Mastering the Newer Prezi Features

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Templates

There will always be time restraints put on us when building any business presentation. Mostly these will be pretty unrealistic time restraints as well.

If you do find yourself against the clock when building a Prezi, then why not give yourself a slight advantage and use one of Prezi’s templates to get your design started. There are lots of templates you can chose from and here’s how to make the most out of them when the clock is ticking.

The templates

When you create any new Prezi online or in the desktop editor, you’ll be presented with a choice of template as shown in the following screenshot:

Before you decide which one to choose, you can explore them by simply selecting one and clicking the Preview button. You can see in the following screenshot that we’ve selected the Our Project template.

Rolling your mouse over a template’s thumbnail will show you some more details as well to help you choose.

At the top of the screen, you’ll see the options to either Start Editing or go Back to the templates screen. Before you make your choice, have a look around the template preview and check out all of the various objects available to you. Zoom in and out of certain areas that look interesting and use the arrows in the bottom right to go through the template’s path and see how it flows.

In the following screenshot, you can see that we’ve zoomed in to take a closer look at the assets included in this template:

As you can see in the preceding screenshot, the Our Project template has some lovely assets included. The assets you’ll be able to use in the template are images and sketches such as the Doodles that you can see in the top right of the screenshot. All of these assets can be moved around and used anywhere on your canvas.

If you preview a template and decide it’s the right one for you to use, then just click the Start Editing button to go into edit mode and begin building your Prezi.

Getting the most from templates

Once you go into edit mode, don’t think that you’re stuck with how everything is laid out. You can (and should) move things around to fit with the message you’re trying to deliver to your audience.

Paths

The very first thing we’d suggest is clicking on the Paths button and taking a look at how the Prezi flows. The whole reason you’re using a template is because you’re pushed for time, but you should know how many frames you need and how many different areas you’ll want to focus on in your presentation before you get started. If you do, then you can adjust the paths, add new path points, or delete some that are there already.

Assets

All of the templates, especially Our Project, will come with various assets included. Use them wherever you can. It’ll save you lots of time searching for your own imagery if you can just move the existing assets around.

As shown in the preceding screenshot, you are totally free to resize any asset in a template. Make the most of them and save yourself a whole heap of time.

Branding

The only down side of using templates is that they of course won’t have any of your company colors, logo, or branding on them. This is easily fixed by using the Colors & Fonts|Theme Wizard found in the bubble menu.

On the very first screen of the wizard, click the Replace Logo button to add your company logo. The logo must be a JPEG file no bigger than 250 pixels wide and 100 pixels high. Clicking the button will allow you to search for your logo and it will then be placed in the bottom left-hand corner of your Prezi at all times. On this screen, you can also change the background color of your entire canvas.

On the next screen of the wizard, we recommend you switch to Manual mode by clicking the option in the bottom-left corner. In this screen, you can select the fonts to use in your Prezi. At the present time, Prezi still has only a limited number of fonts but we’re confident you can find something close to the one your company uses.

The reason we suggest switching to manual mode is because you’ll be able to use your corporate colors for the fonts you select, and also on the frames and shapes within the Prezi.

You’ll need to know the RGB color values specified in your corporate branding.

By using this final step, you’ll get all the benefits of having an already designed Prezi without getting told off by your marketing team for going against their strict branding guidelines.

Shapes

A very simple element of the Prezi bubble menu which gets overlooked a lot is the InsertShapes| option. In this part of the article, we’ll look at some things you may not have known about how shapes work within Prezi.

Shortcut for shapes
To quickly enter the Shapes menu when working in the Prezi canvas, just press the S key on your keyboard.

Get creative

In the first part of this chapter, we looked at the assets from a template called OurProject. Some of those assets were the line drawings shown below the male and female characters.

When you see these “Doodles” as they’re titled, you might think they’ve been drawn in some kind of graphics package and inserted into the Prezi canvas as you would anything else. On closer inspection in edit mode, you can see that each of the characters is actually made up of different lines from the Shapes menu.

