Mastering Prezi for Business Presentations — Save 50%
Engage your audience visually with stunning Prezi presentation designs and be the envy of your colleagues who use PowerPoint with this book and ebook.
Prezi is a tool for delivering presentations in a linear or non-linear format. This cloud-based software enables users to structure presentations on an infinite canvass in a way that is much more engaging and visually stimulating to the audience.
In this article by Russell Anderson-Williams, author of Mastering Prezi for Business Presentations, we'll cover:
- Text editor
- The plus button
- The play button
There will always be time restraints put on us when building any business presentation. Mostly these will be pretty unrealistic time restraints as well.
If you do find yourself against the clock when building a Prezi, then why not give yourself a slight advantage and use one of Prezi's templates to get your design started. There are lots of templates you can chose from and here's how to make the most out of them when the clock is ticking.
When you create any new Prezi online or in the desktop editor, you'll be presented with a choice of template as shown in the following screenshot:
Before you decide which one to choose, you can explore them by simply selecting one and clicking the Preview button. You can see in the following screenshot that we've selected the Our Project template.
Rolling your mouse over a template's thumbnail will show you some more details as well to help you choose.
At the top of the screen, you'll see the options to either Start Editing or go Back to the templates screen. Before you make your choice, have a look around the template preview and check out all of the various objects available to you. Zoom in and out of certain areas that look interesting and use the arrows in the bottom right to go through the template's path and see how it flows.
In the following screenshot, you can see that we've zoomed in to take a closer look at the assets included in this template:
As you can see in the preceding screenshot, the Our Project template has some lovely assets included. The assets you'll be able to use in the template are images and sketches such as the Doodles that you can see in the top right of the screenshot. All of these assets can be moved around and used anywhere on your canvas.
If you preview a template and decide it's the right one for you to use, then just click the Start Editing button to go into edit mode and begin building your Prezi.
Getting the most from templates
Once you go into edit mode, don't think that you're stuck with how everything is laid out. You can (and should) move things around to fit with the message you're trying to deliver to your audience.
The very first thing we'd suggest is clicking on the Paths button and taking a look at how the Prezi flows. The whole reason you're using a template is because you're pushed for time, but you should know how many frames you need and how many different areas you'll want to focus on in your presentation before you get started. If you do, then you can adjust the paths, add new path points, or delete some that are there already.
All of the templates, especially Our Project, will come with various assets included. Use them wherever you can. It'll save you lots of time searching for your own imagery if you can just move the existing assets around.
As shown in the preceding screenshot, you are totally free to resize any asset in a template. Make the most of them and save yourself a whole heap of time.
The only down side of using templates is that they of course won't have any of your company colors, logo, or branding on them. This is easily fixed by using the Colors & Fonts|Theme Wizard found in the bubble menu.
On the very first screen of the wizard, click the Replace Logo button to add your company logo. The logo must be a JPEG file no bigger than 250 pixels wide and 100 pixels high. Clicking the button will allow you to search for your logo and it will then be placed in the bottom left-hand corner of your Prezi at all times. On this screen, you can also change the background color of your entire canvas.
On the next screen of the wizard, we recommend you switch to Manual mode by clicking the option in the bottom-left corner. In this screen, you can select the fonts to use in your Prezi. At the present time, Prezi still has only a limited number of fonts but we're confident you can find something close to the one your company uses.
The reason we suggest switching to manual mode is because you'll be able to use your corporate colors for the fonts you select, and also on the frames and shapes within the Prezi.
You'll need to know the RGB color values specified in your corporate branding.
By using this final step, you'll get all the benefits of having an already designed Prezi without getting told off by your marketing team for going against their strict branding guidelines.
A very simple element of the Prezi bubble menu which gets overlooked a lot is the InsertShapes| option. In this part of the article, we'll look at some things you may not have known about how shapes work within Prezi.
