Prezi and PowerPoint are two popular tools for creating presentations and slides.
A Hungarian-based company, Prezi has unique features that differentiate it from Microsoft PowerPoint. Launched in 2009, it came much later than PowerPoint but has since gained a lot of popularity as a PowerPoint alternative.
Microsoft PowerPoint, on the other hand, was released back in 1987. As of now, it is probably the most well-known and most widely used presentation creation software.
Today, I will be comparing MIcrosoft PowerPoint and Prezi and explaining the similarities and differences between the two.
It will help you to pick the better of the two if you’re looking for a presentation tool for your needs.
Prezi set out to be different from Microsoft PowerPoint and most of the other presentation software tools that use a linear approach. In fact, it doesn’t use slides at all.
Instead, Prezi relies on visual effects, particularly the zoom feature, to allow you to present information.
Instead of showing your viewers one slide after another, you can zoom into specific sections of the canvas to reveal additional information.
On the one hand, this approach has several benefits. For example, when using linear presentations that are of any significant length, it can be easy to get lost when trying to fast-forward or rewind and find a specific slide.
Using a single canvas with sections that you can zoom into makes that a lot less likely to happen.
Furthermore, many people will appreciate the uniqueness of this kind of presentation style. Everyone is used to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, so Prezi presentations could offer a breath of fresh air.
In one study, Prezi was found to be more engaging, effective, and persuasive than Microsoft PowerPoint. That could have to do with several things, such as Prezi allowing you to create more visually-engaging creations and its greater focus on storytelling.
Nevertheless, all of the extra visual effects can sometimes be quite distracting. Jumping from one part of the screen to another can make people feel disoriented and dizzy.
At a certain point, all of those extra effects are just extra noise. Instead of helping the viewer focus, they serve as a distraction from the actual information being presented.
In Microsoft PowerPoint, the linear approach forces you to present your ideas in slides that follow a sensible order.
Thus, while Prezi’s non-linear approach definitely has its advantages, it’s important not to overdo it.
Another thing: Prezi requires a bit more of a learning curve. Microsoft PowerPoint, on the other hand, is very intuitive and easy to figure out.
Not only can Prezi be difficult to figure out, but navigating a Prezi slide can be difficult if you are not used to it.
PowerPoint is designed to create linear presentations.
Most people will be familiar with the linear nature of PowerPoint presentations. It’s simple and allows you to present ideas in a clear and straightforward manner, with each slide presenting a new idea, quote, fact, or explanation, and with each slide building upon the information presented in the previous one.
Overall, a PowerPoint presentation is not only easy to create but easy to follow from the viewer’s perspective.
You can add as many slides as you need to, and you can delete slides as necessary.
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Microsoft PowerPoint has been trying to compete with Prezi. To that end, it has introduced its own zoom feature, which allows you to zoom into specific sections of a slide and reveal additional details and information.
With summary zoom, you can see all of the pieces of your presentation and skip between one part of your presentation to another without any limitations, in any order.
Overall, though, the zoom feature is not as developed in PowerPoint as it is in Prezi.
Prezi is a completely online software. The presentations are designed to be created and stored in the cloud.
You will get shareable links that you can give to your viewers so they can view your presentation online. Whenever you want, you can revoke access to those links.
Prezi does have an offline desktop app, but you have to upgrade to a more expensive plan to use it. That means that creating presentations can be tough if you have a slow internet connection.
Not only that, but you can’t download your presentations and present them offline either, unless you upgrade to the more expensive plan. Your viewers must have good internet as well for them to view your presentations without any lags.
That’s a significant downside of using Prezi.
PowerPoint, on the other hand, was originally designed to be used offline. However, you can now use PowerPoint online with Microsoft Office for the web, formerly known as Microsoft 365.
Using Microsoft Office for the web, you can not only create presentations online but share them online as well. You can also collaborate with other people while creating your presentations.
You can download Microsoft PowerPoint presentations for offline viewing, but the viewer will need software that they can use to open the file. If they don’t have Microsoft PowerPoint, there are alternatives – for example, they can convert the file into a Google Slides presentation and view it in Google Docs.
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Prezi is amazing for adding visual effects to your presentations and slides. In fact, users can enjoy a massive library of over 500,000 images and 80,000 icons.
Not only that, but Prezi offers in-app image editing tools, so you don’t have to edit your images in a third-party app.
However, these premium images are not available to free users; you must be a paying user to access them.
