From UBC Wiki

Authored by Rachel Fales & David Horn 2011

Updated and revised by Ryan Stotesbury 2016.


Prezi is an online-based presentation software that is different from traditional slide making software such as Microsoft Power Point. Slides may be presented in a non-linear fashion, allowing zooms, pans and spins across a large virtual canvas. The Prezi software is cloud-based, allowing users saving their work online, allowing the platform to be used from most computers and web browsers. An offline application is also available, allowing for editing and saving of presentations for those with limited internet access. Users can sign up for free but have limited access. Mobile Prezi "viewers" are available for iOS and Android, however they are only able to play presentations, not edit. There are 4 levels of paid user accounts, allowing varying levels of access and features.


Adam Somlai-Fischer, an architect, began working with zooming presentations through hand-coded programming. Adam and his friend Peter Halacsy decided to create an online editor in which all people could have access to creating zooming presentations. Originating in Budapest, these two collaborated with Peter Avrai, CEO, to build a prototype product and company. The final product was launched in April 2009. In November 2009, Prezi opened its San Francisco office. [1]


  • A large presentation space (canvas) to hold your entire presentation.
  • Slides creation by guiding the presentation along a linear path to "frames" anywhere on the canvas.
  • Paths to frames create animations that zoom in, zoom out, pan, and rotate the entire canvas to simulate motion.
  • Canvases have a limited 3D functionality, supporting up to 3 layers of background images that you can ‘zoom-in’ towards to create a sense of depth.
  • Different objects may be inserted into the presentation including: images, shapes, charts, videos (MP4s or embedded YouTube), PDF files, or pre-created layouts.
  • Prezi supplies a substantial library of vector based clip art to help you build a presentation with minimal searching for images.
  • Prezi offers a wide selection of pre-made templates, as well as boasts a large community library of free templates.
  • Presentations are edited using a browser based editor. An offline editor is also available for certain licenses.
  • Presentations are saved to the cloud. Online storage space varies by licenses. Offline downloading is available for certain licenses.
  • Multiple users may edit the same Prezi at the same time with up to 10 participants at once.
  • Prezis may be presented remotely online with up to 30 participants at once, and may be used in conjunction with video chat software such as Skype or FaceTime.
  • Prezis may be embedded into webpages.

System requirements

Internet Browsers: Internet Explorer 7 or higher, Firefox 3.0 or higher, Safari 3 or higher.

Computer Platforms: PC, MAC or Linux with Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher, minimum 1GB memory and a scroll mouse/touchpad

Presenting Offline: Exported Prezis are supported on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X operating systems with no additional software requirement, not even Adobe Flash Player

Hardware Recommendations

  • Prezi editors works best on Windows, followed by Mac OS X, and lastly Linux
  • Processors and memory have more influence on performance than graphics cards


Even though Prezi was developed for online editing, the company has expanded to three other products: Desktop, Meeting and iPad.

This allows users to edit and create offline zooming presentations with local file storage or users can upload it to a Prezi account. Prezi desktop is only available to users with Prezi Pro and EduPro licenses and can be installed on up to three computers. Users create Prezi files that the can download from online (.pez). However, if users wish to upload PDF files, it is only available online. Desktop has the ability to convert earlier versions of Prezi to the most recent update. This version is compatible with PC, Mac or Linux and has the same system requirements as Adobe Air.
Users can create, edit and present Prezis with other users in real time (they can be in the same room or in separate locations). All licenses of Prezi provide access to Prezi Collaborate. Prezi does not provide synchronous communication, but suggests adding "an extra dimension to the co-editing process, you can use communication tools, such as Skype”.[1]
Prezi Viewer
Prezis may be viewed using mobile platforms using Android or iOS. Using the Prezi Viewer, view a presentations, or zoom in and out of elements using drag and pinch functions similar to mobile map applications. The Prezi Viewer only allows viewing (not editing) of saved Prezis; users must first create their Prezis first using the online editor or Prezi Desktop.

Licence Requirements

In order to create a Prezi, users must register online. A user account can be free with up to 100MB of storage space, and the Prezi exists in the public space or an individual can sign up for larger storage and privacy through a membership fee.

Table 1. A comparison of user account levels and options for Prezi
Public Enjoy Pro Edu Enjoy Edu Pro
Create Prezi’s Online X X X X X
Present offline X X X X X
Adjust Privacy Setting X X X X
Image Editing Tools X X X X
Work offline X X
Support System X X X X X
Storage Space 100 MB 4 GB Unlimited 4 GB Unlimited
Costs Free $59/Yr + 30 days free $159/year + 30 days free Free $59/Yr + 30 days free


  • Cloud based allowing access from any internet equipped computer.
  • Simple interface and easy initial learning curve.
  • Online collaboration allows multiple users to create and edit Prezis simultaneously.
  • Multiple platforms are supported: PC, MAC, Linux, Android, iOS.
  • Multiple browsers are compatible: Internet Explorer 7 or higher, Firefox 3.0 or higher, Safari 3 or higher, Opera
  • Easily import images from anywhere on the web simply by copying and pasting the image's URL.
  • Prezi support lists known issues and fixes.
  • Knowledge base and support community is active, helpful and responsive.
  • Extensive online tutorial library from Prezi as well as the community are available.
  • Can import files from other presentation software such as Keynote and PowerPoint.