Shortcut for shapes
To quickly enter the Shapes menu when working in the Prezi canvas, just press the S key on your keyboard.
In the first part of this chapter, we looked at the assets from a template called OurProject. Some of those assets were the line drawings shown below the male and female characters.
When you see these "Doodles" as they're titled, you might think they've been drawn in some kind of graphics package and inserted into the Prezi canvas as you would anything else. On closer inspection in edit mode, you can see that each of the characters is actually made up of different lines from the Shapes menu.
This is a great use of the line tool and we'd encourage you to try and create your own simple drawings wherever you can. These can then be reused over time, and will in turn save you lots of time searching for imagery via the Google image insert. Let's say that we want to add some more detail to the male character. Maybe we'll give him a more exciting hair style to replace the boring one that he has at the moment.
- First select the current hairline and delete it from the character's head.
- Now select the line tool from the Shapes menu and let's give this guy a flat top straight from the 80's.
- One of our lines is too long on the right. To adjust it, simply double-click to enter edit mode and drag the points to the right position as shown in the following screenshot:
- So there we have a great example of how to quickly draw your own image on the Prezi canvas by just using lines. It's an excellent feature of Prezi and as you can see, it's given our character a stunning new look.
It's a shame his girlfriend doesn't think so too!
In step three of giving our character a new haircut, you saw the edit menu which is accessed by a simple double-click. You can use the edit function on all items in the shapes menu apart from the Pencil and Highlighter tools. Any shape can be double-clicked to change its size and color as shown in the following screenshot.
You can see that all of the shapes on the left have been copied and then edited to change their color and size. The edited versions on the right have all been double- clicked and one of the five extra available colors have been selected. The points of each shape have also been clicked on and dragged to change the dimensions of the shape.
Holding the Shift key will not keep your shapes to scale. If you want to scale the shapes up or down, we recommend you use the transformation zebra by clicking the plus (+) or minus (-) signs.
When editing lines or arrows, you can change them from being straight to curved by dragging the center point in any direction.
This is extremely useful when creating the line drawings we saw earlier. It's also useful to get arrows pointing at various objects on your canvas.
The highlighter tool from the shapes menu is extremely useful for pointing out key pieces of information like in the interesting fact shown in the following screenshot:
Just drag it across the text you'd like to highlight. Once you've done that the highlighter marks become objects in their own right, so you can use the transformation zebra to change their size or position as shown in the following screenshot:
The pencil tool can be used to draw freehand sketches like the one shown in the following screenshot. If you hadn't guessed it yet, our drawing is supposed to represent a brain which links to the interesting fact about ants.
The pencil tool is great if you're good at sketching things out with your mouse. But if like us, your art skills need a little more work, you might want to stick to using the lines and shapes to create imagery!
To change the color of your highlighter or pencil drawings, you will need to go into the Theme Wizard and edit the RGB values. This will help you keep things within your corporate branding guidelines again.
Drawings and diagrams
Another useful new feature and a big time saver within the Prezi insert menu are drawings and diagrams. You can locate the drawings and diagrams templates by clicking the button in-between YouTube and File from the Insert menu.
There are twelve templates to choose from and each has been given a name that best describes their purpose. Rolling over each thumbnail will show you a little more detail to help you choose the right one. Once you have chosen, double-click the thumbnail and then decide where to place your drawing on the canvas. You can see in the following screenshot that the drawing or diagram is grouped together and will not become active until you click the green tick.
Once you make the drawing active, you can access all of its frames, text, and any other elements that are included. In the following screenshot, you can see that we've zoomed into a section of the tree diagram.
You can see in the preceding screenshot that the diagram uses lines, circular frames, and text which can all be edited in any way you like. This is the case for all of the diagrams and drawings available from the menu.
Using these diagrams and drawings gives you a great chance to explain concepts and ideas to your colleagues with ease. You can see from the preceding screenshot that there's a good range of useful drawings and diagrams that you're used to seeing in business presentations. You can easily create organograms, timelines for projects, or business processes and cycles, simply by using the templates available and inserting your own content and imagery.
