Import PowerPoint to Prezi with Style: 10 Steps, 20 Minutes

Prezi offers a great function to simply import PowerPoint presentations. But if you want to do it with style, follow these 10 steps…

(Note: In this post, I have used my Cefora HRM Day PPT presentation on new ways of learning as the working example. Have a look at that first, then check out my finished Prezi presentation here – its simple, but nice.)

 

First of all, when you make your PowerPoint document to begin with, don’t forget to follow the basic rules:

You need to have a clear message, structure and content in your PowerPoint before you import to Prezi. If you have that, let’s get started!

 

Step 1: Start from a blank canvas

The purpose of this post is to show you how to easily create good visual style and good structure in your Prezi. So don’t pick a Prezi template when you start. Ignore all the templates and click on “blank”.

 

Step 2: Delete that first default Prezi frame

I mean the big circle frame. You don’t need it…

delete first default prezi frame

 

Step 3: Import your PowerPoint with “grid layout” template

The whole point of this post is that too many people are using the same Prezi standard layouts when they import their PowerPoints. Its not that they are bad, but chances are you are using Prezi instead of PowerPoint because you want to be original. And too many people have already used all those layouts.

With some small effort and the tips in this post, its easy to do SO MUCH BETTER. So ignore all the choices it offers:

  • Using the “insert” button, choose “PowerPoint” and locate your file.
  • Be patient with the upload, it takes a while…
  • When the slides are shown on the right of the canvas, choose “insert all” at the top
  • When presented with the different layouts possible, choose “grid layout” – this will give you the best overview of all your slides
  • Keep the path between your slide for now
  • Click the green arrow

import ppt prezi grid layout

 

Step 4: Move individual slides to bring a first structure to your presentation

Now you can see all your slides, you can apply some simple structure.

  • Move your slides around on the canvas so that slide that go together are together – do this by dragging the frame around. Be careful not to change the size yet!
  • If like me you have generic first slides (title slide, company template slide, agenda) get those out of the way for now…
  • Use the canvas space freely at this point – we can fix that later

prezi group ppt slides for structure

 

Step 5: Put some nice colourful frames around those groups of slides and name the sections/categories

Again, if you prepared your PowerPoint well, you probably know what these presentation sections/categories are all about. But your audience doesn’t, so you can name them now…

  • Use the “add frame” function to put a frame around several of your slides – make it a solid frame
  • Double click above the canvas near one of your sections/categories and add some text to name that section/category
  • ..then drag the text into the new solid coloured frame
  • Repeat per section until you have something like this – starting to look good !

prezi ppt structure with frames

 

Step 6: Add your new section/category frames to the pathway and put them in the “right” place.

That means:

  • Click on “edit path”
  • Click on each of your new frames so they are added to the path (navigation bar)
  • Move the new frames to their correct position in the pathway. For example, if your first section/category is called “A” and consists of slides 1, 2, 3 put your “A” frame in front of 1, 2, 3. And if section/category “B”  consists of slides 4, 5, 6, put your “B” frame after “3” and before 4, 5, 6….

 

Step 7: Add a presentation title to your canvas

I am going to put all my content IN my core message. Its cool – you’ll see what I mean later, but first:

  • Be sure you know what your message is. If you didn’t do that before you made your PowerPoint, you probably need some “Presentation Skills” training with me. 🙂
  • Zoom out a little bit on your canvas and move to somewhere blank
  • Double click somewhere on the canvas to add some big text
  • Write the message title of your presentation

 

Step 8: Choose a nice template for your Prezi – one with good “hole-y” font styles

To achieve true style when you import your PowerPoint to Prezi, it would be good to have a font style that nicely lends itself to putting frames inside it. You are looking for something with holes in it, like I found in my example with the “pastel theme” subtitle font…

  • Click on “template” and choose your template
  • You can customise fonts if you want to
  • Find a font that has some holes in it – in a minute, we are going to place our “slides” inside those holes….
  • You will see that your “presentation title” (step 7) has now been updated to the new font
  • ..and your section/category frames may have a different colour

 

Step 9: Place your section/category frames inside the text, rotating a little as necessary

As I said in my previous post on Prezi structure, it is important to use the different dimensions and rotation possibilities in the right way. I think that navigation within sub-parts of a Prezi presentation should be done gently and big structural changes can be more dramatic. To achieve what I did in my Prezi here, start by rotating some of those big solid section/category frames you made earlier to fit them into your text

  • Have a look in your “presentation title” text for a nice place to put one of your big section/category frames
  • Click on a frame
  • Rotate it to align with a gap in the font
  • Drag it to where you want in the text

 

