Prezi vs PowerPoint: Which is Right For You?

prezi vs powerpointComparing Prezi to PowerPoint is kind of like comparing apples to oranges: they both come from the same family, it’s simply up to personal preference. There are pros and cons to each, so whether you’re preparing an important business presentation or you’re working on a school project, it’s important to know the differences between the two programs. After all, the way you present your presentation is almost as important as the actual content! Prezi vs PowerPoint? It’s up to you to decide.

If you’re interested in dipping your toes into both programs before deciding which one is best for you, Udemy has a handful of great courses that will teach you everything you need to know about both programs (including PowerPoint tips and tricks that you may not have even known existed)!

PowerPoint

PowerPoint is known by all to be the standard ‘go-to’ software when making presentations. It is simple to learn and doesn’t come with many bells and whistles. It has been around for many years and is compatible with most platforms (you can even get a version of Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac). It’s extremely useful if you want to create a simple, professional presentation with a linear storyline. The presentation begins at one point, advances through a series of slides and then ends on a concluding point.

Pros

  • It is extremely user friendly. Chances are you had plenty of practice with Microsoft PowerPoint throughout your years of school.
  • It comes with pre-made slide layouts that allow you to easily change the colors, fonts, and backgrounds used in each slide.
  • You can add interesting slide transitions to make your presentation more fun (although overusing them is not recommended).
  • You can print handouts of all of your slides. This is especially helpful in classroom situations where you want everyone to be able to take notes and follow along easily.
  • You can seamlessly insert hyperlinks into a slide that can be clicked on to open up webpages.

Cons

  • You actually have to buy the software! This is sometimes forgotten due to the fact that it is found on most business and school computers, but if you want it on your home computer you’ll have to purchase Microsoft Office.
  • The graphics leave much to be desired. All too often PowerPoint is associated with outdated graphics and cheesy clipart. While you can certainly make PowerPoint presentations look a bit more modern, many of the pre-made slide layouts have been seen too many times.
  • The linear slide format makes it difficult to go back to a specific slide during a presentation without fumbling around on your computer and seeming unprepared. While some may prefer the easy to follow linear format, others may want to jump around during their speech.
  • Images can only be inserted horizontally or vertically – you don’t have a lot of creative license when inserting photographs.

Prezi

Prezi is often seen as the bells and whistles version of PowerPoint, although the interface is completely different. It is a Flash-based program that begins with one blank canvas instead of a handful of blank slides. This means that presentations made through Prezi are non-linear, which is good for people who like to jump around to different ideas a lot throughout their presentation.

Pros

  • The zoom function. Prezi opens up as a large canvas filled with all of your information in a creative and unique way. When you want to speak about a particular topic, you simply zoom in on the part of your canvas that is filled with that information. You can then zoom out and zoom into another part of the canvas. Instead of fumbling around trying to find a particular slide, you can smoothly and easily navigate your presentation. When you zoom in, you can pan around that particular area to show more details.
  • It is free and web-based, which means you can work from any computer with Flash and an internet connection. You don’t need to download any programs onto your computer and you don’t need to carry around an external hard drive or flash drive in order to present.
  • Images can be inserted horizontally, vertically, or at any angle you can imagine.
  • You can easily insert photos, videos and audio.
  • Since they are web-based, Prezi presentations can easily be embedded into blogs and webpages.
  • You can design pages to make them look as though they are a magazine or newspaper article.

Cons

  • The interface of Prezi can seem overwhelming when you first begin using it. While PowerPoint is a widely known program, Prezi is not usually taught in schools. You’ll have to learn an entire new program before you can begin making presentations.
  • A lot of people have complained about developing headaches or getting dizzy because of all of the animation and zooming that is used within Prezi.
  • You can’t print out slides (since there are no slides), so your audience won’t be able to have a copy of your presentation for reference or note-taking.
  • In order to use Prezi offline, you will have to purchase the program – which is most costly than Microsoft Office.
  • The pre-made templates cannot be edited. As opposed to PowerPoint, you cannot change the color schemes or font used within the template.
  • All of the animation used within Prezi can actually distract your audience from the actual content of the presentation.
  • It can be a bit gimmicky and unprofessional.
  • It hasn’t been around as long as PowerPoint has, so some features still need a bit of tweaking to make them more user-friendly.

So Which is Best?

The answer to this question it truly up to your own discretion. While so many people consider PowerPoint to be an out-of-date software, it is mainly because they associate it with elementary school classrooms and simple, cheesy animations. The reality is that you can do so much more with PowerPoint that most people don’t realize. The simple slide themes can be tweaked to look more sleek and modern, while the linear progression of the presentation makes it simple for viewers to follow.

Prezi is great for those that want to break out of the boring PowerPoint rut. It offers a fresh new take on the traditional presentation, and can be a great way to keep viewers engaged. Haven’t you ever dozed off during a lecture where the professor was going through PowerPoint slides, reading directly off the slide in a monotone voice? While Prezi presentations can keep viewers engaged, they can also make them dizzy and distract them from the content of your presentation.

The Best Uses for Each

In short, PowerPoint presentations are best for a simple business presentation that includes graphs and charts and a lot of text. People come to the presentation for the information, not the flashy effects.

Prezi presentations may be best when presenting to children or a classroom full of students. Children are easily distracted, and slide after slide of a PowerPoint presentation can cause them to lose focus. Prezi offers unique visuals and interesting transitions that can keep children interested in what you are saying.

Although there are places where each may be more effective, it’s important to remember that your presentation does not depend on the program used, but how the program is used. You could create the flashiest Prezi in the world and not get any information across, but you could create a simple PowerPoint full of mind-bending information that people won’t soon forget. It’s all about the way you develop your presentation through a mixture of visuals and information.

Are you ready to make an informative, engaging presentation? Regardless of which program you decide is best for you, you can learn the ins and outs of effective presentations through a helpful course from Udemy.