By using the Theme wizard explained earlier in this chapter, you can make sure your drawings and diagrams use your corporate colors.
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Prezi text editor
The text editor in Prezi has had a wonderful makeover in recent months. There are now some lovely new features within it that will make your life much easier, including the number one must have feature at the very top of every Prezi user's wish list for some time. Yes you guessed it, a spellchecker!
Now when you spell something incorrectly, Prezi will underline the word it doesn't recognise with a red line. This is just as you would see it in Microsoft Word or any other text editor.
To correct the word, simply right-click it and select the word you meant to type as shown in the following screenshot:
It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here.
So a colleague of yours has just emailed you the text they'd like to appear in the Prezi you're designing for them. That's great news as it'll help you understand the flow of the presentation. What's frustrating though is you'll have to copy (Ctrl + C) and paste (Ctrl + V) every single line or paragraph across to put it in the right place on your canvas.
Or at least that used to be the case before Prezi introduced the drag-apart feature in the text editor. This means you can now easily drag a selection of text to anywhere on your canvas without having to rely on the copy and paste options. Let's take a look at the interesting fact info we saw earlier and split it up into two sections.
In order to drag your text apart, simply highlight the area you require, click the hand icon to the left and hold the mouse button down, then drag the text anywhere on your canvas. Once you have separated your text, you can then edit the separate parts as you would any other individual object on your canvas. Use the transformation zebra to scale it or spin it around as shown in the following screenshot:
Building Prezis for colleagues
If you've kindly offered to build a Prezi for one of your colleagues, ask them to supply the text for it in Word format. You'll be able to run a spellcheck on it from there before you copy and paste it into Prezi. Any bad spellings you miss will also get highlighted on your Prezi canvas but it's good to use both options as a safety net.
As well as dragging text apart to make it stand out more on its own you might want to highlight certain words so that they jump out at your audience even more.
The great news is you can now highlight individual lines of text or single words and change their color. To do so, just highlight a word by clicking and dragging your mouse across it. Then click the color picker at the top of the textbox to see the color menu shown in the following screenshot:
Select any of the colors available in the palette to change that piece of text. Nothing else in the textbox will be affected apart from the text you have selected. This gives you much greater freedom to use colored text in your Prezi design, and doesn't leave you restricted like in older versions of the software.
Choose the right color
To make good use of this feature, we'd recommend you use a color that completely contrasts to the rest of your design. For example, if your design and corporate colors are blue, we'd suggest you use red or purple to highlight key words. Also once you pick a color, stick to it throughout the presentation so that your audience knows when they see a key piece of info.
Bullet points and indents
The final new feature within the text editor is the option to use bullet points and indentations. This makes your business presentations much easier to put together and does mean you can give the audience some quick fire information as text in the same format they're used to seeing in other presentations.
In the preceding screenshot, you can see we've taken the same text that we dragged apart earlier and added bullet points to it. This was done by simply selecting the main body of text and clicking on the bullet point icon at the top of the textbox. To add indentations to your bullet points, use the icons to the left of the color picker.
A really simple features but a useful one none the less. We'd obviously like to point out that too much text on any presentation is a bad thing. Keep it short and to the point.
Also remember that too many bullets can kill!
The plus (+) button
The plus button located on the left of the bubble menu is an incredible time saver, and also helps keep your Prezi's style looking consistent throughout. Clicking the plus button will open up a selection of five different layouts for you to choose from. You can see these in the following screenshot:
Some are simple empty frames but others have textboxes in them ready to use straightaway. When you're happy with the layout you've selected, click on the green tick to insert it onto your canvas. You can now type or paste in any text that's needed in your presentation, or add imagery into the layout.
Press the N key on your keyboard to access the plus button.