Step 10: Nurse your individual frames to perfection and finalise your pathway

You will see that Prezi does some odd things to your original PowerPoint slides when it imports them onto the canvas and you will need to spend some time finishing up now. If you had an extremely simple PowerPoint (no objects, just text always the same size) then things will probably be OK. But if not, you may like me find that some objects are now in the background, text may have moved, shapes may be screwed-up… You will need to fix that now before you finalise your pathway. Here is a list of things I had to do:

  • Put some text back in the foreground (right-click and “bring to front”)
  • Delete some things that looked good in PowerPoint, but are terrible in Prezi – eg: my Excel-generated graph, which is now a completely different image
  • Replace some PowerPoint objects with Prezi’s own objects – eg: the arrows on my graph

 

There is a lot more you COULD do to improve this Prezi – I added some fade-in effects and a little more pathway movement. And because my Prezi is for a long conference, I put the “presentation title” text in-between each section/category as a transition to remind us of the general point from time-to-time.

But I promised 10 steps and 20 minutes, so that’s it for now.

 

If you followed my steps, your Prezi will be far more original and stylish than all the other standard PowerPoint imported Prezis out there…

To close, here are 2 links for more information on some of the things I did above:

 

Good luck!

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About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on March 24, 2013, in Presentation Skills, Prezi and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Interesting approach. I normally use PowerPoint for my classes but not Prezi yet because I didn’t know the way to import my existing presentations, but seems this is a good solution. Thanks.

    • Good luck with it.

      You can always use the “simple” Prezi import solution as well. One or two clicks and it’s all done.

      I just think its better to put the extra effort described here .

      Thanks for your comment!
      D

  2. Hi Dan,

    In my opinion this Prezi tool is too much, it is fun for 2minutes but an entire presentation makes me feel sick. As S.Jobs mentioned “people who know what they’re talking about, don’t need PowerPoint”. I think slides are just there to create an atmosphere,…

    Cheers!

    AR
    ps: it’s me again 🙂

    • Hi Arnaud,

      Well, I agree with what Jobs said. Its all about having a clear message, structure and minimum effective dose of content. That comes first!

      But for people who want to differentiate their presentations (eg at a conference) or be more creative (eg: ad agency) or have something that works as a stand-alone presentation with sound and commentary, Prezi is great.

      And if you haven’t see someone actually present with it (only seeing examples online) then don’t forget that the movement is normally spread over time when people speak, meaning no sea-sickness at all. Example: My Prezi presentation is for a conference that lasts about 90 minutes, meaning the movement is not making people sick at all. What it DOES do (if done well) is reinforce the structure of the presentation with good transitions. Steve Jobs would achieve the same thing by moving on stage – ie: for a second part of his presentation, he might go to the other side of the stage. Same thing here…

      ANYWAY: You are entitled to your opinion, of course 🙂

      Thanks for commenting. If you ever do try Prezi yourself, check out the other posts for more support, especially on sea-sickness and structure.
      * 15 best Prezi tips –> https://dansteer.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/the-15-best-prezi-tips-i-found-today
      * 7 more tips –> https://dansteer.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/another-7-best-prezi-tips
      * How to structure your Prezi well –> https://dansteer.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/prezi-structure-tips

      See you at the 20km BXL (although you won’t see me 🙂
      D

  3. I’m starting with Prezi this week after reading the post. First time I saw a Prezi presentation it seemed difficult, so I’m curious to try it for myself. I will keep you posted!

  4. Nice post. If you are looking for free powerpoint templates and backgrounds, you can find them here: http://www.spidertemplates.com/

  5. hi team
    When I am importing text getting mismatch and design which is made in ppt, template nothing is visible in prezi.

    How can I get ppt into prezi as it is

    • IMO the PPT function is pretty poor in Prezi, not very compatible.

      Honestly, although my post here tells you how to use it, I think you would do better to start from scratch with a blank Prezi.

      Otherwise, keep your PPT slides very light.

      Final best solution if you really want to import slides would be to save each of the slides as individual images (in PPT, “save as”) and import them instead of the PPT file.

      Hope this helps.

      Sorry the delay in my reply!
      D

  6. I did all of this, which took a while, and got to # 8 (choose a template). It will not let you choose a template after the fact. The only way to do it now is to copy and paste and even then it will not copy and paste everything. You have to go back in and put your frames, animations, etc. What a waste of time. I’m frustrated. I thought I finally found a really good step by step tutorial. Ugh!

    • Hey J Wheeler. That’s my bad… I didn’t mean to write choose a template but choose a THEME.

      I’m sorry you wasted your time. If you still have the work, choose a theme and you. An change background colours, fonts etc..

      The template is for a frame-by-frame set-up of Prezi, which a) I don’t think Ida’s good as following my other steps and b) is something you would do (if you did it) at the start..

      Sorry again
      Let me know how it works out
      (I will update my post another day)

      Good luck!

  1. Pingback: The 27 Best Prezi Tips I Found Today | dansteer

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