Presentation slides

What I use

I use LaTeX or a pen to make slides. I’ve heard good things about MagicPoint (which can include TeX maths), which is mentioned amongst many other packages in the review I mention in my LaTeX notes.

Powerpoint users

I haven’t used any of the following (and this list is probably out of date), but they might be useful:

Important: I’ve seen lots of things go wrong when people have a Powerpoint presentation on someone else’s computer. Often embedded objects don’t work properly or there are font problems. Unless the presentation has (genuinely useful) animations, making a .pdf of the presentation and showing that is probably a safer bet.

Showing slides

I show PDF slides (I rarely need to embed content that requires anything fancier). Several PDF viewers including Adobe Reader will display fullscreen (press Ctrl-l in acroread). When possible I use impressive (formerly keyjnote). It provides fast transitions and pressing tab gives a contact-sheet style preview for rapidly finding slides in response to questions. I turn off the distracting animated transitions between slides. I have three additional files in my ~/bin directory. The present script sets options I like, the .py file (which present uses) adds a feature allowing me to jump to slides by number, and the .png file provides a big visible mouse pointer for presentations projected to multiple screens.

I’ve also had PDF Presenter Console and it’s fork pdfpc recommended to me. The newer fork can display thumbnails of all slides and jump to slides by number. The advantage over impressive is that the program displays a timer and the next slide on the laptop screen, while displaying the slides to the projector. I haven’t swapped to this program from Impressive (yet) because the multiple monitor setup doesn't work robustly enough for me.

If you want to do fullscreen postscript instead of pdf, I’ve found pspresent to be a neat and tiny utility, which compiled and worked first time for me.