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The Prezi Book of Style

The practical guide for Prezi writers

Prezi David Hooker

on 5 December 2018

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Transcript of The Prezi Book of Style

Active, not passive
The active voice adds clarity, creates a humbler tone, and uses fewer words.
The subject acts in the active voice.
With the passive voice, the subject is acted upon.
Passive: The event was presented by Peter Arvai.

Active: Peter Arvai presented the event.
They are unsophisticated, overused, and unclean.
Don't tolerate ambiguity
You know what you mean, so make sure your readers do too. If something can be read two ways, write it again.
I wholeheartedly recommend this person with no qualifications whatsoever.
Are there no qualifications to your recommendation? Are you recommending a person that has no qualifications?
Things to Avoid
Comma splices
Both of these things are untidy.
Drew didn't walk; he ran.
Drew didn't walk. He ran.
Chris worked on the video edit, David redesigned the newsletter.
Chris worked on the video. David redesigned the newsletter
Chris worked on the video while David redesigned the newsletter.
Exclamation Points!!!
Use parentheses to clarify
They can also be used to add necessary but supplementary information that does not fit grammatically. The Chicago Manual of Style describes them as stronger than a comma and similar to a dash.
Prezi donated five hundred dollars ($500) to charity.
The final presentation (delivered to a rowdy audience) was a big success.
Use parentheses instead of periods to enclose numbers in lists that are not vertical.
We employee people who can (1) think quickly, (2) sense what a customer needs, and (3) handle complaints from the public.
Remember our philosophy is to be and to keep text and punctuation to a minimum. Always ask yourself if parentheses are the best solution to the problem. Never put more than one clause in parentheses.
We prefer to use words.
Don't insert symbols into text as a shortcut. Take the time to add a few keystrokes.
The file is < 20MB.
The file is less than 20 megabytes.
An ampersand (&) within titles is sometimes a cleaner choice.
Modern, not classical
Show colloquial awareness
Lighter grammar for lighter channels
We follow the Chicago Manual of Style for all of our grammatical considerations unless there is an exception detailed in this prezi.
Be Consistent & Correct
This could have been offset with dashes, but the parentheses allow the information outside to take on greater prominence.
Note on Parentheses:
Chicago tells us that if the punctuation belongs to the sentence preceding the parentheses, then it is placed outside of them.
Prezi donated five hundred dollars ($500.)
Prezi donated five hundred dollars ($500).
Prezi Words
a prezi
a portable prezi
Prezi for iPad
Prezi Viewer for iPhone
Prezi for Windows/Mac
Prezi Ambassador
Prezi Expert
Enjoy License
Pro License
Edu Enjoy License
Edu Pro License
a Prezi educational license
Multiple Licenses
a PEZ file
a prezumé
You can prezent offline with Prezi Desktop.
The Good
The Bad & the Ugly
a Prezi
Prezi Viewer
Prezi for the iPad
Prezi for the iPhone
Prezi for Windows / Mac
Student Ambassadors
an Expert when it comes to Prezi
a .pez file
Never refer to the company as Prezi.com. This term is just for the website.
The company and the product
A document
This is the position title WE use.
This is not.
We use the Merriam-Webster dictionary for definitions and spelling.
OK not
BA / BSc
Chicago might list BS as the official abbreviation of Bachelor of Sciences, but it's also listed in the Urban Dictionary
1.1 Who Will Use It
1.1-4 Use of the Prezi Book of Style
Who will use it
Anyone who writes about Prezi, particularly in external-facing communication

Every new hire will receive the Book of Style as part of the onboarding process: Team leads will provide to all new hires on their first day.

Refer to the Table of Contents for specific topics and path points.

Good examples are in dark blue.
Examples of what we hope to avoid are in red.
2.2 Sources
How to Use
Table of Contents
Practical Guidelines for Writing at Prezi
The Prezi Book of Style
When to use it
All Prezi team members who will be communicating about Prezi should read through this guide as part of his or her orientation.

This guide is meant to be a source book for common style issues that arise when writing for our UI, website, public relations, social media, and manual. Refer to the Table of Contents for help with specific questions.
Who oversees the Book of Style?
This is a living document that will grow with our company. It is maintained and developed by various contributors who all have the same goal: Producing the very best written content for Prezi.

David Hooker is the point person for all questions regarding Prezi style and additions to this style guide.

Contact him at david.hooker@prezi.com
Need Examples
Whenever we write something for Prezi, and for whatever reason, we are guided by the three core principles of our brand guidelines:
These guide us in everything we do. This document is designed to give you practical guidelines and useful examples of how we apply these three concepts across a number of written disciplines.
2. The Guiding Principles of Prezi Style
Text and punctuation are kept to a minimum.

Show, don't tell.

Evoke a sense of space.

Don't preempt, avoid affirming irrevocable statements. Let people know our vision but allow space for others, there's no such thing as one truth.

Writers have a duty to our sense of design. This means that we don't leave text hanging.
Be honest. Don't dramatize or overstate. We have an amazing product, give it space to speak for itself.

Keep sentences simple and efficient. If you have three clauses in a sentence, that's probably too many.

Don't show off. Our work is accessible and we use words that people know and understand.
Write for our audience
Prezi is an international product. Stay aware of words that may not be understood by people whose first language is not English.

For example, the meaning of the word "store" (especially when used as a verb) is not commonly understood by international audiences.

There are tools available online to check how easily understood your work is. Here is one that our UX team uses: http://www.lextutor.ca/vp/eng/
Store content in your library
Add content to your library
Keep content in your library
Therefore not
We value technology through
what people actually do with it.
Keep technological words to a minimum.
Don't appear aloof or geeky.
Don't assume knowledge
4. Language: Audience, American English & Foreign Languages
( )
" "
Italics are a stylish way to tip our literary hats to a number of things.
Foreign words:
Quotation and
Quotation Marks
Use ellipses to condense information or create the impression that something is in progress.

