Presentation Design

PowerPoint vs. Prezi

Which one should you use to make the most of your presentation?

Exciting presentations can be hard to put together. There are always new and creative ways to engage your audience. Two of the most widely used presentation tools are Microsoft PowerPoint and the newer, non-linear presentation tool, Prezi. Which software should you use to organize your content and impress your peers? To make this decision you’ll need to have a basic understanding of each program. PowerPoint and Prezi are similar in a lot of ways but both have unique abilities that can be used to your advantage.

Pros and Cons of Microsoft PowerPoint:

Released in 1987, PowerPoint was initially meant for Macintosh computers only. However, Microsoft bought PowerPoint only three months later for $14 million. Since its first launch, Microsoft PowerPoint has come a long way. Approximately 35 million PowerPoint presentations are given each day by an estimated 500 million users worldwide. Collaborate on shared projects, use pre-designed templates to save time, and get presentation tips with Presenter Coach, provided with your Office plan. You can even use PowerPoint’s graphic tools as your own art medium, just like former Talking Heads band member, David Byrne. Check out some of his PowerPoint artwork here. 

Pros:

  • it’s the most popular,  “go to” solution for presentations everywhere
  • it’s popularity and familiarity enables better collaboration
  • great for telling a linear story
  • vast amount of content for learning and support
  • easy create charts and graphs to visualize data
  • the slides are print-friendly

Cons:

  • must follow linear format
  • it’s linear format makes audience interaction and Q&A difficult
  • clip art and graphic content is outdated
  • the file size can become very large
  • you have to buy a Microsoft software license

Cost: Office 365 Business costs $8.25 per user/per month with an annual commitment and includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Access; it also provides 1TB of cloud storage via OneDrive.


This information is always changing. Visit the Microsoft 365 website to learn more about the different plans and features available.

Pros and Cons of Prezi:

Launched in May of 2009, Prezi grew extremely fast, receiving its first major investment only two months later from TED. Prezi is best described as:

“a visual storytelling software alternative to traditional slide-based presentation formats […] featuring a map-like overview that lets users pan between topics, zoom in on details, and pull back to reveal context,”

Wikipedia

Prezi supports over 100 million users worldwide. It is a great story-telling tool that supports mind-mapping and has the ability to show the bigger picture in relation to the finer details. If you are unfamiliar with Prezi, the best way to understand how it works is to watch a few in action. Check out the 2019 Prezi Awards for a look into this flexible presentation software.

Pros:

  • The main difference is the Prezi zoom function. This allows the presentation to act as a limitless zoomable canvas which changes the way people share information.
  • Enables nonlinear storytelling
  • Allows for “conversational presenting” often used for informal presentations
  • provides their users with pre-designed templates, icons and graphics to choose from
  • allows collaboration for up to 10 people

To learn about all of Prezi’s unique functions check out this webpage “What Makes Prezi so Unique?”.

Cons:

  • limited font options
  • unique interface that can be time consuming to learn
  • limited tools for font resizing and image adjustments
  • background images have reduced quality
  • difficult to print
  • the presentation format can be distracting to the audience

Cost: Prezi Plus starts at $19/month while Prezi Premium (for business professionals) starts at $59/month

Visit the Prezi website to learn more about their different plans and features available.

Conclusion

If you are tighter on time it might be smarter to use Powerpoint. If you are presenting data, facts, and figures it will probably be easier implementing that information through Powerpoint. 

Also, PowerPoint will most likely be a client’s preferred method of delivery if they need to make any minor or last-minute changes. None of this may be a big deal to you, however, if you are already familiar with both PowerPoint and Prezi. 

At the end of the day, the simple and reliable design is most often found in the familiar design tool of Microsoft Powerpoint. From what I have gathered, I think it tailors closer to business presentations and for those who are more concerned with content/taking notes. That being said, Prezi can be more useful for a fun, conversational presentation. You might very well benefit from Prezi if you want to put in the work and make your presentation stand out. You can imagine it being very useful for educational purposes or for story-like topics with many details that can be connected in your own way. 

You can use these interchangeably because it all comes down to how you are using them. Organize your content, create a mind map, put down all of your ideas and data before making a decision for which you would like to use that makes the most sense. Do your research and visit their websites to feel confident about your options. You can also look at potential alternatives to PowerPoint and Prezi which you might find are better suited for your work.

Potential Alternatives

We will update this periodically. Let us know if there are any other presentation tools you would like us to evaluate.

Google Slides

Keynote

Canva

Visme

Pitcherific