  • Free membership is limited to online access, and maximum storage size of 100MB, and the inability to make Prezis private.
  • Effective remote collaborations require synchronous video chat such as Skype or FaceTime.
  • User must have Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher.
  • Limited printing options: users must export their Prezi to a 2D PDF file that does not contain animations.
  • PDF uploading available only in the online editor.
  • Issues with progressive JPEG types (ie. JPEG2000) and JPEG dimensions cannot exceed 2880 by 2880 pixels
  • Embedded YouTube videos will not play unless connected to the Internet (full MP4 video files may be embedded to alleviate this).
  • Limited animation functions within frames (only fade-in, no fade-out)
  • Does not support animated .gif files (only .FLA flash animations may be imported and animated in a Prezi)
  • Limited international alphabets for inputting text: Only Chinese, Korean, Japanese or Thai are available
  • Does not support some accessibility features for visually impaired users.

Connections to Learning and Educational Theory

Prezi and Constructivism

Prezi, a leading program in online presentations, has become increasingly popular in education. In particular, Prezi supports constructivist learning theory. Prezi, through constructivism, allows users or learners to actively construct knowledge [2]. Users are presenting their previous knowledge about a subject and also acquiring knowledge by creating their own presentation. Theorists (Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner and Lev Vygotsky) describe the importance of social collaboration and cultural influences that affect learning and develop mental activity [3]. Prezi encourages users to work together and share their ideas, including: a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube account, a LinkedIn account and a discussion forum [1]. Prezi’s social collaboration is further encouraged through scaffolding. Prezi encourages scaffolding by sharing Prezitations with other users. In particular, users can either view others Prezis for ideas or receive feedback and improve their own presentations.[3] Along with being adjusted after the fact, a presenter can intentionally build a skeleton Prezi and have fellow learners contribute or students could have access to a class Prezi and work collaboratively their. Both options would facilitate the formation of a community of learners and knowledge networks.[4] Also, Prezi uses tutorials as a form of scaffolding to help users move through the Zone of Proximal Development.[3] Prezi, through the discussion forums and other communication also encourages higher-level thinking from their users. By encouraging reflection and self-regulation, Prezi is promoting constructivist ideas but also producing many amazing products and Prezis. [5]. Additionally, Prezi proudly encourages is multiple perspectives and multiple modes of representation [2]. By having users produce non-linear presentations with multiple options (text, images, video) users can be as creative and free in their own thinking and Prezitations. Educators look at creating conditions in which learners can become engaged in a constructivist learning environment and the developers of Prezi, whether intentional or not, are using many constructivist principles.

Prezi as a Tool for Learners and for Learning

Prezi is a wonderful tool for educators as it affords itself as both a technology for learners, and a technology for learning (Mouza & Lavigne, 2013)[6]

As a technology for learning, it affords a creative way to engage and instruct. Illustrating concepts while moving and zooming from the ‘big-picture’ to the ‘little-picture’ allows for spatial design that can help students understand the breadth and scope of large topics. A Prezi presentation’s structure can help educators set learning goals and outcomes by creating initial ‘small-picture’ concepts in introduction frames, and then create an overview and review of topics that helps students relate to the ‘big-picture’ in a more engaging and spatially stimulating way when compared to traditional linear slide based presentations. Prezi’s cloud based platform affords learning and participation anywhere there is internet access and an internet browser. The ability for remote collaboration and remote presentations helps to further participation, helping to close the participation gap described by Jenkins (Jenkins et all, 2009)[7].

Prezi and Constructionism

As a technology for learners, Prezi affords students the ability to create and build their own understanding of several elements of design, which can be related to Seymor Papert’s theory of Constructionism (Papert & Harel, 1991)[8]. While creating their own presentations, students can build understanding of visual design, the relationship between time, space and scope, and the elements of flow and structure within a narrative. With the cloud-based collaboration, multiple students can work on a project simultaneously, creating multiple versions of a Prezi, allowing for creation, reflection, and revision in an iterative design process (Brennan & Resnick, 2013)[9]. 

Education Examples

The following is a brief Prezi describing main ideas about the theory of evolution.

File:Evolution Prei.png


Eloise Knowlton, author of "The Hand and the Hammer: A Brief Critique of the Overhead Projector," argues that presentation technology changes the relationship between the educator, the content, and the learners. Information is valued more when it is projected as opposed to when it is verbalized. The implication is that content shared verbally will not be taken seriously or considered valuable. In contrast, information projected is perceived to have more relevance or educational significance than may actually be the case. [10]

Visual Artifacts and Stop Motion


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2
  2. 2.0 2.1 Driscoll, M.P. (2005). Chapter 11 - Constructivism. Psychology of Learning for Instruction (p. 384-407). Toronto, ON: Pearson.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Miller, P.H. (2002). Vygotsky’s socio-cultural approach. Theories of Developmental Psychology 4th Ed. (p. 367-296). New York: Worth.
  4. Scardamalia, M. & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer support for knowledge-building communities. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(3), 265-283.
  5. Herrington, J., & Oliver, R. (1998). Using situated learning and multimedia to promote higher-order thinking. World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
  6. Mouza, C., & Lavigne, N. C. (2013). Introduction to emerging technologies for the classroom: A learning sciences perspective. In Emerging technologies for the classroom (pp. 1-12). Springer New York..
  7. Jenkins, H., Purushotma, R., Weigel, M., Clinton, K., & Robison, A. J. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Mit Press.
  8. Papert, S., & Harel, I. (1991). Situating constructionism. Constructionism, 36, 1-11.
  9. Brennan, K., & Resnick, M. (2013). Imagining, creating, playing, sharing, reflecting: How online community supports young people as designers of interactive media. In Emerging technologies for the classroom (pp. 253-268). Springer New York.
  10. Knowlton, E. (1992). The hand and the hammer: A brief critique of the overhead projector. Feminist Teacher, 6(2), 21-23, 41. Library Portal Access.

External links

Official Website

Prezi on Wikipedia

Prezi For Dummies [1]

Main Page