezi with all its really good points (managed to make myself feel sick when learning it last week!!). Have also shared it via my Facebook page :)

  • Ned Potter April 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    @PatHadley I am part of the Prezi Pioneer scheme, sir! Prezi promote my guide to Prezi! ( So yeah, love it.

  • gnom May 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    how can I add a wiki link to prezi or a prezi link to wiki?

  • thewikiman May 21, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Links work in the same way regardless of what they are to (except YouTube, which inserts seperately) – so that applies to wikis.

    If you type a URL into Prezi, then copy and paste the text box, the pasted version will be hyperlinked. I don’t know why this is, but for the moment – if you want your links clickable – that’s what you have to do.

  • [...] my Ultimate Pezi Guide is here, and all sorts of related materials are available [...]

  • Becca August 23, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Question: if I upload a file I created in google docs drawing tool, can I create a prezi path that moves around to different parts of the google drawing? Or do I have to recreate all of the individual shapes, etc? (it’s kind of like a flow chart diagram)? Thanks

  • thewikiman August 28, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Yes you can, very much so, Just stretch the image so it’s a decent size, then create hidden frames over each point you want to focus in on. Then direct the path from one hidden frame to another. I do this a lot.

  • [...]  The ultimate guide to Prezi. Ned |Potter [...]

  • [...] way; then you can apply your experience to the templates. There are also lots of great examples and tutorials on line that you can view and can legitimately plagiarise in many [...]

  • cassidy January 29, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I loved this tuturiol on how to use Prezi;)

  • [...] The Ultimate Guide to Prezi [...]

  • [...] lot has happened since I wrote this post, complete with a Prezi guide created in Prezi itself, in July 2011. I’ve been the Technical [...]

  • Estelle Burns June 2, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Really useful, thanks

  • Shannon W (@scwink) August 31, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    The sheer mass of grammar mistakes, missing words, spelling errors, and syntax errors make this Prezi virtually impossible to take seriously. You should really have someone copy edit your work.

  • thewikiman September 2, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Thanks for your good humoured comment there, Shannon. Normally I’d agree with you, but if anything this Prezi is a study in just how seriously something CAN be taken despite grammatical, syntactical and orthographical errors. It has been seen by over 130,000 people, it’s been shared all over the net, Prezi themselves have promoted it as an essential guide and it has resulted in not one but two approaches from publishers asking me to write books about Prezi. So really, sometimes you can be useful even without aiming for perfection.

    As for getting someone to copy edit my work – I make a lot of Prezis, I’d have to employ a PA if I wanted someone to copy-edit all of them, and generally speaking, it’s very rare for librarians to have PAs. :)

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