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PowerPoint vs Prezi

When creating a presentation, there are two popular platforms that are used today: PowerPoint and Prezi. PowerPoint in the traditional, linear tool that comes with Microsoft Office products or subscriptions. Prezi is a non-linear software tool that is Flash-based, allowing for “pages” instead of “slides” to be designed.

In the PowerPoint vs Prezi debate, those who prefer structure will likely lean toward PowerPoint. Those who are looking for a creative approach and an unlimited canvas upon which to work will likely lean toward Prezi. Both offer the opportunity to integrate text, images, animation, sounds, and even video.

Then there are these key advantages and disadvantages of each platform that must also be considered when evaluating which one can best meet user needs.

What Are the Advantages of PowerPoint?

  • PowerPoint is a user-friendly platform that has a simple learning curve. Many Office programs integrate with it immediately, making it a lot easier to design slides. If users have any familiarity with Word or Excel, PowerPoint is that much easier to learn how to use. It is a simple, straight-forward solution for a presentation that creates results that look instantly professional.
  • Users have a lot of control over each slide, which means the customization options for a presentation are almost endless. There are many different fonts, backgrounds, colors, and graphics that can be added to individual slides. Users can also create one slide, turn it into a template, and then use that template throughout the presentation for a consistent look and feel. Users can also create individualized designs when needed for each slide.
  • Visual enhancements can be included with each slide. That includes animations, transitions, and other types of builds. This makes it easier for a presentation to emphasize specific key points because the entire slide doesn’t need to be displayed at once. Each bullet point can be added individually.
  • Hyperlinks can be included on PowerPoint, allowing web-based users who are reading the presentation to click on the link and be taken to that specific website. Internal links can be added as well, allowing users to access a different part of the presentation if needed.
  • PowerPoint easily integrates with SlideShare, making it a simple process to upload presentations to the internet so they can be viewed by anyone almost anywhere in the world. At the same time, users can also send the slides of a PowerPoint presentation to their printer so notes can be taken or hard copies can be distributed for future reference.
  • Various data sets, including tables and charts, can be included on each slide to provide deeper information access.

What Are the Advantages of Prezi?

  • The zoom function Prezi offers is its most unique advantage. Users or presenters can click on the background of the presentation to zoom outward to an overview. From there, another click allows for the zoom to come into any area of the presentation. That makes it easier to answer questions, explore ideas, or provide specific details without losing one’s place within the overall presentation path.
  • There is more flexibility in the build of the presentation, allowing it to form more of a “story” than an actual start-to-finish presentation. The presenter can choose their own path, based on the give-and-take they receive from the audience. For uploaded presentations, users can move in and out of the presentation at leisure, accessing the bits of data they need for use.
  • Sharing is a simple process on Prezi. You can share it online with up to 10 different audience members at a time. That makes it very easy to collaborate on a project in real time or gather ideas from trusted people to complete the project as desired.
  • If all that is required are the basics for a presentation, a limited version of Prezi is available for free. Unlimited presentations are available on the basic free plan. It does require an internet-enabled connection to design the presentation, but an account can be created without cost. New users can create their account through their Facebook profile if they desire.
  • The presentations that are created on Prezi are much easier to embed into a blog when compared to PowerPoint presentations. They can be embedded into most web pages as well because the size of the presentation file is usually much smaller than what PowerPoint requires users to save.
  • Prezi is compatible with virtually all browsers, allowing most users the chance to try this platform without cost to see if they like it better.

What Are the Disadvantages of PowerPoint?

  • The linear formatting of PowerPoint can be a disadvantage for those who need a creative presentation. Although animation and transitions are possible, users must follow an A-to-B format during their presentation. That means the presentation must go backward or forward to answer specific questions and that can be distracting to the audience.
  • The file sizes that are exported from PowerPoint are very large, even when audio or video isn’t added to the file. Most presentations are at least 10 MB in size as a basic presentation with only a handful of slides. Adding other forms of media can make the file exceed 1 GB, which makes it difficult to share with others without file syncing or flash drives available.
  • PowerPoint requires Windows 7 or later to be used, but the touch features require at least Windows 8. The download cost of the program on its own is $109.99. The full download requires 3 GB of space and a touch device is required to take advantage of its full multi-touch functionality. It is also available through the full Office suite subscription that is available from Microsoft, which begins at $6.99 per month for personal users.
  • Slide formats may have templates, but the layouts which are readily made are quite few. When the included clip art, graphics, and other inserts are included, PowerPoint can even look quite dated. Options for graphic inserts are limited as well. You can only add images with a vertical or a horizontal formatting, which can limit user design options when creating a presentation.

What Are the Disadvantages of Prezi?

  • There are limited design options available to users on this platform. There are fewer backgrounds when compared to PowerPoint and many of the fonts and colors in the presentations are not designed to be changed.
  • The cost of Prezi is something that must be considered as well. A 14-day free trial is available, but then the standard personal plan is $7 per month. At that price, users can create unlimited presentations, have privacy control, and controllable shared links. The standard personal plan is $19 per month and is required to create PDF exports, have offline access with the app, and be able to create presenter notes. The business plan cost begins at $59 per month and that is the only plan that offers analytics from Prezi. Discounts are available to students and teachers.
  • The zoom feature can be difficult for users who are used to the linear structure of PowerPoint. The function can be overused in the presentation, which can take away from the story that is being presented. Some complaints from Prezi even mention motion sickness because of the number of transitions that can be included with presentations on this platform.
  • The learning curve of Prezi isn’t difficult, but it does tend to take longer when compared to PowerPoint. It is a platform that requires presenters to think outside the box when completing the creative process and that can be difficult for some users to do.
  • The fact that it is web-based can also be a disadvantage to some users. Without internet access, building the presentation becomes an impossible task. You can export presentations to be viewable without a data connection, but that file is read-only.

Which is Better: PowerPoint vs Prezi?

In the PowerPoint vs Prezi debate, the preferred platform should be chosen because of needed functionality instead of a perception of creativity. Although Prezi has more flexibility in its structure, the core content of the presentation shines on both platforms.

Cost is a major consideration. Prezi may offer a free option, but it requires users to work online. To have offline capabilities with Prezi, the cost is actually higher than PowerPoint. At the same time, editing the templates that are available on Prezi is more difficult to do compared to the editing features that are available through PowerPoint.
Presenters who take many questions throughout a presentation may find the extra navigation features in Prezi to be beneficial. On the other hand, presenters can also go into the core slide design in PowerPoint within the file to create easier navigation options as well.

PowerPoint and Prezi will not be a magic solution for a boring presentation. They will, however, support designed slides in an effective, entertaining way with a little effort. Consider all the key advantages and disadvantages and it will be easier to decide which option will best meet your personal needs. That way you will know which platform will be the most convenient.

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