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Prezi early review: Will change your view about presentations

Ali Kuru in apple, microsoft, prezi, review, Web

Prezi is a new Flash based online presentation tool from Zui Labs, which lets you create extra ordinary “zooming” presentations.

With traditional presentation tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote, you have to work slide by slide to create your presentation. With Prezi you have only one slide to work with! But rather than thinking your working space as a “slide” in Prezi, you should think it as a big (actually limitless) scientific poster.

Prezi navigational menuI know, you probably started thinking that “How is a gigantic scientific poster is more interesting than a ordinary scientific poster?”. I totally agree, scientific posters are usually boring if not horrible, but this is not the case for Prezi. With Prezi, your scientific poster becomes a magical space where you can zoom in and out as you want to focus a piece of information on it, and where you can organize the transitions between these information holders to create the flow of your presentation. Also, because your presentation has the feeling of deepness, thank to ability of zooming in and out, you can even create presentation that feels like they are three dimensional. Please click on the image above or check the video below to see a living example.

Prezi lets you control everything either with the menu at the top left corner of your screen, which consists of a bunch of hierarchically connected circles in different sizes, or with keyboard shortcuts (i.e. pressing “b” chooses square frame, and CTRL+Z undoes your last action) while editing.

Prezi navigational menuWhen you click on the “Place” circle in the menu (or simply press “p”) and click on an object on your presentation, a circular zebra pattern appears on top of your object, which helps you to move, rotate or resize the object with your mouse. Again, please check the video below for the usage.

While presenting, you can control jumps between zooming sections via menu at the right bottom of the screen or use your keyboard. You can also reach a timing menu if you click and hold the right arrow on the navigation menu, where you can choose between 2, 10 and 20 second intervals.

Prezi definitely has a learning curve for a PowerPoint or a Keynote user, but it is not steep one. It feels like the user interface cleverly designed with simplicity in mind, and when you get used to its controls and the concept itself, it literally frees you in space :) Prezi supports the special characters of your alphabet, or at least the ones we use in Turkish. Don’t sure if it supports languages like traditional Chinese or Russian.

Presentations you’ve created with Prezi are also ultimately portable. You can download and run your presentation as a flash projector executable on any computer running Windows or OSX, even presence of flash on that computer is not necessary!

Prezi is currently in private beta status (invite only), and maybe because of this, it is lacking some crucial features like Microsoft Excel support and copy-paste. Themes are limited in quantity and you can’t tweak the designs. Also, currently you can only use flv videos, according to FAQ. I wish they offer a stock image library like Slide Rocket, and I’d like to see importing of .swf files (which will let me use the charts I created with Swiff Chart) (my mistake, it is possible).

I’m using Prezi not for a long time, but liked it a lot. I have tried other online presentation tools, including Google Docs, Zoho and Slide Rocket. Prezi is far more creative and innovative than any other tool I’ve used, and I’m sure they’ll change everyone’s mind about other presentation tools when they decide to open their doors to the masses.

I strongly suggest you to get your email enlisted for an invitation, here.

PhD in Microbiology, head of digital at Kapital Media. Interested in geekery, gadgets and ever-evolving web.

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