There are also many visual animations you can add to your presentations, all of which can be found in the animations sidebar. Available animations include, but are not limited to:
- Fade in and fade out, whether for single items or multiple items
- Zooming into a specific area of the screen
- Zoom out to give viewers a clearer view of the big picture
Note that you can arrange these animations so they appear in a specific order during your presentation, sort of like how different slides will appear in a specific order in a single PowerPoint presentation.
PowerPoint also gives you access to a wide range of visual effects and animations, including”
- Fade (an item – text or image – gradually fades into view)
- Fly in (an item flies in from the bottom or side of the screen)
- Split (two halves of an image or text come from each side to form one)
- Wipe (the item is wiped into place from a specific direction)
- Zoom (the item zooms in)
- Blinds (the item comes into view from behind window blinds)
- Grow/shrink (the item grows then shrinks to a specific size)
The reverse is usually also possible. For example, the reverse of the fly in is the fly out.
There are many other visual effects available as well. For a full list of the different effects and what they do, see here.
As an aside, that list applies to Microsoft PowerPoint for the web. The desktop application has additional animations and visual effects not available in the online software.
Not only that, but PowerPoint also has a stock library of licensed photos that you can insert into your presentations. You can also search the web for creative commons pictures.
Prezi has a new tool called Prezi Video, which allows you to create short, highly-engaging videos instead of presentations. You can share these videos so viewers can watch them on demand, whether you’re creating an:
- Instructional video
- Virtual event
- Advertising video
- Sales pitch
- Or anything else
Microsoft PowerPoint isn’t a video creation software, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make videos with it. You can turn any PowerPoint presentation into a video, downloading it as a video file so users can watch it on any device or turning it into a special PowerPoint slideshow that runs on its own in the PowerPoint app.
By default, the video will spend five seconds on each slide before moving onto the next one, but you can always change that. You can also record voice narrations and laser point movements in your video, and it will include any animations and transitions you have added to your presentation.
To learn more about turning a presentation into a video, see here.
Overall, though, when it comes to creating videos, Prezi wins.
Prezi has a tool called Prezi Design that allows you to create beautiful charts and graphs for data visualization, including:
- And more
You can animate your bar charts with visual effects, add video covers or animated GIFs, and use filters and colors.
However, Prezi Design goes beyond graphs and charts and allows you to create other content, such as:
- Marketing posters
- Social media posts
- Email headers
You can download the files in different formats or publish them online, granting access with a share link.
Overall, Prezi Design is an awesome tool that can even replace existing design tools such as Canva. You can see examples of designs created in Prezi Design in the gallery.
It’s also possible to create charts and graphs in PowerPoint and insert them into your presentations. However, the charts and graphs are a bit more basic looking, and if you have a large amount of data, you should create them in Excel and then copy it into PowerPoint.
Different chart types include:
- And others
The charts are customizable; you can edit the colors, data labels, axis titles, and more.
Technically, you can also make posters and other types of visual media in PowerPoint, but it loses out to Prezi Design as a design tool. Prezi Design is simply more advanced and intuitive when it comes to designing posters, banners, etc.
One of the major advantages of Prezi is that it makes it easy to present presentations when working remotely or for distance learning.
Prezi Video integrates not only with Zoom but with other video conference tools commonly used for remote working and distance learning. Those include Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, and Webex.
You can present your presentation, along with its visual effects, while still showing yourself on the screen in the foreground. Your viewers can follow along and even engage in real time using emojis, on-screen text, and GIFs.
Many people don’t realize it, but you can run PowerPoint presentations over video, in real time, in Microsoft Teams. As a presenter, you can engage with your audience over chat, see raised hands, answer questions, and more.
You can control how your camera appears in the presentation and use tools, such as the laser pointer, highlighter, and eraser, to clarify various things to viewers.
Despite both PowerPoint and Microsoft Teams being owned by Microsoft, you’re not limited to Microsoft Teams. For example, you can also use it in Zoom.
You can not only share a PowerPoint presentation in Zoom, but you can even allow viewers to browse through the slides on their end without it affecting you or others.
Prezi has a decent selection of presentation and video templates for businesses, teachers, students, and others.
You can even import PowerPoint templates, and Prezi will convert them into Prezi templates.
PowerPoint wins when it comes to templates. The truth is that the templates offered in PowerPoint itself are nothing to be amazed at.
They’re sometimes outdated, and there aren’t as many available as you may like. They work for simple presentations, but if you want to be unique, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Fortunately, though, due to the popularity of Microsoft PowerPoint, there are thousands upon thousands of templates available on third-party sites, both free and paid ones.
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Prezi has a “wow factor,” which PowerPoint, being around for so long, does not. While you can get creative in PowerPoint and add all types of visual effects, images, videos, and even animations, most people will be familiar with the general format, making your presentation a bit more boring.
