As a key application within Microsoft Office, reviewed, PowerPoint is most people’s go-to program for putting together slides for a presentation. But it’s not the only tool available.

There are several alternatives such as the free LibreOffice Presentation and Google Docs that provides online creation and editing, but the end result is very similar to that which is achievable with PowerPoint. See also: What’s the best free word processor alternative to Microsoft Word?

Prezi, on the other hand, provides a totally new way of designing a presentation. Instead of a presentation being arranged as a sequence of slides, with Prezi it’s arranged hierarchically so that the presenter can show an overview and then zoom in on areas to provide more detail.

Why don’t you give it a try – your presentations will get a new lease of life. Here we use the free online Prezi editor but look at “Prezi – the Wider Picture’ to see the additional facilities available if you pay a subscription and how to access a presentation offline.

1. Sign up for a free Prezi Public account and login. Although you’ll have more flexibility by designing from scratch, here we’ll take the easier approach of using a template. Click on ‘New Prezi’, search through the templates, select your choice, and click on ‘Use template’.

Prezi step 1

2. An overview of a presentation, based on your chosen template, appears. Your first requirement is to give it a suitable title so click where it says ‘Click to add title’ and enter your text, selecting the font, size and colour accordingly.

Prezi step 2

3. Whichever template you choose, your presentation will appear as an overview with several areas you can zoom into. Double click to zoom into one and click on ‘Click to add text’. Now add the main body text for that part of your presentation.

Prezi step 3

4. When you zoom in you’ll also see titles for that part of your presentation but no instruction to click on it. However, if you do click on it, buttons appear to make it larger or smaller, delete it or edit it. Change it as necessary.

Prezi step 4

5. If you want to add an image to this part of the presentation, click on the ‘Image + text’ button. An image will appear but you’ll normally want to change it so click on ‘Replace image’ and select your image. You can also select to have an image with no text.

Prezi step 5

6. Use the navigation bar at the left to move around your presentation or back to the overview. Complete your presentation by entering text and adding images into each section. Also, try changing the background by right clicking on the background, selecting ‘Change background’ and then ‘3D background’.

Prezi step 6

7. When you’re done, or if you just want to save it to complete later, click on the Exit button at the top right of the screen. You don’t need to give it a filename as it will use the title you provided in Step 2.

Prezi step 7

8. Later, to present your creation, login and open your presentation, click on ‘Present online’ and then on ‘Start online presentation’. The overview will appear and you can zoom into any section by clicking on it. Click again to zoom back out.

Prezi step 8

Next page: everything you need to know about Prezi's paid-for subscriptions.