An amazing feature within the plus button is that the layouts will automatically scale to the objects you place them next to on your canvss. In the following screenshot, you can see there is already a frame and layout on our canvas. Before we select the new layout from the plus button, we can drag it towards the existing frame and see it start to shrink in order to match the size of the frame we're placing it next to.
In the following screenshot, you can see that as we drag the new layout towards the existing frame, it starts to shrink in order to match the size:
This is an extremely useful feature that helps us place things at the right location and in the right size without wasting any time trying to adjust it ourselves. Give it a go so you know exactly what we mean.
Just like we mentioned earlier with the Theme wizard, it's crucial you try and keep a consistent style running through your presentation. This includes your colors, fonts, highlights, and of course the way in which you lay out your frames and text. Try and stick to the same layout from the plus button throughout your Prezi.
Grouping and moving
In the past, it was difficult to move lots of separate elements at once. You'd have to try and select them all at once and then move them. Now you can choose one of the two options to easily move lots of objects around on your canvas. We'll use the ants we saw earlier in this chapter because they are made up of lots of separate curved lines placed together. How on earth could we move all of those lines at once?
Using a frame
One way to move all of the ant's separate parts is to drag a frame around it. Once the frame surrounds all of the objects you want to move, you can select it and drag it anywhere as you can see in the following screenshot:
Once you've moved the objects to a new spot on your canvas, you can delete the frame.
Hidden frames are the only frame type that this won't work with.
The Shift key
Another way, and probably a slightly easier way of moving lots of objects at once is to simply hold the Shift key down on your keyboard and drag across the canvas to select all the objects you need.
This is probably a function that mostly will be used to in other bits of software so its bound to be a preferred option here.
Missed a bit
If you select a group of objects, move them and then realize a piece is missing because it didn't get selected, just press the Ctrl + Z keys on your keyboard to undo the move. Then broaden your selection and try again.
Whichever option you use to move objects around, you're bound to save lots of time doing so. Either of the preceding options will allow you to move, enlarge, shrink, or rotate a group of objects. This used to be something that would put people off using Prezi, but now it's just a normal run of the mill feature. Hallelujah!
The play button
The play button is located down in the bottom-right hand corner and is what we use to put our Prezis into show mode to check that they look okay during the design phase. It is then later used used of course when our Prezis are actually being presented. There is a lovely new feature that most forget about or just don't notice that could help you when designing a Prezi to play on its own.
You can see in the preceding screenshot that the bottom-right arrow key is displaying three separate time settings:
- 4 seconds
- 10 seconds
- 20 seconds
To access these, simply click and hold the right arrow key with your mouse. When they appear, you can select the timing you'd like your Prezi to play at.
This is useful for presentations that don't have a presenter to talk through them. They might be showed in your company's reception on a flat screen, or at a trade show for people to see. However and whenever you decide to let your Prezi play on its own, make sure you get the timings right so that people can see and read everything without having to wait until it loops again.
When designing Prezis to play on their own in this way, make sure you pay close attention to the amount of zooming and spinning in your design. Motion sickness can be intensified when someone is overly focused on the screen in front of them.
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About the Author :
Russell Anderson-Williams (Bristol, UK) is the founder of http://www.theprezenter.com which is dedicated to educating Prezi users in best practice, sharing advice and tips in design, and more than anything, changing the mindset of Prezi users to that of a non-linear thinker. A wildly creative and visual thinker, Russell has a strong background in visual communication and graphic design, as well as a long career in training and education. Russell has designed and delivered hundreds of visually stimulating training presentations for some of the world’s biggest companies in a variety of sectors. By merging his love and passion for educating people with his joy for all things wonderfully visual, he has set a course to turn anyone in the business world into a Prezi Master through his on-site training programs, and tirelessly blogs about everything Prezi-related. He resides in the extremely creative city of Bristol in the United Kingdom where he works in training design, Prezi design and training, and anything else that allows his creativity to run wild.