Beamer for latex

Standar beamer appearance

Standard beamer appearance

Incredible presentations in LaTeX!
Those of us used to LaTeX know of its incredible performance, but also of its limitations. It being a typesetting program, it basically does what it wants with your input. Thus, it is in principle hard to apply to obvious wysiwyg situations, such as posters (some other entry!) and presentations. Nevertheless, some tools are available for this task. Advantages:
  • Nice, portable, pdf output (unlike Power Point, whose “surprises” are well known).
  • Gorgeous font, specially in equations
  • Very simple “overlay” operations (disclosing a slide little by little)
  • Several nice “themes” to choose from
  • automatic TOCs, navigation, bibliography…
  • Small, compact, ascii source code

In essence, beamer makes it very easy to produce simple, clean presentations that are typically sufficient for a scientific meeting. Example code, adapted from the project’s website.


\title{Example Presentation Created with the Beamer Package}
\author{Till Tantau}




\subsection{Overview of the Beamer Class}
  \frametitle{Features of the Beamer Class}

  \item<1-> Normal LaTeX class.
  \item<2-> Easy overlays.
  \item<3-> No external programs needed.

OK, for a LaTeX user the code does not need much explaining. Except for the “\item<#” things. These are overlay instructions, telling beamer that item 1 should be displayed first, then the next one (while keeping item 1 visible, hence the “less than”), then the final one. When not displayed, this choice keeps the next ones barely visible, and grayed. The result of this simple code is already quite stunning (similar to the capture above).

Things it cannot do: actual animations, as far as I know. The usual Power Point stuff: text and figures dancing around it and out the screen. Many of us hate this features and find them distracting, so won’t regret them not being available. However, there are some instances in which animated graphs or movies are really helpful. As far as I know, these cannot be displayed due to the fact that the final output of beamer is a standard pdf file. All it can do is link to local files (or external URLs) to launch the appropriate viewer, if available.

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