Folks have asked me how I made this Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young infographic on Prezi so I wrote a beginner’s guide.
Firstly, a word of warning: Prezi can put people off. For every great presentation, there are ten nausea-inducing, pointless whirlwind tours through something that should have been on PowerPoint. So plan it well and make sure it is actually what you want.
Prezi is a storytelling tool that works like a big canvas with zoom points that you navigate, usually by clicking through a predetermined path. Here are some great Prezis for inspiration.
Prezi is an involved piece of technology and it’s easy to get bogged down so I suggest you have at least a rough outline of your presentation before you even open the program. This will stop you from getting halfway through and realizing your map is out of kilter and your path is all wrong. It also means you won’t be breaking the flow, running off to find a photo or a link you’ve misplaced.
If what you’re doing is complicated, storyboard or write it out first so you know how your Prezi will progress.
Choose a theme
Prezi has a stack of built-in themes that are really pretty. I strongly recommend you start with (or at least practice with) one of these before starting afresh.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, stick to the fonts, colors and shapes it uses or you’ll make your reader dizzy.
Finding your way
This is the main screen, where you create your Prezi. The zoom tools are on the right but you need to hover over the main space for them to appear. Let’s break it down into sections.
On the left side, you’ll see the navigation page. Before you edit anything, hit the present button to see how your Prezi will look and move around.
Each of the squares along the left side is a movement point but you can think of them like slides in a PowerPoint presentation. Click on them to navigate to that frame in the main screen.
Pre-built Prezi themes will have a selection of these slides already. Click edit path if you want to change the order (drag them up or down) or delete some (hover over the square, then hit the x at the top right of the square).
Save, save, save. It’s a web-based application. You don’t want to lose your work.
Click in the left navigation to go to the slide you want to edit.
Click on the elements to edit, move or resize them.
Edit the text by clicking on it. You will have a choice of three preset themes. You can change the font, size and color yourself but try to be consistent.
When you find an element or group of elements you really like, click on it to highlight then right click and choose add to my collection. That way, when you want to use that shape, font, picture or combination of those, you have them at hand. (I use this a lot for headings, repeated graphics and shapes.)
Along the top of the screen, you’ll see three buttons that you can use to add more elements: frames & arrows, insert and themes.
Frames are visual but they’re also the best elements to identify as slides, so your Prezi moves from frame to frame. It automatically fills the whole screen with your frame so if you want a more distant view, use an invisible frame that’s bigger than the actual frame
You don’t need frames at all – you can just jump from element to element – but it’s tricky to do that without making the presentation seem jumpy.
The insert button is where you’ll be spending much of your time.
The symbols and shapes section has a lot of commonly used symbols, in several different drawing styles.
The my collection section is where your favorite elements are.
Beware of the YouTube button. Sometimes, the video will appear in a random place on your Prezi canvas so you’ll have to zoom all the way out, find the video and drag it to where you want it.
This will change the entire look, feel and sometimes movement of your Prezi. If you’re in a hole and you just need a change, go ahead and change the theme. But be warned that you may make things much worse.
Pulling it together
Hit the present button from time to time to see how it’s working out. And don’t forget to save! Have fun and tweet your Prezis to me.