slideshow presentation

Peter Rayner peter.rayner at
Sun Apr 22 14:26:27 UTC 2007

C.M. Brannon writes:
>Hi listers,
>I have to give a slideshow presentation for my database design class
>next week.  I understand that TeX can be used to generate pdf slides
>(with texpower or other addon packages).
>Does anyone have much experience with this?
I suspect you'll find there's *lots* of experience of doing this on
the list.  Probably everyone does it a different way.  I think there
are at least four standard latex classes   for doing this:
1) the slides class which comes with the core latex  distribution
2) the foils class which one needs to download and which is better
suited  to direct pdf generation.
3) the prosper class which seems to allow more pdf effects and
4) the beamer class which seems to be pretty widely used but which
I've not tried.

I use foils myself.  Here's the text for a talk I gave last week.  
% the following just ensures I can handle graphics, colour and the
naming of urls 
% the following is important to include graphics in your pdf
% the following is less important unless you want to wrap figures
%around text.  My experience is I need sighted help to make this work
% dimensions for on-screen presentation
 \pdfpagewidth = 297mm
 \pdfpageheight = 210mm
% I've deleted lots of boring shorthand latex definitions 

\foilhead{IMECC main objective}
\begin {itemize}
\item The IMECC project aims to build the infrastructure for a 
coordinated, calibrated, integrated and accessible dataset for 
characterizing the function of the European terrestrial biosphere. 
\item 29 partners in 15 countries
\item 4 years duration, Apr 2007-Mar 2011
\item Commission contribution 6.7 million euro
\item \url{}

\item Improving the comparability of atmospheric measurements of 
greenhouse gases and isotopic composition
Coordinating optimal development of infrastructure via 
comprehensive experimental design studies 
\item Improving access to existing and future atmospheric and 
ecosystem data 
\item Coordinated data delivery centre
\item Improving access to data on ecosystem parameters 
\item Tying European terrestrial data into emerging remotely-sensed 
datasets on atmospheric composition. 

That's just the first two pages.  You won't be able to copy this into
a file and run it because I won't attach the logo.jpg (waste of

If this is saved as slides.tex you generate the pdf with
pdflatex slides

>How well does it work in practice?
Pretty well.  You need to get used to checking whether you get page
overruns, check the slides.log for how many pages and see if it's the
same as the number of foilheads you used.
Another useful thing is to run
pdftotext slides.pdf -
on the output which will produce form-feeds that can tell you where
the page overruns are occurring.
Positioning graphics in latex is still a challenge but I find I can
get a presentation 95% of the way there without any outside eyes
looking at the thing.  
>The prof told me to bring my slides and be ready to speak.  Another
>student will operate the technology for me.  So what do I need to tell
>my helper?
Not much.  I usually find it best to operate the keyboard myself.
With acrobat under either linux or windows right-arrow seems to get
you the next page reliably.
>I understand that PDF slides can be displayed through Acrobat?  Are
>there any special settings that I should know about when displaying
Only that you need to get the thing in full-screen mode.  On linux
this is control-l which I think works in windows too. 
>Thanks in advance, (and feel free to contact me offlist),
>-- Chris
I sent this on-list because discussing tips and tricks for doing this
isn't a bad topic.
Good luck with the talk.


Peter Rayner: LSCE/IPSL, Laboratoire CEA-CNRS-UVSQ
address: Bat. 701 LSCE - CEA de Saclay
Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif/Yvette
work: +33  (1) 69 08 88 11;	mobile: +33 (6) 75 46 56 52;	 fax: +33 (1) 69 08 77 16
mail-to: peter.rayner at

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