[petsc-dev] making Beamer easier to start than Powerpoint

Matthew Knepley knepley at gmail.com
Fri Sep 7 23:10:41 CDT 2012

On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 11:08 PM, Barry Smith <bsmith at mcs.anl.gov> wrote:

> On Sep 7, 2012, at 9:46 PM, Jed Brown <jedbrown at mcs.anl.gov> wrote:
> > On Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 10:37 PM, Barry Smith <bsmith at mcs.anl.gov> wrote:
> >
> >    The allure of Powerpoint is I can just start it up and poke around
> the menus to put together a few slides that look ok very quickly. If I want
> a table I just hunt for table and do it, same with graph etc etc. But like
> all/most GUI based systems for anything once you want more detailed control
> or to automate something or to do something real complex Powerpoint becomes
> a massive pain.
> >
> >     Is there, or could we set up, a repository of Beamer "templates"
> that would make Beamer almost as easy as Powerpoint to quickly throw
> something together. Basically the source for a bunch of INDEPENDENT slides
> that do standard things people want to do with Powerpoint?
> >
> > Unfortunately, despite LaTeX being better than the alternatives, it's
> still terrible for libraries. Slides don't stand alone all that well
> because they need certain preamble includes (like TikZ packages).
>    So can we blame Knuth for this or is it  Leslie Lamport's fault?
>  Anyways this is is a majorly bad design decision someone made way back.
>    Maybe we can make a beamer preprocessor that takes all the "preamble
> stuff" from all slides and passes it all up to the preamble before running
> latex? Cause this is a stupid limitation.

But I never spend any time on this "limitation". I dump everything I need
into one file, and rarely change it.
I could see putting time into a solution for something that costs me much
more time, but not for something
that I can essentially ignore.

I think you started out wanting boilerplate slides, like Powerpoint, which
do indeed save time.


>    Barry
> > The latex-beamer manual has lots of good examples. For TikZ, the manual
> and texample.net both have good examples. Unfortunately, the huge volume
> of documentation still doesn't make the learning curve particularly gentle.
> >
> > There are some reasonable beamer-poster examples on the internet and I
> have done several posters that way over the years. If high-res versions of
> the various logos and "official colers" are available somewhere, I can do
> up a theme that will make poster creation fast in the future. I should
> probably do this before December in any case because a couple of us have
> posters at AGU.
> >
> >  Where we can easily add new ones?  Also crude placement of multiple
> things in Powerpoint is so simple, just move things around, it is painful
> to have to place things by exact location specifications in Beamer; on the
> other hand exact placement in Powerpoint is difficult. It takes me three
> seconds to put four different size images on a slide in Powerpoint. Are
> there ways to do that in Beamer that are almost as fast?
> >
> >
> >    Barry
> >
> >

What most experimenters take for granted before they begin their
experiments is infinitely more interesting than any results to which their
experiments lead.
-- Norbert Wiener
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