Presentations with LaTeX
by Guilherme Garcia

There are different packages for creating slides in LaTeX. The most popular one is called Beamer. Here we’ll go through the basics: if you want to do more, take a look at the very comprehensive documentation. There are several tutorials online as well (ShareLatex is again a good option here; also check their videos on YouTube).

Why Beamer?

The type of presentation each one of us prefers is very subjective, and could range from Prezi to LaTeX. Ultimately, this is to some extent a matter of taste. The pros of using Beamer are pretty much what you would expect if you already use LaTeX for papers.

Finally, in some subfields people are more likely to use animations (e.g., second language acquisition vs. formal semantics). So whether Beamer is a good option depends on your area (and taste!)

  • It looks professional and minimalistic (just like other LaTeX docs)
  • Perhaps that is why it’s so popular in academia
  • Simple looks tend to be preferred over super fancy animations—at least in academia (the famous “keep it simple stupid” philosophy
  • You’ll generate a pdf, so no compatibility issues
  • Your pdf will inherit basic animations (e.g., order of appearance of bullets)
  • But you can also print a pdf version without build-ups, which is the typical option for handout versions of slides
  • Structurally well organised (e.g., links between sections)
  • If you’re presenting trees, all is done in LaTeX (as opposed to pasting trees as figures in PowerPoint or Keynote)
  • If you’re a perfectionist: your slides will be super well aligned (typical LaTeX consistency)

  • It’s a PDF, so… audio and video are tricky: if you’re the animation type of person, forget it
  • It’s more time-consuming, given the interface. For papers, this is not necessarily the case, but for slides, where you may want to draw shapes etc., this can be a problem at first.
  • No presenter viewer—another consequence of using PDFs (you can Google the alternatives, but no good solution to this exists as far as I know)

How to begin

Let’s focus on the structure first, then we move to some nice details. Examples will be incremental.

Minimal example


\title{My presentation}
\author{Guilherme Garcia}

%%%%%%%%%%%%% End of preamble


\begin{frame}{Title of frame}{Subtitle of frame}

This is a typical frame in Beamer. You can add bullet points:

  \item I'm the first item
  \item I'm the second item