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  • TeX and Beamer — On Debian or Ubuntu, you can install the following packages:
    • texlive-latex-base
    • latex-beamer
    • rubber
    • latexmk
    • texlive-fonts-extra
  • gawk — Package should be gawk
  • PDF Presenter Console

Getting Basic Templates[edit]

First step is to download the basic templates from the git repository:

git clone git://

The path of least resistance will be to clone the repository so that is located as a subdirectory of ~/tex/.

Next, copy or create symlinks so that the following three files are in your path (e.g., in ~/bin/ if that's in your path):

  • new_beamer_presentation

Once you have done this, you can use the script to create new presentations like:

new_beamer presentation foo-20150920

This will create a new subdirectory called foo-20150920 with a file called foo-20150920.tex inside.

Modify/Customize Templates[edit]

At the very least, you will need to modify the lines that start with \title, \author, and \institute. Please don't push back changes or patches that include modifications to these lines.

Building Slides and Presenting[edit]

The templates assume that you'll be presenting with PDF Presenter Console which is a pretty full featured presenter console written specifically with Beamer in mind. If you run into any trouble, please download and install the latest version of PDFPC from Github as the note functionality we use is not in some released version of Debian and Ubuntu who have lagged behind development and been slow to pull in new patches fixing bugs and adding functionality.

To tell if your version of PDFPC will work, you can run pdfpc --help and look to see if it has an option for -n/--notes. If it has this option, you are likely good to go. You can also run pdfpc -v to see which version is installed. Version 4.0 (and perhaps earlier) has support for notes, so if the version is >= 4.0, then it should work.

There are three basic ways to build slides that are supported by the makefile in the repository:

  • make pdf — Create a double-wide slide that is appropriate for displaying with PDFPC's "notes" feature. Effectively, the left part will be the slide displayed on the projector and the right part will be the notes displayed on your laptop screen. This will require a new version of PDFPC.
  • make notesonly — Generate only the notes (e.g., for printing out speaker notes)
  • make slides — Generate only the PDF slides which will be appropriate for presenting with a PDF viewer other than PDFPC.

If you want to switch between building notes, slides, or notes only, you will need to run make clean to "reset" your repository.

When you are ready to present, run the following command from a terminal on the monitor that you want to be the secondary or laptop monitor. The slides should presented on the other monitor:

make pdfpc

This will run a command like this (which you could also do directly):

pdfpc --notes=right presentation.pdf

This show the notes on the monitor to the right (usually the second monitor on most setups). You can obviously switch this to left, top, or bottom as per your arrangement of displays.