This is a great use of the line tool and we’d encourage you to try and create your own simple drawings wherever you can. These can then be reused over time, and will in turn save you lots of time searching for imagery via the Google image insert. Let’s say that we want to add some more detail to the male character. Maybe we’ll give him a more exciting hair style to replace the boring one that he has at the moment.

  1. First select the current hairline and delete it from the character’s head.
  2. Now select the line tool from the Shapes menu and let’s give this guy a flat top straight from the 80’s.
  3. One of our lines is too long on the right. To adjust it, simply double-click to enter edit mode and drag the points to the right position as shown in the following screenshot:
  4. So there we have a great example of how to quickly draw your own image on the Prezi canvas by just using lines. It’s an excellent feature of Prezi and as you can see, it’s given our character a stunning new look.

It’s a shame his girlfriend doesn’t think so too!

Editing shapes

In step three of giving our character a new haircut, you saw the edit menu which is accessed by a simple double-click. You can use the edit function on all items in the shapes menu apart from the Pencil and Highlighter tools. Any shape can be double-clicked to change its size and color as shown in the following screenshot.

You can see that all of the shapes on the left have been copied and then edited to change their color and size. The edited versions on the right have all been double- clicked and one of the five extra available colors have been selected. The points of each shape have also been clicked on and dragged to change the dimensions of the shape.

Holding the Shift key will not keep your shapes to scale. If you want to scale the shapes up or down, we recommend you use the transformation zebra by clicking the plus (+) or minus (-) signs.

Editing lines

When editing lines or arrows, you can change them from being straight to curved by dragging the center point in any direction.

This is extremely useful when creating the line drawings we saw earlier. It’s also useful to get arrows pointing at various objects on your canvas.

Highlighter

The highlighter tool from the shapes menu is extremely useful for pointing out key pieces of information like in the interesting fact shown in the following screenshot:

Just drag it across the text you’d like to highlight. Once you’ve done that the highlighter marks become objects in their own right, so you can use the transformation zebra to change their size or position as shown in the following screenshot:

Pencil

The pencil tool can be used to draw freehand sketches like the one shown in the following screenshot. If you hadn’t guessed it yet, our drawing is supposed to represent a brain which links to the interesting fact about ants.

The pencil tool is great if you’re good at sketching things out with your mouse. But if like us, your art skills need a little more work, you might want to stick to using the lines and shapes to create imagery!

To change the color of your highlighter or pencil drawings, you will need to go into the Theme Wizard and edit the RGB values. This will help you keep things within your corporate branding guidelines again.

Drawings and diagrams

Another useful new feature and a big time saver within the Prezi insert menu are drawings and diagrams. You can locate the drawings and diagrams templates by clicking the button in-between YouTube and File from the Insert menu.

There are twelve templates to choose from and each has been given a name that best describes their purpose. Rolling over each thumbnail will show you a little more detail to help you choose the right one. Once you have chosen, double-click the thumbnail and then decide where to place your drawing on the canvas. You can see in the following screenshot that the drawing or diagram is grouped together and will not become active until you click the green tick.

Once you make the drawing active, you can access all of its frames, text, and any other elements that are included. In the following screenshot, you can see that we’ve zoomed into a section of the tree diagram.

You can see in the preceding screenshot that the diagram uses lines, circular frames, and text which can all be edited in any way you like. This is the case for all of the diagrams and drawings available from the menu.

Using these diagrams and drawings gives you a great chance to explain concepts and ideas to your colleagues with ease. You can see from the preceding screenshot that there’s a good range of useful drawings and diagrams that you’re used to seeing in business presentations. You can easily create organograms, timelines for projects, or business processes and cycles, simply by using the templates available and inserting your own content and imagery.

By using the Theme wizard explained earlier in this chapter, you can make sure your drawings and diagrams use your corporate colors.

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