Creating a Presentation with LaTeX Beamer – Getting Started

July 2nd, 2010

The LaTeX beamer package can be used to create appealing presentations for many applications. A working knowledge of LaTeX is required but once the initial learning curve and transition is made from a visual word processor to a markup based approach the benefits are worth the initial investment of time.

Title Pages

In a previous post we considered creating a title page for a presentation which follows the same general approach to creating titles in other LaTeX document types.


Fast Tube by Casper

An example of the commands needed to create the title of a presentation are shown below, where the square brackets are used to indicate the short information that is used in places like the running headers of a document:

\title[ggplot2 Tutorial]{An Introduction to the ggplot2 package}
\subtitle[GM-RAM]{http://www.wekaleamstudios.co.uk}
\author[GM-RAM]{GM-RAM Technical Staff}

Then we need to create a frame in the document to display the title page via the frame environment:

\begin{frame}
\titlepage
\end{frame}

Document Structure

Most LaTeX documents make use of the sectioning commands to create a logical structure to the contents of a document. Headings can be defined at various levels starting from chapter moving down to sections then subsections.


Fast Tube by Casper

These sections commands can be used in beamer and behave slightly differently to other document classes and the display of the section headings depends on the theme and the use of tables of contents which can be interspaced around the presentation, for example appearing at the start of each section to remind the audience of progress through the presentation.

The sections are defined in the same way as with other LaTeX documents:

\section{Introduction}
 
\section{Basic Graphs}

Table of Contents

It is a simple task to add a slide with the table of contents to a presentation using the following commands:

\begin{frame}
\frametitle{Outline}
\tableofcontents[currentsection]
\end{frame}

We can specify a title for the slide with the table of contents using the \frametitle command.


Fast Tube by Casper

We can generate a recurring table of contents at the start of each section with the \AtBeginSection command like this:

\AtBeginSection[]
{
\begin{frame}
\frametitle{Outline}
\tableofcontents[currentsection]
\end{frame}
}

Other useful resources are provided on the Supplementary Material page.

7 Responses to “Creating a Presentation with LaTeX Beamer – Getting Started”

  1. ilya says:

    Thank you very much for this post. I saw all those nice presentation online but I didn’t know how people were creating them. Thanks!

  2. Brock Tibert says:

    This is fantastic (and timely!) I am currently in the process of trying to learn how to create reports and presentations with Latex and R. What software tool are you using in these videos? I am trying to use Eclipse but having a hard time generating anything.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated! Great blog!

  3. Liviu says:

    The transition can be quicker and less painful when learning to do Beamer presentations via LyX and its templates (those shipped by default). There is a LyX user who disagrees with this [1], though. This link also contains another introductory tutorial on Beamer via LaTeX.

    [1] http://www.troubleshooters.com/lpm/201005/201005.htm#_Why_Not_LyX

  4. Ralph says:

    I am using the texmaker editor for writing the presentations and MikTeX in the background to convert my tex files into the pdf documents.

    The TeX archive will have the beamer user guide which has some useful parts at the start although it can be large and daunting for a new user.

    I am intending to work through the other features that we might want to add to a presentation in subsequent posts and please fell free to ask questions in the comments and I will try to help you where possible.

  5. José Luis says:

    Thanks, I try it in lyx and It’s fantastic for my documents.

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