LaTeX Beamer — a great alternative to PowerPoint.
During this year I saw a similar type of slides in very different places. I saw these presentations in Petrozavodsk programming competitions training camp in Russia, on the conference on program analysis and during the lectures in my own university in Kazakhstan. And all these presentations looked like this:
Even though a little bit different in details, they definitely shared one thing in common: all these presentations looked well-organized, neat and in general very professional.
After some googling on some vague queries, I found out that this is something a way more powerful than just another template for PowerPoint. This is a LaTeX Beamer.
You have probably heard about LaTeX — a document markup language widely used in academia and typography. It allows you to easily prepare professionally looking text documents without much work. It also has a lot of features dealing with references, page layout and formulas. Concerning the last feature, in LaTeX you can easily do something like this:
Beamer is a LaTeX document class (read LaTeX extension) for creating presentation slides. It allows you to create high quality looking presentations without much work, and it shares all initial LaTeX features. For example the same formula in beamer:
Beamer is perfect for technical presentations, where you care more about the content of the presentation, than the unique design. However, with beamer you can always be sure, that your design is at least neat and sharp. And there are many beamer design themes available online, not saying about the possibility to fully customize it as you like.
LaTeX and Beamer take some time to learn (not so much, though. It took me two evenings to create my first presentation, and most of this time I spent on the content of the slides. If you have a previous programming experience, it will take you approximately the same amount of time to start). However, this worth it, as it will save you much time in the future.
LaTeX and Beamer are cross-platform, so you can use them everywhere. On Windows, one of the best ways to start is to download MiKTeX — a LaTeX software, which also automatically installs beamer once you try to use it.
And here are some more useful links to help you start:
My sample presentation in beamer (with source code) - reverse-engineering these slides can be a great way to learn beamer.
Beamer theme gallery - a nice way to choose beamer theme.
Beamer theme matrix - another way to choose theme.
Have a good luck with LaTeX Beamer!
05 December 2014