Beamer – LaTeX Beamer class

Beamer is a LaTeX document class for creating structured presentations that are held using a projector, but it can also be used to create transparency slides. It provides a lot of easy-to-deploy commands, tricks, templates and libraries for producing presentations.

Preparing presentations with Beamer is different from the way they are created with WYSIWYG programs like’s Impress, or Calligra Stage. A Beamer presentation is created like any other LaTeX document: It has a preamble and a body, the body contains \sections and \subsections, the different slides (called frames in Beamer) are put in environments, they are structured using itemize and enumerate environments, and so on.

The downside is that the user needs to know LaTeX to use Beamer. However, if you are LaTeX proficient or want to be, this knowledge can be used to create presentations as well as writing papers with beautiful typesetting.

Source code for beamer presentations, like any other LaTeX file, can be created using any text editor, but there is specific support for beamer syntax in AUCTEX and LyX.

Beamer supports syntax of other LaTeX presentation packages, including Prosper and Foils, by using compatibility packages.

Beamer provides the ability to make ‘handouts’; a version of the output suitable for printing, without the dynamic features, so that the printed version of a slide shows the final version that will appear during the presentation.

Features include:

  • Create slides featuring overlays, animation, and more
  • Use Beamer with pdflatex, LaTeX + dvips,& lualatex and xelatex.
  • The standard commands of LaTeX work as expected.
  • Easily create overlays and dynamic effects.
  • Themes allow you to change the appearance of your presentation to suit your purposes.
  • Themes are designed to be usable in practice, they are not just for show.
  • The layout, the colors, and the fonts used in a presentation can easily be changed globally, but you still also have control over the most minute detail.
  • A special style file allows you to use the LaTeX-source of a presentation directly in other LaTeX classes like article or book. This makes it easy to create presentations from lecture notes or lecture notes out of presentations.
  • Overlays
  • The final output is typically a PDF file.

Support: Documentation
Developer: Till Tantau, Joseph Wright, Vedran Miletic
License: LaTeX Project Public License, GNU GPL v2

Return to Presentation Software Home Page

Ongoing series
Linux for StartersNew to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series.
Free and Open Source SoftwareThe largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Supplied with our legendary ratings charts.
Linux ReviewsHundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software.
Alternatives to GoogleAlternatives to Google's Products and Services examines your options to migrate from the Google ecosystem with open source Linux alternatives.
Linux System ToolsEssential Linux system tools looks at small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.
Linux ProductivityLinux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
Home Computer EmulatorsHome computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers such as the ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.
Now and ThenNow and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years.
Linux at HomeLinux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.
Linux CandyLinux Candy opens up to the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun!
Best Free Android AppsBest Free Android Apps. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series
Programming BooksThese best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language
Programming TutorialsThese free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to the free programming books series
Stars and StripesStars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA
Share this article

Share your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.