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A page about how you can use LyX to create presentations, and also presentation tools useful with LyX.

This page was started after reading this thread LyxUsersThread:25005

Presentation classes

Basically, two document classes are recommended for creating (advanced) presentations with LyX: beamer and powerdot. Both are very powerful and well documented. The decision might depend on your personal preferences.


Beamer homepage
Beamer examples

Uwe also wrote:

 The Manual of "Beamer" explains it very well. The author also
 offers layout files for LyX. Have a look at:
 Here you find some customized presentation from me made with Beamer:
 (If you are interested in compiling/processing my LyX-files, I can tell you)


powerdot homepage(approve sites)
powerdot on CTAN

Jürgen wrote:

 Whilst everyone is recommending beamer (which I'm using myself btw),
 I just want to mention that there is an alternative package, 
 which is told to be (at least) as powerful, called powerdot
 (replaces prosper and HA-prosper)
 It also features a LyX layout file and uses PSTricks.

Mael wrote:

 You should have a look at powerdot new LaTeX class from Hendri Adriaens 
 and Christopher Ellison (first release was this summer), which to me is 
 very much easier and instinctive to use than beamer and also very 
 powerful (interactive table of contents on slides, easy overlays 
 creations, powerful template system to easily develop new styles, and 
 much more). Additionaly, powerdot provides LyX support ;)

Tag me

Presentation tools

While LaTeX-generated presentations are usually simple PDF files and thus can be presented with any PDF viewer that supports full screen mode, there are some applications that can do "more". Such tools are listed in this section.


The python program Impressive (formerly known as KeyJNote) provides, besides different transitions, some really useful features, such as:

  • an overview mode of all slides of your presentation (similar to Mac OSX's Exposé)
  • highlight boxes that can be drawn with the mouse while presenting
  • a spotlight to highlight certain parts of the slide
  • zooming
  • a time tracker (or clock display)
  • and more...

Impressive should run on any Platform where LyX runs and it is easy to install. However, since its effects rely on OpenGL, you need a decent computer with hardware acceleration support, enough memory and diskspace.

On Ubuntu Linux, you can install stable versions from the default repos, but also from the Impressive PPA (release), and daily SVN snapshots from Impressive PPA (daily).

Beamer transitions

The 'Impressive PPA (release)' also contains packages for MakeBeamerInfo, a handy perl script that allows to extract Beamer transitions.

Impressive allows for various (useful) bells-and-whistles, including an overview screen displaying a thumbnail of all the slides. Given the nature of the Beamer PDF format, this overview is scattered with all the individual slides of a frame (so for a 20-frame presentation you may end up with about 40 individual thumbs in the overview screen), and it makes very hard to find any given slide during an actual presentation.

One way to work around the issue is to extract the Beamer transitions info from the intermediary .nav file using the 'MakeBeamerInfo' perl script. After you supply it the .nav file, it will export a .pdf.info file, which is subsequently used by Impressive to include in the overview screen only the last slide of a frame, resulting in a much improved experience. (This isn't just cosmetics; with too many irrelevant slides in Overview it can get very confusing during a presentation. And with the proper transitions info file, the Overview screen is cleaner and allows for easy retrieval of any given frame.) LyX >=2.0.4 provides out-of-the-box support for the script.

Tips for managing presentations

Beamer presentation and beamer article side by side

(this summarizes the following thread on lyx-users: http://marc.info/?l=lyx-users&m=124653748611160&w=2)

LyX ships a layout both for the beamer presentation class and for the beamer article class. However, switching the class everytime is annoying, and you also might want to have different settings for the presentation and the article.

There's a simple trick that allows a presentation and a beamer-article in parallel:

Include the beamer presentation, say mytalk.lyx, as a child (Insert→File→Child Document, use Input) to another document, say mytalk-article.lyx, which is of "article (beamer)" class. (This "portmanteau" class basically consists only of the include inset, nothing else. The real work [editing of the text] is still done in the presentation document.) That way, you get the presentation by viewing the presentation document (mytalk.lyx) only, and the article by viewing the master (mytalk-article.lyx) file. And you can use different settings (e.g. fonts or margin settings) for each document.

The only annoying thing is that LyX spits a warning about differing text classes every time you view the master. The good news, though, is that you can disable this warning as of LyX 1.6.4.


  • The preamble content of the presentation, if any, must be copied to the article preamble as well (or write the preamble to an external file mypreamble.tex and \input that file in both preambles).
  • If you define a branch in the presentation only, it will be ignored by the article. Thus you can easily "branch" stuff you don't want in the article. Vice versa, you can define a branch "article" which is disabled in the presentation. This is a nice extension to the available article/presentation modes of beamer.


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Page last modified on 2013-02-16 23:36 CET