Prezi vs. PowerPoint: Which Will Come Out on Top?

19 Nov

Heated debates have emerged regarding the advantages of Prezi over PowerPoint.  I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, though, at the end, a winner will emerge.

Prezi’s Emergence

Prezi came to the business presentation market to fill the void of a much-needed alternative to the everyday PowerPoint presentation.   The new presentation platform, which was less linear and more free-flowing, excited people significantly.  For many, the standard, cheesy transitions available in PowerPoint limited the creativity of their presentations, which in turn limited their careers.  Prezi’s use of paths, where a free-moving “camera” follows a set of connected frames, instead of slides makes every Prezi unique – one has infinite possibilities when deciding which direction, literally, he or she want to take the presentation.

Prezi’s Flaws

Prezi has its drawbacks.  For instance, Prezi, unlike PowerPoint, does not have spellcheck. This inconveniences those hurried businessmen who want to throw together a presentation without having to scan every word for a typo.  Also, up until recently, Prezi users were not able to insert new stops along the pathway easily.  When a user took a screenshot, Prezi sent the frame to the end of the presentation, requiring the user to painstakingly drag the frame all the way back to the necessary position within the storyboard.  Lastly, if the user abuses Prezi’s functionality, including the in-and-out zooming feature, audiences may become nauseated rather than captivated.

PowerPoint Strengths

PowerPoint has several benefits over Prezi.  Theme customization is much easier in PowerPoint.  Sound and video can also be added to PowerPoint much more easily.  Moreover, PowerPoint allows the user to add slides in a specific point simply with the click of a button.

Prezi Triumphs

In summary, both PowerPoint and Prezi are effective tools for communicating a business idea.  Both, however, have the possibility of being overused and mismanaged.  When deciding whether to use a Prezi or PowerPoint in your next presentation, take into a context the audience and its tastes.  However, I believe that Prezi is the overall winner in this battle.  The freedom and spatial creativity that Prezi allows for are cannot be matched by PowerPoint, and these elements, when used wisely, will continue to fascinate audiences around the world.

by Yonatan Barlev

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4 Responses to “Prezi vs. PowerPoint: Which Will Come Out on Top?”

  1. Daniel Duggal November 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Yonatan,

    Something else I think that is also relevant to this discussion is the power and convenience of communicating data and numbers in PowerPoint versus Prezi. In PowerPoint one can embed a fully functional excel workbook into a slide. This data can automatically update and one can also editable a workbook within PowerPoint. I think that this is a seriously important advantage over Prezi.

    -Daniel D.

  2. Timothy Wang November 25, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Yonatan,

    I think the debate over the best medium for presentations is less clear-cut than it seems. As a frequent user of both Prezi and PowerPoint I think they both have advantages in certain types of presentations.

    Prezi definitely works in presentations where the framework of the presentation helps communicate an idea to the audience. You’re right: it’s “free-flowing” style definitely lets the audience connect the dots in a much more creative manner.

    However, in presentations where graphics or excel worksheets are utilized, I think PowerPoint would be a better alternative.

    In the end, I think a good presentation largely depends on the speaker in front of you. I think a Prezi-based presentation can engage the audience with its unique style, but a good presenter can capture his or her audience equally effectively no matter what type of presentation they are standing in front of.

    -Tim

  3. Michael Cohen December 1, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    I think Tim brings up a great point here, and I’d like to expand on it.

    Prezi is really for big ideas–it has no place in the common boardroom atmosphere. I hope that Prezi one day reaches that level of acceptance, but I don’t think the day where I can use Prezi to present sales figures to my boss is coming any time soon.

  4. Katie Bush December 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Yonatan,

    Recently, I have heard more and more debates about PowerPoint vs Prezi, so thank you for this post. I would agree with Tim that the presenter greatly influences how the audience is impacted by a presentation, and that great presenters could often effectively use both mediums of presentations.

    Another factor I think is relevant to this discussion is an analysis of your audience. I have found my peers often highly rate Prezi with its unique technological capabilities. On the other hand, some of my professors admit they get dizzy watching Prezi. I admit this analysis won’t always hold true, but I do think it presents an interesting question. Perhaps when debating which method we should use to present, we should heavily focus on the desires of our audience.

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