The biggest bugbear of using Prezi at the moment is, besides the rubbish Prezi Next which they seem keen to push at the expense of an otherwise excellent Classic is the lack of animated loops. When they dropped the flash player, they dropped support for .swf files and they absolutely refuse, despite repeated user requests from users (and especially me) to implement Animated Gifs. For some users, it’s starting to be a show-stopper and I am losing patience with them.
However, there is a solution, but it’s a) not pretty and b) needs pre-planning, so you can’t just make it up on the fly, you have to work out what you need because there is no going back
It involves creating either a Virtual Machine, or you could just have an old machine to dedicate to the task. I chose the former because my main PC is powerful and I didn’t have a spare.
1. Install VirtualBox
Other Virtual Machine systems are available, but I chose the Free Oracle VirtualBox because… it’s free. You will need a Windows CD or an ISO file of a Windows Install which you obtained from bittorrent or elsewhere. Stay legal is my advice and use what you are licensed to use.
Create a Windows Virtual Machine. I chose Windows 7 because it is fast and stable and I had the appropriate license for it.
2. Install an Old Version of Prezi Desktop inside your Virtual Machine
I managed to find a copy of Prezi 4.4.0 on the web which you can download from here.
This is a very early version, and is straight in the editor, but it works. When you log in, the system will offer to upgrade you to the latest version DO NOT DO THIS EVER.
3. Plan what swfs you want to use
This is the hard part, because once you have created an old Prezi document, it can’t be read back if a newer version has touched it. So… you either need to do it ALL inside the old version and only export it when you are completely finished or you need to plan in advance exactly what you need and load them all in to the system. It doesn’t matter where they go, because you can move them around, frame them, reveal them and manipulate them in the latest version, but ONLY if they have been loaded in by the old editor.
Save the Prezi as a .pez file.
Make sure it’s what you need because there is no going back.
4. Edit the Saved Prezi in the Latest Version
You can then edit the Prezi on your non-Virtual Machine to your heart’s content and manipulate them swfs as before. The reason you need another real machine or Virtual Machine is that the old and the new editors will not reside on the same copy of Windows, otherwise this would be very easy!
If you find that there is an essential swf that you have forgotten, there is another way of getting an animation into a new Prezi: Create a Prezi in the old version, save it and then open it in the new version THEN cut and paste the object from your old-version-Prezi into your new-version-Prezi. So, despite what I said earlier, you can add if you forget something earlier.
What I expect to do, however is to take ALL of the swfs I want to use and put them in one big old-school-Prezi so that I can cut-and-paste them at leisure into my new Prezis.