Slide Markup with LaTeX: First Steps

Since starting to create (a large number of) presentations using LaTeX, I’ve been impressed at how easy this is to pick up and also how quick it is to work with marked up content rather than dragging objects around in Impress or equivalent. With that in mind, I thought I’d outline the very basics of the markup (with probably more snippets to follow as I discover them).

Start at the very beginning

First of all, LaTeX templates are fussy things, start with someone else’s outline (for example the one Dave posted, which I use), or one you made earlier. There is some preamble and then the main contents of the presentation go between the \begin{document} and \end{document} bits.

My talks consist entirely of sections and slides, for example, here’s a snippet:


      OOP supports inheritance
          \item similar classes can share a parent and override features
          \item improves modularity, avoids duplication
          \item classes can only have one parent (unlike some other languages)
          \item classes can have many children
          \item there can be as many generations of inheritance as we need


Which results in PDF slides like this:

The section element gives me a slide with that as its title. Each slide has a title area itself at the top, and we can add things to the body. This slide includes both bullet points (the itemize elements can be nested) and an image, included using the includegraphics command.

I am using vim to create these slides, and there’s a plugin which makes swift creation of this syntax quick and easy to do, and so far I’m finding this a very intuitive way to work with content to mark it up and generate consistently styled materials later on. The style you see in the example presentation is one very generously made for me by Dave Ingram, based on the paintings style which ships in various different colours with powerdot, cheers Dave :)

4 thoughts on “Slide Markup with LaTeX: First Steps

  1. I thoroughly advocate starting with an existing template :) However, one thing that’s particular difficult with LaTeX is finding up-to-date information on the “current” way to do things rather than the “old” way to do things. When I taught a LaTeX course recently, I focused only on more modern things – beamer, TikZ, listings, bclogo, datatool and so on. I had to read a lot of mailing lists, blogs, community sites etc. to find these things out. I’m thinking of doing an online version of the whole course with a decent running example, once I get an idea of how to make an example that has interesting content and also gets across all the things I want to include…

  2. Recently I’ve switched how I prepare and deliver presentations, using LaTeX to mark up the content and producing PDF slides from that. Which is great but I miss having some of the during-presentation functionality of LibreOffice such as a timer and being

  3. Pingback: A day in the life of… » LaTeX: also useful for writing your documentation

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