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Producing Your Presentations with ConTeXt

After using ConTeXt for a while, many users begin to think about producing their presentations with it, too. ConTeXt is ideally suited for this task. Here's just a very selective list of the advantages you gain:

  • The superior typographic quality of TeX and ConTeXt will be available for your presentations. Users doing scientific presentations will also appreciate the well-known mathematical abilities TeX offers.
  • In addition, ConTeXt has great graphics abilities (placing images and floats) and can make excellent use of color.
  • Moreover, you can use all of the advanced features of ConTeXt, such as interaction or integration of metafun code.
  • The material of your presentations can be reused for handouts, papers, notes, etc. If you make use of the Modes feature, you can even recompile your entire presentation in a different format without changing a single line in your source.

As you probably know, ConTeXt produces pdf-output by default; that's a great advantage when you're thinking about a presentation: you can simply produce a pdf-file and open it with a viewer such as xpdf or Acrobat Reader and show the pages in fullscreen mode. This is especially appealing when you want to distribute your presentations via mail or the web or when you have to show them on equipment you don't know: while proprietary software may or may not be available, you can usually be certain that everyone has an application for displaying pdf-files.

This section of the wiki wants to get you started with presentations in ConTeXt. There's lots of amazing stuff in the distribution already, such as truly amazing prebuilt styles for presentations which you can simply use by typing, e.g.


The styles are fully documented, and you can learn amazing tricks by looking at the source and the documentation. However, for beginners, it might be easier to start with a very basic presentation and then slowly add more fancy stuff. This section is thus targeted at newcomers; more experienced users may want to skip the first sections. This document deals with presentations that will be shown with the help of a digital projector, but many elements will be applicable to interactive screen presentations as well.

Your First Presentation

The first thing you will need to do is adapt the papersize: you need a paper layout in landscape mode that fits a computer screen. (Actually, this layout is smaller than a screen, but a pdf-document can be scaled without losing quality.)

Setting screen dimensions


will set the proper document ratio (3:2) to fit the computer screen.

And you probably do not want any page numbers on your slides:


Setting the tolerance

Moreover, on slides, you want TeX to be tolerant with its horizontal space (since you will normally be typesetting not entire paragraphs, but single lines only, this shouldn't be a problem):


Full-screen mode


will cause launcing the PDF document in full-screen mode. In Acrobat you can use CTRL-L to switch between normal and full-screen mode.

Hyperlinks, buttons & navigation

TODO: write something about them (See: To-Do List)

Including Graphics

Everything works just the same way as graphics in usual documents. But if a presentation is your first document, let's repeat it once more here:

\externalfigure[name][width=...]%% (probably surrounded by \placefigure)

Graphics with Metafun

TODO: how to make page-dependant graphics (See: To-Do List)


See Animation (page is still under construction).

Compiling Your First Presentation

If you compile a document with these settings, you have something that you could show as a presentation slide:



Here's my first presentation in \CONTEXT!

Isn't it amazing?


Additional modules

  • The RawSteps module enables you to build a presentation step-by-step without the usage of JavaScript

Examples of presentations

See also Sample documents

TODO: collect some + some extremely simple (See: To-Do List)

  • Introduction to ConTeXt (in French) by Denis Roegel at Gutenberg meeting in 2002 (tex, pdf) (please add a link to the page from where these two documents are linked to if you find it)

Some Ideas

Here's an Interesting post, written by Maurice Diamantini: [[1]]


So I think that ConTeXt should provide a mean (option in textexec) to make pdf-only version of presentation.

Finaly there could be three output levels for pdf presentation :

  • presentation step using javascript (with allow blinking, merging, zooming or other nice flashing features ;-)
  • presentation step without javascript (one pdf page by step)
    • Good format for presentation by foreign pdf reader
  • pdf file one pdf page for each final step by page
    • Good format for printing 2up or 4up slides
    • This third output would also allow to print a "slide + comment" version of the presentation for the speacker.

The option of texexec could be something like


instead of --pdf, or simply

  • In general, I seem to have much more luck with advi then with xdvi for doing slides. It supports all kinds of interactive things. I've been told it can even do plugins (movies and such), but they only have a LaTeX package to support that.

Working Example (for the ones not satisfied with \presentationstep)

Here are some simple macros almost fully satisfying the idea above with SlideWithSteps, shared with the others by Otared Kavian: [[2]]. David Munger also derived an alternative [[3]] from Otared Kavian's work.