The primary use of an ellipsis is to replace text that you have removed from a quotation. Always keep the meaning of the quote intact. Follow the Chicago style and have a space between each dot of your ellipsis. This may require altering the settings in your word processing software.
A ellipsis without spaces can be used on Prezi's user interface to give the impression that something is happening and the user needs to wait or that the user has some browsing to do.
“I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice . . . will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.”
An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a long pause or lost train of thought.
“Here is my secret . . . I once stabbed a man using a trident.”
The UI is the ONLY place that an ellipsis should be used in these ways.
Useful for condensing long quotations.
Useful for showing that a speaker paused.
Save As...
PART TWO: Style and Usage
PART ONE: Purpose & How to Use
Some words do, some words don't. For more info on why, see Chicago Manual of Style 6.91.

For quick reference, see below or use Merriam-Webster.
Log in (verb)
Log-in (noun)
Log out (verb)

These contradict M-W, but we have good reason.
There's no such thing as a logout.
Links to Additional Prezi Guides:
Branding Guidelines:
prezi guidelines:



Right-hand side
My left hand
3. Grammar & Usage
American English
More of the world is familiar with US English.
ize not
color not
flavor not
center not
fries not
chips not
exclamation points not
exclamation marks
periods not
full stops
Clauses with which are always proceeded by a comma.
We decided to use American English, which didn't please our British staff.
PART THREE: Punctuation
Text should follow the Chicago style for quotation marks: All punctuation is placed within double quotation marks.
“Prezi is helping reinvent the art of presentation. Farewell, one-dimensional thinking."
The ONLY exceptions to this are the manual and the user interface. In these cases we follow the Oxford style of placing only the text that is being quoted within single quotation marks.
Next, click on 'Settings'.
We do this because it is cleaner and more truthful. We also embolden the typeface for these elements within the manual, which helps users find the information they are looking for. We don't use just a bold typeface as it is not always available (e.g. when creating a Prezi, or within the user interface). This also allows us to use bold for emphasis.
Notes on Quotations
Use an em dash to show a break in dialogue.
“David, I honestly don't know why you—”
“Stop, Chris. I will add soda to my wine if I want to.”
Prezi style also includes an em dash at the end of a quotation before the attribution.
"A marvelous approach to the visualization of information."
— Rob Campbell, Founder, PowerPoint
New line
Oxford commas ensure comprehension

1. Chris got in the car with his girlfriend, a dancer and a lion tamer

2. Chris got in the car with his girlfriend, a dancer, and a lion tamer.

In the first sentence, Chris gets in the car with one (very interesting) person.

In the second sentence, Chris gets in the car with three people.
Use apostrophes for contractions and possessives.
For possessives, add an apostrophe and an s. If there is more than one possessor, add an apostrophe only.
Chris's beer
The puppies' paws
Note on Apostrophes:
Apostrophes are only used to denote plurals with lowercase letters.

x's and y's
Use recognized abbreviations only if you must, and follow the Chicago style.
et al.
4 AD
2012 BC
20:00 GMT
HTML code
DVD player
200 MB
MP3 device
USB port
my PC
OS version
See 10.1 and 10.52 for more abbreviations
TV shows:

1. Titles:
Every word in a title starts with a capital letter except conjunctions, articles, and prepositions.
Team names and job positions are also capitalized.
No periods in titles

2. Lists:
Capitalize the first letter of the first word and proper nouns only
No end periods for fragments and directives
A whole sentence placed within a list follows the normal rules of punctuation.

3. Closed punctuation (no spaces) for:
Em dashes--
"Quotation marks"
Ideas Matter.
Notes on Titles
There's never a period in the Prezi logo.

If it's a full sentence, it's probably not a good title

Subtitles that are directives are not full sentences. So only the first letter is capitalized and they do not end in periods.

Subtitles that are full descriptive sentences should be treated as such.
Join the Prezi revolution, today

Year-over-year growth
Prezi is a communication tool that helps you organize, present, and share your ideas.
Notes on Lists
Use a period after numbers in a numbered list
1. Chris Connick
2. Drew Banks
3. David Malpass
1 - Chris Connick
2 - Drew Banks
3 - David Malpass
1) Chris Connick
2) Drew Banks
3) David Malpass
Omit terminating periods from vertical lists
1. Some bread
2. A slab of cheese
3. Beans
1. Some bread.
2. A slab of cheese.
3. Beans.
Include a terminating period for step-by-step instructions
1. Open the folder.
2. Select the file.
3. Click 'delete'.
Adds finality to each step. Looks cleaner when accompanied by longer sentences. Also an industry standard.
PART ONE: Purpose and How to Use
PART TWO: Style & Usage
PART THREE: Punctuation
1. How to Use the Prezi Book of Style
1.2 When to Use It
1.3 Who to Contact with Questions/Additions
1.4 How to Use It & Navigate
2. Guiding Principles & Sources
PART ONE: Purpose and How to Use
PART TWO: Style & Usage
3. Grammar and Usage
5. Prezi-Specific Language & Common Errors
6. All Punctuation
6.1 Quotes & Quotation Marks
6.2 Parentheses
6.3 Italics
6.4 Ellipses
6.5 Hypens
6.6 Commas
6.7 Apostrophes
6.8 Symbols
6.9 Abbreviations
7. Miscellaneous
Language: Audience, American English & Foreign Languages
PART THREE: Punctuation
PART FOUR: Guidelines for Writing in Specific Mediums
8. Social
9. PR
10. Learn/Manual
PART FOUR: Guidelines for Writing in Specific Mediums
*Use one space following periods & colons.
Blog Guidelines:
Full transcript