There is a sense of doom that many people experience when they have to attend a class or go to a meeting and see yet another PowerPoint presentation. Your attendees, employees, or students might be dreading showing up.
On the other hand, Prezi is exciting, new, and fun. Most of all, Prezi lets you tell a story, skipping from one section of your presentation to another based on your story flow.
With its varied visual effects, Prezi can be quite engaging. On the other hand, its unique style can also be its downfall.
For people used to seeing PowerPoint presentations, a Prezi presentation might be interesting at first, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused. Many people report getting confused and even dizzy from the constant zooming in and out and jumping from one thing to another.
If you aren’t smart in how you create your Prezi presentation, it’s easy to overdo it. Be careful not to focus too much on the show aspect at the expense of presenting data in a clear manner.
Creating a PowerPoint presentation is often a lot easier than working with Prezi. You might find yourself getting frustrated trying to create a presentation in Prezi that flows and is actually easy to follow.
After all, if it isn’t broken, why fix it?
One of the major advantages of Prezi over PowerPoint is that it is free to use, albeit with significant limitations.
Using the free Basic plan, you can create up to five visual projects. It gives you access to all three tools, though: Prezi Video, Prezi Present, and Prezi Design.
Here are some of the limitations you will face:
- Videos are limited to 15 minutes
- You can’t download videos, design projects, or presentations
- You can’t run presentations in live video conferences
- Images from the image library are not available
- Videos have a watermark
Premium Plans are available as well. Here are some further details:
- Standard: At just $7/month, this plan gives you access to premium images, the background remover, the PowerPoint converter, and more. Videos are still limited to 15 minutes and have a watermark, and you still can’t present presentations offline.
- Plus: At $12/month, this plan gives you most of Prezi’s premium features, except a few. You can download videos, run presentations offline, remove watermarks, add voiceovers to presentations, create videos with no watermark and no time limit, and more.
- Premium: For $16/month, you will get access to premium features such as callouts, SQL connectors, and presentation analytics. Premium subscribers also get phone support.
The good news, though, is that Prezi is not only cheap, but it’s even cheaper for education. Students and educators with a valid school email address can sign up for the EDU Plus plan for just $3/month, which is equivalent to the regular Plus plan, which typically costs $12/month.
The EDU Pro plan, which is similar to the regular Premium plan, costs just $4/month.
Prezi is also available for brands with teams of at least 10 members. You’ll have to discuss pricing with Prezi directly for that.
A free trial for premium plans is available as well. See updated pricing and compare different plans on the pricing page.
You have two options when it comes to Microsoft PowerPoint. The first is buying the downloadable software – that’s the traditional way.
For just $159.99, you can get lifetime access to PowerPoint on a Mac or Windows (Windows 10 or 11). That might sound expensive, but remember, it’s a one-time fee, which means in the long run, it could be cheaper than Prezi.
You can see updated pricing for the downloadable software here.
However, you can also get PowerPoint as part of Microsoft Office for the web (also known as Office 365) for a monthly or yearly subscription.
It costs $6.99/month or $69.99/year. While you must renew your subscription each month or year, it gives you access to all Microsoft Office products in the cloud, including:
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Defender antivirus
It also gives you 1 TB of online storage and the ability to use Office on up to five devices, including Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows devices.
However, that’s only for one person. Office Family (for up to six people) costs $99.99/year.
See updated pricing for Office 365 here.
While Prezi offers dirt-cheap plans for education, Microsoft went the extra step and offers Office 365 to students, schools, and educators for free!
- Free option available
- Unique format provides a breath of fresh air
- Non-linear format allows for more flexibility
- Better for storytelling
- Design posters, banners, graphs, charts, etc.
- Create videos
- Host presentations with live video
- Need to upgrade to use offline
- Can get confusing and disorienting
- Not as many templates available
- Easy to use
- Plenty of templates available
- Plenty of integrations from third-party apps
- Overused; many people are tired of it
- Not as great for charts and graphs
- Less visually stimulating
|Create Videos||✓||✗ (Can only turn presentations into self-playing videos)|
|Use Offline||✓ (Must pay extra)||✓|
|Create Posters, Social Media Banners, etc.||✓||✗|
|Free for Education||✗||✓|
Microsoft PowerPoint remains the superior tool. While Prezi might be unique and different, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
For a small fee, you can get Microsoft PowerPoint online, on multiple devices, and you can even get it for free if you have a valid school email address.
With the added zoom feature and wide range of animations, you can create visually-appealing and engaging presentations without losing out on the ability to create simple, linear presentations.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.