Non-linear presentations without Prezi!

When you ask most presenters about presentation software that can give non-linear presentations (i.e. not PowerPoint / Keynote), most of them will tell you about Prezi and start expounding on how fantastic it is.  Don’t misunderstand me, Prezi is fantastic.  Unfortunately since Prezi is online and most of my business presentations contain confidential information, my use of Prezi is limited.  Of course there is Prezi Desktop now, though I must admit, I haven’t actually tried that yet.

What I have found recently though, is a open source program called Sozi.  (Picture taken from the Sozi website)sozi

Sozi allows you to animate inkscape (*.SVG) drawings.  For those of you that cannot yet see how a drawing could become a presentation, bear with me.  I quote the makers themselves:

Documents produced by Inkscape and Sozi can be displayed and animated by web browsers supporting the SVG format, and the Javascript language. The user can control the presentation using the mouse and keyboard.

Sound good so far?

As an example, I’ve create the following drawing using Inkscape.  Unfortunately WordPress doesn’t allow for the uploading of SVG files.  So instead, I’ve uploaded the sample file to my Google Drive account.  You can download the sample file here. Imagine you have a map of the world showing some results:


Let’s say that normally this would be shown on slide 1.  Then you want to show Europe’s results in more detail as a bar chart:


Then you want to go back to the map and perhaps and then after that, show some interesting statistics about gender distribution in your team:


The idea is to simply create the images (slides) you would use in Inkscape and of course you can have one drawing flowing into another if you so wish!

So you’ve created your drawings in an Inkscape file.  “What do I do now?” you ask.  The first thing you need to do is to draw rectangles around each of your “slides” in the Inkscape file.  Note, your rectangles don’t have to be the same size or to be evenly distributed!

Sozi example

Then select the first rectangle you wish to be slide one and open up the Sozi extension (note you need to have installed Sozi first – see technical notes at the end).  Wait for the extension to work and then adjust the parameters.  I recommend ensuring that hide is selected as this will hide the actual rectangle and just show the elements behind it instead.  If you want the slide to automatically move on, change the Disabled button to Enabled. There is a full explanation on the different settings on the Sozi website here.  I’ve mostly kept the default settings and then pressed the  OK button.

slide 1

Continue selecting and then adding your rectangles until you’ve added them all.  Then save your Inkscape document and close it.  Right click on the file and open in in your internet browser.  And voila, your animated presentation!  You can add zoom effects etc and adjust the transitions as well.

Once again, the example file I used can be found here on Google Drive.  What do you think?  My example is quite linear, but some of the examples on the Sozi website are infinitely better and very non-linear!  Good luck!

Alesandra Blakeston

Technical Notes: There are a few things that need to be installed on your machine other than Inkscape e.g. python, but most Inkscape users will have installed most if not all of them already.  Either way, full details can be found here.  Sozi is actually an extension to Inkscape, so all you actually need to do once you’ve got the other parts installed is simply to extract the files to the extension folder of Inkscape.  Once done, you can open up Inkscape and find Sozi in the main menu under extensions.

8 thoughts on “Non-linear presentations without Prezi!

  1. Hi Alesandra, thank you for this information, I will have to check it out. I enjoy making my presentation and have taken a look at Prezi. I like using pictures to drive my points, but there are times when good comparison graphics are necessary. Have a great Wednesday 🙂

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